Rockness 2012 - Review

'Wet weather doesn't diminish the partying mood of the revellers'

Photographer:Trevor Eales

Claire Elshaw - 11 June 2012

Set on the banks of Loch Ness in northern Scotland you couldn’t really ask for a more beautifully stunning location. Oh course it would help if you could see it. But as the punters arrive on Friday so do the low hanging clouds, meaning you can barely see the water never mind the far flung surrounding hills.

So, wellies and waterproofs are the order of the weekend. Still, you can’t control the weather. And it is clear from the outset that those arriving intend to party -  rain, sun or snow. Beers are being wheeled not in the bucket load, or even the barrel load, but in the wheelie bin full!

There’s something to cover most tastes musically on the bill during the weekend. And on top of that there are dance tents, DJs and comedy galore. As if that’s not enough and in the remote chance  none of the acts onstage tickle your particular fancy, heading over to the inflatable wedding chapel and you can see a wedding; get your face painted; jump on the big wheel or simply enjoy some hearty grub.

Alongside the usual array of fast food outlets there is a great selection of local suppliers selling their tasty wares. Fancy a bowl of Cullen Skink? Or maybe a hog roast? Or perhaps you fancy trying a meaty buffalo burger? Well look no further.

Friday’s rosta of acts is perhaps the most eclectic. Mystery Jets provide the indie-electro-pop on the main stage in the afternoon whilst Wretch 32 (8/10) brings his own brand of rap to the Goldenvoice arena. He’s joined onstage by Ed Sheeran for one number, who also follows him on the bill. Ed’s set is a Friday night highlight for many. Whilst over on the main stage the folk contingent arrives in the form of Noah and the Whale, followed by headliners Mumford and Sons (6/10).

Saturday starts off wet wet wet. But by the afternoon, and the arrival of the Olympic Torch to the main stage, the sun has decided to put in an appearance.  The Olympic torch is bought to the stage by festival director Jim King and the now visible view of the Loch frames the historic moment perfectly.  Saturday’s line-up favours the dance end of the musical spectrum with Annie Mac, DJ Fresh and the main man Deadmau5 (8/10) holding court, whilst Justice do battle for the late slot revellers over in the Goldenvoice arena. However, for those who don’t find the dance heavy line up enticing there’s still plenty on offer with a superb comedy set from Tim Minchin (9/10) and Guillemots, The Pigeon Detectives and The View waving the indie flag.

Sunday, the weather mostly holds, which enables campers and day trippers alike to sample the array of acts on offer, including a surprise second set from The View -  once again you can berely get in the tent to see them strut their stuff. Sunday is for the rock in Rockness, with Ash (10/10) and headliners Biffy Clyro (9.5/10) being major draws for the crowd. Death in Vegas are late on because of The View and maybe that’s why the sound for their set just doesn’t seemed balanced. The night ends with a spectacular fireworks show, making sure the weekend finishes with an actual bang.

The average Rocknessie is quite young and very, very drunk. But despite the large quantities of alcohol being consumed the atmosphere is fairly light-hearted. Most revellers take others drunken antics with good humour and cheer. 

Scottish festivals have a reputation for being especially raucous and Rockness certainly does not diminish that. It may be cold, wet and grey for a large part of the weekend up in Inverness but that doesn’t affect the sunny partying mood of the revellers.


Click here for our full Rockness 2012 coverage.

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