THE Scotsman’s Nick Eardley brings you his live blog from the three-day RockNess festival in Dores, Inverness.
Sunday June 10th
Feel-good bands can be the key to enjoying yourself after three days camped in a field, and luckily, there was no shortage of that.
We started the final day with Glasgow band Gun (Word Up) who have been playing together since the 80s, followed by the ever entertaining Cuban Brothers, presenting their Sunday service (including a rendition of Flower of Scotland) and disco legends Chic (Good times and Le Freak). Any danger of the weekend catching up with us was quickly removed, and by the time Biffy Clyro took to the main stage to wrap up the weekend, it might as well have been the first day. Their set was full of their trademark energy and a perfect way to end the weekend.
Today, the tents are down, the fields are empty and the place is noticeably quieter. RockNess 2012 has come to an end and the journey back to normality has begun.
I’m off to lie down.
Saturday June 9th - evening
The fog has lifted up north - leaving spectacular views of the Loch behind the main stage. It’s cold, but so far today the rain has stayed away. The gods appear to have taken some pity for the final straight.
Tim Minchin was our first port of call yesterday- musical comedy really is the perfect way to ease a tired crowd into the day - followed byThe Rapture on the main stage. It’s still hard to understand why the crowds here are so small (around 500 for these guys, on the main stage), but they don’t seem too bothered, encouraging a mass dance along and breezing through their indie-pop catalogue.
There was a larger crowd for the Olympic torch when it graced the main stage, most of whom stuck around for Beardyman - the one man DJ/beatbox. Put simply, he makes all his music with his mouth - beat, bass, vocal and all. Seeing him at work is incredible.
Next up at the Clash tent were Dundee lads The View. There are two ways they play - an energetic, crowd pleasing set or a lacklustre alternative. Thankfully, it was the former last night and they were in fine form. That was until security called the whole thing off about 20 minutes in after one of the tents supports came loose. They didn’t get back on and will play today instead.
RockNess was established as a dance festival and last night was a chance for DJs to come to the fore. Justice were in fine form, reminding us why Cross remains one of the best dance albums of recent times.
But the night belonged to DeadMau5. From the minute the Canadian DJ put his trademark mouse mask on, there was no let-up in energy for two hours. With a lighting show just as impressive as Mau5’s versatility, it was a visual marvel (featuring, amongst other things, a DeadMau5 video game and his cat, Professor Meowington). The low lying fog was no match.
Today, I’m off to see The Rifles, Ash and Zane Lowe before Biffy Clyro bring the curtain down on this year’s festival.
Saturday June 9th - morning
“If you’re not awake already, you will be now” shouts a woman - who by my guess has been up all night. She turns her speakers up to full blast. As Queen blares out, she’s made herself the enemy of the camper wanting to get some sleep. Sure, it’s a music festival and there’s nothing wrong with ‘Fat bottomed girls’, but 6 in the morning wake up calls are never welcome.
It’s also decidedly more wet this morning. As predicted, the skies did open about midnight last night. There are ponchos everywhere. I’ve also realised the thing I forgot to pack this year - wellies.
Luckily it stayed dry for the bands last night. First up, we went to see The Drums on the main stage. There was a feeling proceedings hadn’t really kicked off properly - most of the crowd were presumably to be found back at their tents unpacking. The band have some good tracks, but unfortunately most of the crowd seemed hesitant to get going. Much more lively were the guys from Wretch 32 at the second stage - the Goldenvoice arena. Their energy onstage was matched by the audience who were finally starting to get into the swing of things.
By the time Ed Sheeran took to the stage in the tent/arena (which for those of you who haven’t graced the banks of Loch Ness at this time of year is about the same size as the King Tut’s tent at T in the Park) the audience had swelled significantly. After what has been an incredible year, Sheeran has become a darling of middle-aged women and young girls, who were out in force last night. He isn’t especially adventurous, but is clearly adored by his fans, holding them in the palm of his hand.
Headlining the main stage were Mumford and Sons - one of the few bands that aren’t putting it on when they say it’s good to be back in the Highlands (they toured remote Highland towns last year). From the minute they took to the stage, their infectious folk anthems provided a a stark contrast to the increasingly dreary weather. Their best known hits provoke a mass sing-along and we are treated to a preview of their forthcoming second album (more of the same, but if it ain’t broken...).
Today, the headliners are noticeably more dance-oriented. We’re off to see Justice, Deadmau5 and Annie Mac amongst others. The Olympic Torch will also grace the main stage this afternoon (at the very precise time of 1649). I’ll let you know how they were tomorrow morning. For now though, I’m off to source some wellies.
Friday June 8th
Figuring out the highlight of the festival so far is a challenge. Is it the struggle to carry so many bags, tents, sleeping bags, cool bags and alcohol that you seriously question - normally quite early on - whether it’s all worth it? Is it arriving and struggling to put up your tent with the constant fear that the heavens are about to open? Or the moment when, after what can be loosely termed unpacking, you realise that you’ve forgotten that one essential that managed to slip your mind that morning (for me, normally a towel). For those without superhuman strength or a superhuman patience (a car might help too), the first story from a festival can be one, normally exaggerated, of pain and suffering.
But, despite the trials and tribulations of just getting to ground zero, within a couple of hours, it all seems worth it. The atmosphere at RockNess, despite the rain and mud (already), is positive. The aforementioned rain has so far failed to materialise. The hardest part is over and thousands of people are now wanting to make sure it was worth the work.
The bands are just getting underway - Ed Sheeran, Mumford and Sons, Noah and the Whale and The Drums being among tonight’s highlights. For anyone that’s not been here before, one of the things you notice about RockNess is how compact it is - you can get from one stage to another fairly quickly.
I’ll report back to you on how tonight’s acts were tomorrow.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 10 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east