REVIEW: The Halle Orchestra - Jodrell Bank

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Sitting in front of the Lovell Telescope as the stars shone bright and the Halle Orchestra performed the Star Wars theme while fireworks exploded around us in time to the music was an unforgettable experience.

I knew we were in for a treat when we booked our tickets for Jodrell Bank’s Transmission 007 - but, despite the emphasis of Saturday’s event being on hard science, all I could think was ‘this is magic’.

Transmission 007 just so happened to fall on what would have been Sir Bernard Lovell’s 100th birthday as well, so we were presented with the scientist’s life story projected onto the 76 metre high radio telescope he created. It doesn’t get much more Audio Visual than that.

Headliners from Manchester The Halle Orchestra, one of Lovell’s favourite acts, also paid homage, not only to Lovell but to the idea of space itself.

Stephen Bell led the concert inspired by the stars, with Jupiter and Mars from Holst’s The Planets sitting refreshingly alongside John Williams’ scores from Independence Day, E.T, Apollo 13, Close Encounters and opening song 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The kids couldn’t believe it when the telescope slowly started turning towards us as darkness descended, and to be honest neither could I!

It was nothing less than spectacular. All of the elements worked together to create an event that just felt so right.

Support came from DJ Tom Middleton with his Sounds From The Cosmos, and Broadway and Beyond’s renditions from the big shows.

There was also a science arena with staff from Jodrell Bank’s Observatory on hand with demonstrations accessible to all ages.

Live From Jodrell Bank is organised by the teams behind Kendal Calling Festival and Manchester’s The Warehouse Project in conjunction with Ear To The Ground.

The site was well provided for with food and drink outlets, or you could bring your own, however, all the cask ale had been guzzled by the 7,000 strong Sigur Ros audience the night before, leaving just bottled beer. Evidently, more beer was needed for the 6,000 that turned up to see the Halle.

My only real grumble was the £15 car park fee, half the ticket price again, and not explicitly advertised pre-event.

This paled into insignificance though when taking into account the bigger picture, that is to say, everyone I saw leaving the site that night seemed to be at one with the universe.

By Nick Lakin