Doubts over future of RockNess music festival

Fans at the music festival, held at Dores on the banks of Loch Ness. Picture: Jane Barlow
Fans at the music festival, held at Dores on the banks of Loch Ness. Picture: Jane Barlow
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ONE of Scotland’s biggest music festivals is believed to be in doubt this year due to dwindling ticket sales and competition from other major events.

The fate of Rockness, which has been staged on the banks of Loch Ness since 2006, is said to be hanging in the balance despite attracting crowds of up to 35,000 and some of the biggest names in the music business.

Organisers are yet to announce any plans for this year’s event, despite the usual dates being less than six months away, and have not responded to questions from fans on social media.

The mystery over this year’s event comes after the attendance in 2013 was said to be more than 10,000 short of capacity.

The three-day festival is said to have suffered a decline in popularity compared to rival events like Belladrum and Loopallu, which have sold out in recent years.

The Scotsman understands there have also been problems finding a suitable slot for the event – which is staged at Clune Farm, in Dores – in the 2014 calendar that avoids a clash with other major events and festivals.

A one-off, three-day festival is being held at Bannockburn in June, when Rockness is usually staged, as part of the Scottish Government’s Year of Homecoming celebrations.

The World Cup football tournament in Brazil kicks off on 12 June and finishes in mid-July, which is the same weekend the T in the Park festival is being held at Balado.

To compound matters, Glasgow is playing host to its “biggest ever cultural celebration” this summer to coincide with the staging of the Commonwealth Games, details of which are to be announced on Thursday.

The Scotsman reported earlier this month how two other music festivals – Big Tent in Fife and Insider near Aviemore – were being shelved this year.

There has been nothing at all announced about the festival this year on the Rockness website or its official social media channels, despite demands from fans for information.

A spokeswoman for Rockness said she was unable to confirm anything at all about the festival, adding that an announcement would be made “in due course.”

No-one was available for comment at global entertainment giants AEG, who took over the running of the event in 2008.

A music industry source in the Highlands said: “It is very surprising that nothing has been announced either way on the festival. With so many other events on this summer, I’d have thought they would have tickets on sale well before now.

“If they are going to hold the event in late May or early June, they are not giving themselves very long to sell tickets.”