Wuthering Bytes Festival

By Andrew Gregory. Posted

Wuthering Bytes is an amazing event that takes place over
a week in the picturesque and vibrant Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire each year. This year was the seventh Wuthering Bytes, and we were lucky enough to attend the opening Festival Day and spend a little time there that weekend.

Wuthering Bytes is a collection of events with an opening Festival Day on the Friday featuring a plethora of talks, and then OSHCamp takes over
the weekend with a day of talks followed by a day of workshops. Something is happening each day of the week, including more in-depth workshops and an open day at Hebden Bridge’s makerspace Bridge Rectifier. There have been some amazing activities over the years, from igniting a large rocket motor in the town to flying high-altitude balloons.

Electronic design engineer, programmer, and contributing editor to Hackaday Jenny List gave a great talk about Badgelife and how we can make them useful beyond their event

This year’s Festival Day featured a great range of talks, ranging from Dr Heather Williams on nuclear medicine and how PET scanners work, through Michael Dales’s approach to making electric guitars; space and satellite talks from Ben Cartwright and Jo Hinchliffe; Badgelife by Jenny List; Muriel Howorth and atomic gardening by Sarah Angliss. Drew Fustini of OSHPark gave a great presentation on the current state of play of single-board computers that are capable of running Linux. It’s fair to say the Festival Day was fascinating from start to finish.

The MC for the day was Dr Laura James, who kept everything running to time and well managed, and the venue was excellent with everyone well fed and watered. There was a real sense of community, with lots of areas of maker and hacker culture represented. In terms of both audience and content, it felt like one of the more diverse technology events we’d attended.

The Festival Day finished with drinks, nibbles, and music in the bar, while the early evening talk on Tesla coils was set up in the main room.

Derek Woodroffe (Extreme Electronics), whom we featured in issue 16, delivered this fantastic final talk of the day which not only looked at the technical aspects of Tesla coil construction but also its history and Tesla’s work. Culminating in an audible rendition of Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ played by two larger Tesla coils – a memorable finale!

Derek Woodroffe, of Extreme Electronics, finished off the Wuthering Bytes Festival Day with a spectacular talk both about and featuring Tesla coils!

Saturday marked the start of the OSHCamp weekend, and attendees piled in to hear the talks. The talks were focussed and technical, but all speakers went to great lengths to make their talks as accessible as possible. Many of Saturday’s speakers were also scheduled to run workshops on Sunday, and were therefore laying out some theoretical groundwork so that attendees on Sunday had some theory knowledge ready to apply.

It was an excellent day, with subjects ranging from Ken Boak’s talk on the TTL Gigatron computer through to the architectures of RISC-V chips. The Wuthering Bytes festival continued over the following week.

Thanks to the organisers, speakers, hosts and the sponsors for putting on a great festival. Wuthering Bytes are keen to hear from you if you have an idea for something you would like to run at next year’s events – get in touch with them via the festival website: wutheringbytes.com

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