The weather reports had been fairly mixed in the lead up to Rock Ness 2012, so I was reasonably happy when I arrived in Dores to an overcast but dry festival arena. The Loch was nowhere to be seen, but even that couldn’t change the buzz emanating from the thousands of festival-goers already through the gates.
Myself and my compadre from Moff Photography got ourselves sorted and set out for some musical treats. Unfortunately Admiral Fallow could only be enjoyed from very much afar – the campsite to be exact – but a venture towards the arena allowed a pretty good view of Mystery Jets getting stuck about the main stage. This is a real fun live band and Two Doors Down was particularly influential in kicking off Friday night in style.
The Drums then followed, but the hipster outfit failed to keep me there for long as I decided to head to what was the biggest spectacle of the arena – Arcadia UFO. Animal Farm were deep into a mammoth set at the Soma-run stage, with the house collective positioned in the centre of the spaceship style booth as it’s ‘legs’ sprawled outwards with swarms of festival goers dancing on the top. The speakers were some 20 feet out from the booth and this inward pulsing of top quality house and techno made this the party centre of RockNess.
Having a photographer in attendance meant that there was a pretty constant stream of folk wanting their picture taken, and whilst it became a bit tedious after a while, it was all in good spirits. RockNess as a festival in general is one I find to be really friendly and welcoming and such an environment only sets up for a great weekend.
The only place where not everyone was having a great time seemed to be at Ed Sheeran; for reasons of not being a 14-year-old girl, and having ears, I decided to wait outside while my partner in crime took some snaps and I was pretty shocked to see and hear the aftermath of several fights. I’m not sure if Mr Sheeran started a pit or had a ‘wall of death’, but the vast majority seemed to be having a good time, and thankfully a first trip to the Howards End Tent was imminent.
A change in schedule meant that local hip hop act Team Kapowski were hitting the stage, which was a pleasant surprise. The three-piece have one of the most personable and indeed likable frontmen you are likely to come across, and the mix of rap and electro was a welcome departure from anything else on the bill.
It was soon time for Mumford and Sons to headline the main stage, and it was instantly visible how much the crowd had swollen for the chart-topping folksters. They certainly didn’t disappoint as the four up-front tactics wonderful harmonies to wash out over the crowd, while the tone flitted from mellow and poignant to ho-down raucousness.
I didn’t, however, catch all of Marcus and his pals as Homework had been rearranged for 11pm. It was certainly no strain to hit the smaller tent though as the Inverness band put in one of the performances of the weekend. I’ve always enjoyed this electro four-piece recorded, but they have that extra level live, and absolutely blitzed their set.
Hudson Mohawke was then the final stop of the evening, and it was another aural and visual treat; positioned in the centre of what looked like a massive Rubix Cube, the returning Scot wowed the tent with a storming set, and I’m sure I caught an Errors sample in there too. A great way to finish what was a great opening day to RockNess 2012, though I don’t think many were ready for sleep just yet.
Expect more Rock ness coverage in the next few days, including the Saturday Review, Festival Diaries from Animal Farm and Homework, and the Festival In Photos. You can see more photos on the Favourite Son Facebook Page now.