Rockness 13

12 Jun 2013 , Review by Paul Montgomery

Rockness 13

The Festival season kicks off in blistering fashion

So the start of the festival season kicks off and once again Rockness leads the way. For those not in the know, Rockness is set in Dores, an alluring village on the banks of Loch Ness. A former winner of Britains best small festival, its difficult to find a more beautiful setting although best not typing it into a Satnav! Oh and the sun shone, which for a "fair" headed individual like myself was as much a curse as a blessing. Factor 30 saved the weekend!

Friday kicked things off in atypical convivial fashion, whether you went to see Ellie Gouldings fine set on the mainstage or exciting up n comers London Grammar in the Black Isle pub you wouldnt have been disappointed. Basement Jaxx were one of the highlights, a live performance with vocalists/dancers aplenty. Their new stuff wasnt received as enthusiastically as Remedy/Rooty era but that is often the case at festivals as you know. Jump n shout sent the crowd bananas, as did sleaze pop stormer Get Me Off.

On the subject of highlights, Fridays headliners in the Goldenvoice tent, Above and Beyond were absolutely exceptional. Their blend of film scores, trance 2.0(a more groove led variant of their core sound) was a real love fest. I was expecting a bigger crowd, perhaps the earlier start time and lack of information about it, was a factor, but it didnt matter as whoever was there will unlikely ever forget it. Vision and sound at its finest.

Saturday and the sun was in full blast and rarely have I witnessed such a happy environment with only minor pockets of trouble. You were rather spoiled for choice, with French Soler, Carl Craig and Bombay Bicycle Club all playing around each other. Over at the main stage Steve Aoki drew the biggest crowd , all waiting for his Electro stormers and cake throwing shenanigans. You cant argue with his ability to get the crowd moving, it was a joy to watch. It seems however that everyone was here to see Fatboy Slim, the festivals founding father and he provided a fine set to a pulchritudinous backdrop.

Saturdays highlight for me however was Joris Voorn over at the stunning Soma stage(the Afterburner of previous years.) His blend of House, Techno and Dub reverberated around the site, perfectly married with the light show and fire lamps. A real storming set.

Sunday and a day to take things easier? Nah not quite with the lineup on show here and besides the energy of the dwellers keeps you going. For the more melancholic festival goer there was Lianne La Havas, Ben Howard and The Temper Trap, the latters set warmly received as the sun began to fade into the sky. For those, including me, who were still up for a party, there was still French youngster and Novation Launchpad aficionado Madeon to get the crowd going. Alongside him percussion superstars Bookha Shade and festival favourite Josh Wink were in phenomenal form.

Sundays highlight, surprisingly for me were Madness. Any cobwebs were blown away as the old timers merged single releases with covers both received magnificently with the young and old alike. One of the biggest selling single bands ever, its hard to argue that fact as One Step Beyond (ok, its a cover but still) and House of Fun sent the mixed crowd to near delirium.

Its always over too quickly isnt it? How you do a festival, the acts you see, the people you meet and the banter you have are all personal to us. There isnt many festivals that have such low crowd trouble, and added to the storming sunshine, this was a weekend unlikely to be forgotten. With talks of this or next year being the last (the site was smaller than previous years no doubt), i really do hope that rumours are all they are. Because without Rockness, what else would get the festival season underway in such a beautiful, sunkissed fashion. Long Live Rockness


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