There's a reason that Rockness is dubbed 'The Most Beautiful Festival in the World' and so I used the imagery invoked to sustain myself during the 7-hour journey North. Crossing the Forth Bridge after 3 am I witnessed the most beautiful sunrise and was surrounded by an ethereal mist. I really was beginning to become excited at the prospect of a weekend sited on the edge of the Loch where I'd be amongst the company of some of the top talent available on this planet at this moment in time.
We were not to be disappointed, stages were cram packed from 12 in the morning till midnight and beyond with a heavy accent on dance music.
RockNess was started back in 2006 When Fatboy Slim took his Brighton Beach party to the shores of Loch Ness and this year saw the master return to the Main stage to close the opening day. Fatboy Slim was never going to disappoint and brought a rousing ten-minute opener tempting fate with the rain gods by opening with a thunderous storm on the big Screens.
Dance aficionados found themselves with a major dilemma on the opening night with a head to head with Pendulum posing the most difficult decision of the day, the beauty of this site is that nothing is more than a five minute amble to get to so its easy to hop or in most peoples cases stumble from one stage to another - the best of all possible worlds!
There is always a heavy splattering of dance to choose from at Rockness but this is uniquely complimented with some of the finest artistes from around the globe complimented with a smattering of home grown up and coming talent, gracing both the main stages and special smaller stages around the site. This year also saw the introduction of comedy in the guise of Scotland's finest homegrown comedian Kevin Bridges; such was the draw that he had no trouble packing out The Clash Tent twice over!
Saturday night saw yet another monster lineup that brought Leftfield to the Loch, these headliners were giving us their first performance in over ten years. Leftfield brought with them 3 sets of singers enabling them to throw out a complete and captivating array of their repertoire, and what a repertoire was brought to the shores of RockNess, an inspired choice.
The man the myth the legend, Ian Brown threw all his Mancurian swagger onto the main stage and didn’t disappoint the crowd as he proceeded to belt out classic after classic. Man of the moment Plan B slickly performing numbers all suited and booted to a swaying throng. Before this the Cuban Brothers and Alabama 3 bought their own examples of humour and musical diversity to the main stage to the delights of a crowd who were keen to party like there was no other party.
Sunday had a whole host of headliners vying for the title but for me one woman was the true queen stealing the show from all adversaries and fresh from similar success the day before on the Isle of White. This was none other than Blondie skillfully drifting between classic Blondie tunes and new Album material and even a foray into Muse.
Debbie Harry was the consummate performer and in classy jacket and layered skirt with bejeweled sunglasses she owned the stage and the crowd most of whom weren’t even born when she first disappeared from the limelight. What can you say about Debbie Harry? She owned it despite massive performances from The Doves, Vampire Weekend and The Strokes!
For the first time this year BBC Radio 1 was a major media sponsor and they hosted the Annie Mac stage as well as having a live broadcast on the Friday night in the Howards End bar. Top radio DJs including Annie Mac, Zane Lowe and Rob da Bank thrilled the crowds especially when standing aloft the Arcadia afterburner stage, which was entertainment enough for some on its own.
RockNess ended in spectacular style reaching its conclusion all too soon leaving us to mourn its 2010 passing with a firework display poignantly and deliciously framed by the lock and mountains, we were left a bit shell shocked, reeling from a memorable weekend RockNess style.
There's more to follow in next couple of days including some major picture galleries from Safeconcerts photographer Brian Anderson and some special band interviews.
So keep your eyes peeled and keep checking back to these pages for updates.
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