On Saturday I had a superb day at Bluedot, a new 3 day festival of science, music and comedy at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire. I saw three of my favourite artists; the high priestess of electronic folk, Beth Orton (folktronica?), French sophisticates AIR and electronica maestro Jean Michel-Jarre. The music was blissful, the visuals stunning, the festival more chilled than a jumbo bag of Birds-eye peas. Just as satisfying however, was our hastily rearranged transit plans.
After noting that severe downpours had upset the car parking arrangements, I popped two folders in the car, a couple of big locks and some lights, just on the offchance. Arriving at Jodrell, the alternative car park arrangements were around two miles away, involved parting company with £15 and relying on a coach to ferry festival goers back and forth (either that or walk down the main road and run the gauntlet of oncoming traffic). Knickers to all that, I thought. The last time I came here – to attend a Sigur Ros concert in 2014 – we were stuck in the car park for a bloody eternity*. Or at least a very long time. As Socrates taught us, all these things are relative.
So we found an appropriate place to park, flipped out the folders, rode to the festival and locked the bikes in the bike parking area. 10 hours and a little bit of hearing loss later, we left as part of a huge swathe of humanity shuffling edgily out of Jodrell like extras from 28 days later**. In a quiet corner of a dark muddy field, we found and unlocked the bikes, pedalled sedately away, passed waiting coaches, stationary vehicles and lots and lots (and lots) of people starting the long hike back, collected the car and made like a tree**. Consequently we were back at our hotel at least an hour and a half earlier than would otherwise have been possible.
*This happens at all concerts where cars and onsite venue parking are involved.
**When referring to a science festival, sci-fi movie references are obligatory.