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I Heart Rock Ness


United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Steve Jenner | 13 June 2009

So I'm standing here in the most spectacular festival setting in Britain. Yeah, the Loch is pretty, the mountains nice and the site very colourful. But above all that, literally, the sun is shining with a big fat grin, flashing a V at the weather forecasts. Because of them (and people like us broadcasting their soggy predictions), I'm surrounded by a lot of beautiful people dancing in their wellies and underwear.

I don't take any of it back. Aside from the near-nakedness, we all know how these things work and if we hadn't prepared for doom, it would be pissing it down now.

As it happens, RockNess is the best beach party in the Highlands, as if someone's transplanted a slice of Ibiza into this magical Celtic setting. It's a work of genius, and I haven't experienced at atmosphere quite like this anywhere before.

The thrill for everyone, me included, is clearly just being here, being part of the fun and frolics. The reaction to Dizzee's 'Bonkers' being played on the stereo in one of the market stalls (imagine forty people all being told they've won the lottery) is no less ecstatic than when Dizzee drops it in person on the main stage. As the entire main stage sings along blissfully to 'Made of Stone', performed by The Complete Stone Roses, it's clear that they'd be no more impressed if it was the real thing up there. The music on the main stage is merely the backdrop to the proceedings, the soundtrack to a much bigger party. In 2009 I think that's a very special, inspirational thing. 

So is RockNess leading a new era of festivals, going back to their roots and creating a communal experience that's bigger than the  line-up? That's the question I can't keep out of my head. But it definitely seems to be happening all around me here. Good times!

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Send to my phone!Photographer: Justin Madgwick

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