Monsters of RockNess: the hidden Scottish gem

Scenes at RockNess 2010 by Laura Callan
Scenes at RockNess 2010 by Laura Callan

Dane Cobain grabs his binoculars and video camera and prepares to hunt for Nessy, or at least to catch Skrillex, Jamie Woon and Brother at RockNess 2011.

Okay, so what’s RockNess?
One of the most beautiful festival sites in the world, situated in Dores on the south bank of Loch Ness. After winning ‘Line Up of the Year’ at the UK Festival Awards in 2010, the festival have announced their biggest headliners to date. Known for its diverse line-ups that draw in the biggest names from all genres, it also hosts emerging artists and comedians.

What makes it different to other festivals?
RockNess has won more prizes, a consistently successful small festival with a welcoming atmosphere. Fancy dress is encouraged, and there’s something there for everyone from comedy to electronica, rock and pop.

Who’s playing?
On Friday (10 June), Kasabian, Zane Lowe, a DJ set from Mark Ronson, Katy B, Nero, Brother and Skrillex. Saturday (11 June) sees performances from The Chemical Brothers, Example, Magnetic Man and Jamie Woon, while Rob da Bank, Paolo Nutini and We Are Scientists take to the stage on Sunday (12 June).

So who should I go and see?
These guys!

Skrillex – ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
Womp, womp, womp – OH MY GOD! Sorry, where was I? Ah yes, if there’s one dubstep act that’s guaranteed to blow your mind in the Scottish Highlands, it’s man of the moment Skrillex. If Nero and Magnetic Man aren’t filthy enough to fulfil your festival needs, this is the place to be.

Jamie Woon – ‘Spirits
If, on the other hand, you prefer something you can chill out to with goosebumps lining your muddy spine, check out the voice on Jamie Woon. Let’s hope he packs his Line6 DL4 loop sampler and performs this unbelievable anthem that leaves literally no room for error.

We Are Scientists – ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt
Ignore the song title and get jumping up and down to the Californian trio as they take to the Main Stage on Sunday (12 June). If they can cause this much chaos on Glastonbury’s Other Stage, they’re bound to bring mayhem to Inverness – let’s hope nobody gets hurt.

Brother – ‘Darling Buds of May
Who cares if it’s June, Oasis have kicked Noel out and re-branded and Brother have stepped up to fill the void. It’s been a good year for them – after touring with The Streets, the band announced a run of festival dates, with new album ‘Famous First Words’ due for release on 1 August.

The Chemical Brothers – ‘Galvanize
Come on, this is music that was made for large crowds and chemicals (we’re not condoning it, blame Chemical Tom and Ed). If you only see one of the headliners, see these.

What else have you got for us?
We’ve got a RockNess Spotify playlist, just click here.

Any other tips?
Don’t forget your sleeping bag, your tent and your wellies and don’t waste your time looking for the Loch Ness Monster. Do download the RockNess smartphone app though – you can read a review of it here.

Oh man, I wish I could go but I can’t afford a ticket!
Consider signing up at Festival Volunteer, where you can get behind the scenes and be a part of the team that runs the festival. Volunteers are given a free ticket for the festival in exchange for working two 6–9 hour shifts at a bar. Previous experience isn’t even necessary, just make sure you’re over 18. Not only do you get the ticket for free, you earn a free meal and two free drinks per shift!

What else do I need to know?
RockNess 2011 takes place from 10-12 June in Dores, on the southern shore of Loch Ness. Tickets are still on sale at £149 for a weekend camping pass with other options available, or you can sign up at Festival Volunteer and work your way to the festival.

Click here to view the RockNess line-up.

Click here to buy RockNess tickets.