The giant Lovell radio telescope was an impressive backdrop to the days events
For one weekend in June the lines between music and astronomy blur as thousands of people head to Jodrell Bank, Cheshire to celebrate these very different, but equally inspiring passions. This year, Sky at Night Magazine was there to report on all the action.
The whole event was essentially split in two.
At one end stood the impressive main stage, home to bands and DJs, and at the other, the Science Arena, where festivalgoers could explore the latest scientific discoveries.
From workshops on how to make your own graphene to live interactive experiments, every corner of science was represented.
But of course the main focus was on astronomy.
The new Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, a permanent facility at the heart of Jodrell Bank, was overflowing – at one point the cue to enter snaked its way around the whole Science Arena.
Inside, the public learnt how the incredible Lovell radio telescope works and how the team interprets the information it collects.
On top of all the interactive displays, the Discovery Centre was also home to the day’s lectures, a diverse series of talks from experts covering the most prominent questions in astronomy from active galaxies to the search for exosolar planets.
As Jodrell Bank is the headquarters for the Square Kilometre Array, this exciting new project was well represented, with site engineer Dr Georgina Harris on hand to answer the public’s questions.
One of the most exciting things on display was the latest Mars rover from Astrium.
For 99 per cent of people visiting the event, this was probably the closest they’d ever come to actually seeing a vessel destined for the Red Planet.
Stepping outside the Science Arena there was plenty of music to enjoy.
The day began with American country singer Willy Mason.
His soulful melodies were a perfect accompaniment to the theme of the event, giving the crowd a chance to reflect on the scale and grandeur of the great Lovell telescope.
This relaxed atmosphere continued with local band Cherry Orchard whose command of the stage was met with rapturous applause from the crowd.
For many people however Elbow were the band to see.
The whole site was swarming with dedicated fans, braving the northerly winds and donning well-worn band T-shirts.
Elbow was instrumental in putting the event together and headlined on Saturday evening.
Despite the amazing line up however, with the incredible Lovell telescope dominating the landscape, it was impossible to forget that the event was a celebration of science as well as music.
All day on Saturday, dark clouds were looming, but despite frequent downpours the show went on.
Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for the Sunday event that was cancelled after heavy rain flooded the site.
We can only hope that next June the weather holds out for this unique festival.