Rock Ness delivers a crowd pleasing hardcore dance edge throughout Saturday

Rock Ness 2013 review

published: Thu 13th Jun 2013

around the festival site

Friday 7th to Sunday 9th June 2013
Clune Farm, Loch Ness, Scotland, IV2 6DP, Scotland MAP
£139 for a weekend camping
daily capacity: 35000
last updated: Mon 20th May 2013

Waking up on Saturday morning the site was full of sunburnt, hung-over people, obviously having enjoyed the previous day's exertions a little too much. But there were no long lie ins for the campers this year – with low clouds in the sky being blasted away by the rapidly heating weather, tents changed from warm shelters to vastly uncomfortable saunas – not the ideal conditions for anyone suffering from the previous day's excesses. Yet it wasn't long before another layer of sun cream was slathered on, a beer opened for breakfast and a leisurely wander down to the main arena again. 

The main issue this year with the GoldenVoice Arena was undoubtedly the unexpected warm weather: a sheltered tent is the last place sun-starved Scots want to be when there's precious Vitamin D to soak up, yet Rock Ness dealt with this pitfall well. With the back of the tent open, crowds were free to sit outside in the sun by the opening, fully able to hear the acts in the tent while still catching some sunshine. This was a sight commonly seen throughout the weekend; groups lying on the grass whilst enjoying what GoldenVoice had to offer. And early on the bill on Saturday, we were treated to some comedy from Scott Agnew, Daniel Sloss, and Dylan Moran.

Glasgow comedian Agnew compered the comedy couple of hours with his acerbic wit and tales of Rock Ness weekends gone-by. 22 year old Sloss is warmly welcomed by the crowd even though it's clear they are anticipating the arrival of Moran. Sloss proclaims he is struggling with a hangover – much like most of his audience – going on to warm up the crowd talking about moving out from home and some recreational drug use. Then – and not a minute too soon – Agnew returns to welcome comedy headliner for this Saturday slot: Black Books star Dylan Moran. Looking every inch the natural in the festival stage Moran keeps the small but perfectly crowd guffawing into the early afternoon, before the Black Isle Pub takes over the rest of the comedy line-up for the afternoon. 

While wandering around the arena, grabbing some lunch and sitting down on the grass, Monsta took to the main stage – heavy dance beats floating over the crowd as they geared up for the afternoon. Saturday was the first – and only obvious – time at which the £7 lanyard schedule went a bit awry. With The Cuban Brothers apparently missing their connection from Turkey, it was up to DJ Yoda to fill the bill. After some initial crowd confusion as they were greeted by Londoner hip-hop DJ Duncan Beiny rather than the crazy trio they expected, DJ Yoda managed to win over Rock Ness with his inimitable cartoon-like style as he mixed samples with the Family Ness theme tune, over a timed-to-perfection video background.      

And as DJ Yoda bowed out for the evening, the crowd was riled up for Steve Aoki – originally billed later in the programme, the electro-house DJ thrilled the growing audience by keeping up his cake habit – namely the one in which he throws a series of large sponge cakes into the willing faces of the crowd, before soaking them with champagne. After the first couple of cakes, however it became a little tiresome. By cake number seven, it would have been nicer to see him behind the desk actually mixing some tunes than indulging in the unusual stage antics. 

In order to get a break from the progressively harder dance theme of the main stage, the GoldenVoice Arena played host to guitar whiz Newton Faulkner, looking every inch the cool folk singer-songwriter with his trademark ginger dreads and a grin stretching from ear to ear. Playing in his usual guitar percussion style he didn't fail to impress, although he did have a slight technical glitch at the start of his set after some batteries got loose in his guitar, and ended his set to packed tent (and building crowd outside) with a solo rendition of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' – setting the crowd into a frenzy. 

Having headlined Rock Ness back in 2006 for its first outing, the godfather of the festival Fatboy Slim was undoubtedly expected to be the biggest crowd pull of the night – if not the weekend. With many wondering why he wasn't headlining in place of Example, but billed as a 'very special guest' there was a massive surge of people towards the main stage just in time to see Norman Cook – dressed in crazy shirt and bouncing boyishly under the DJ decks – hit the crowd with an hour long set. Despite playing firm favourite 'Right Here, Right Now' he failed to set some of the revellers alight, many of whom could be heard wondering why he didn't play more of his mainstream hits such as 'Praise You'. However, his legendary status couldn't be disputed as he led the crowd in a repetitive chant of 'Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat' before a sing-a-long to Queen's 'We Will Rock You', changing the infamous line to 'We Will, We Will Rock Ness!'

As the chanting drew to a close, and a cold chill descended as night fell, the audience impatiently waited for the stage to be reset for Example. There was some movement towards the Sub Club tent for Carl Craig to start his set, or towards GoldenVoice for Bombay Bicycle Club yet for those willing to wait it out for vocalist Elliot Gleave, they were rewarded with a performance full of dancier beats than we know him for. Unsurprisingly, hit 'We'll Be Coming Back' – a collaboration with Calvin Harris – was the most popular track of the night amidst crowd confusion as Example's unusual stage banter washed over everyone. Obviously over-excited about getting the headline spot he bellowed out chants such as "shake your face!", "who has hands?", "scream for William Wallace" before calling the crowd "Ibiza" and dangerously tempting some heckling by asking "is there anyone still out there?" as the baffled audience meandered away mid-set. Unusual comments aside, he put on a punchy performance but after the hardcore edge of the main stage all day, seemed an unusual choice to end the second day.


review by: Clare Sinclair

photos by: Clare Sinclair

Friday 7th to Sunday 9th June 2013
Clune Farm, Loch Ness, Scotland, IV2 6DP, Scotland MAP
£139 for a weekend camping
daily capacity: 35000
last updated: Mon 20th May 2013


latest on this festival

Rock Ness
festival home page
last updated: Wed 8th Jun 2016