While the majority of the UK was sheltering from rain and mud last weekend, Red Bull Studios decamped from London Bridge and set up a high powered soundsystem with a stellar line up of artists 550-miles away on the banks of Loch Ness.
TEED by Steve Stills for Red Bull Studios London
RockNess was lucky to escape the bad weather and instead enjoyed three days of mystical looking grey-blue clouds gliding over the site, which can reasonably stake claims to being the most beautiful festival site in the world.
Rob Da Bank by Steve Stills for Red Bull Studios London
But even more fortunate was the huge array of talent who stepped onto the Studios’ stage. From TEED
– whose debut album has been one of the most hotly anticipated records in recent British electronic music – to festival legend Rob da Bank, Red Bull’s artist in residence Hudson Mohawke
, who pulled out an incredible Hip-Hop set, and Kobi Onyame amongst others.
Kobi by Steve Stills for Red Bull Studios London
Kobi owned the stage on Saturday afternoon and played a number of tracks from his album, including a couple which he recorded in the Red Bull Studios. He showed the crowds the swagger and stage presence which makes it almost a certainty that the Glasgow based rapper is going to go very far indeed.
Hudson Mohawke by Steve Stills for Red Bull Studios London
The trip to Scotland from our Tower Bridge home was part of a series of parties thrown by the Studios. From Benga
’s debut live UK show at Koko at the beginning of the month, to Leftfield and Warchild at Brixton Academy
, Red Bull Studios Live at RockNess gave artists the opportunity to challenge themselves – typified by Eats Everything’s Jungle set.
Marques Toliver by Steve Stills for Red Bull Studios London
The Bristolian made the ground shake so much there were reported sightings of Nessie checking out what all the fuss was about, and Dirtybird’s top man Claude von Stroke popped into the backstage area to get involved. But it was records like Shy FX and UK Apachi’s ‘Original Nuttah’ which sent the ever growing and increasingly smiling crowd crazy – even though many in attendance were barely walking let alone skanking in 1994 when the record was released.
Friendly Fires DJ set by Steve Stills for Red Bull Studios London
Friday’s special guest was the massively talented violinist Marques Toliver whose unique style caught the ear of Wretch 32
. The ‘Traktor’ star, who has previously been in the Studio with Mark Ronson
, began discussions with Marques about returning and recording with him.
Olugbenga by Steve Stills for Red Bull Studios London
Two of the most impressive sets came back to back on Sunday when, for many, washing was a memory. With most feeling the effects of two days of solid partying, Jack Savidge from Friendly Fires thumped out a stomping set which swapped cowbells for bass and transformed one little corner of the Inverness countryside into Berlin for an hour, before Metronomy’s Olugbenga really got the party flowing and reenergized everybody.
He dropped crowd favourites from Snoop Dogg, Stardust and Dizzee Rascal, sending Scotland wild but it was undoubtedly Azealia Banks’ ‘212’ which received the biggest reaction of the set, and arguably the festival. This also delivered the most poignant image: Olugbenga’s beaming smile with a laptop instead of a bass in his hand, looking out to a sea of ravers having the time of their lives.