As someone on the way to Rockness for the 6th year in a row, I’d like to offer you a few tips, to help you survive and enjoy the festival on the beautiful banks of Loch Ness.


What to take:

Most of this will seem obvious, but you’d be surprised who doesn’t bring them.

Shorts and T shirt (in case it rains)

In case it rains?! I’m being serious; There is nothing worse than putting on a wet pair of jeans in the morning. Although in the short-term you may find it a little chilly, you will most likely warm up very quickly as soon as you either get into one of the tents, or start dancing about. Shorts and T shirt dry a lot quicker than jeans and a woolly pully.

A Jacket

Put aside you’re usual high standards of dress, it will mater little when you’re on your 3rd night of sleeping rough, you smell like death and it’s blowing a hoolie outside, you’ll be glad of it to keep you warm, on your trips from tent to tent or on the way to the loo in the middle of the night.

Sun Tan Lotion

I know, you’re a hardy highlander, and ain’t no sun gonna do you no harm, but if you get burnt on the first day you will regret it. I promise you there are not many worse pains to endure at a festival than being sunburnt, in a packed crowd, getting scratched by weekend stubble on one side, and a leather jacket on the other.

Dry Shampoo

Most of us at the festival will not have the luxury of a shower. And 3 days without a shower, you will feel DISGUSTING. Although no substitute for the real thing, dry shampoo is a blessing for making you feel fresher, same as mouthwash and brushing your teeth (I’m beginning to sound like a health campaigner now).


(Less like a health campaigner now)

I know that 90% of you will be taking enough alcohol to knock out a horse, but have you thought about what?


My advice would be taking different sorts of alcohol- by day 3 you’ll be feeling sick of your apple sours if that’s all you’re planning on taking. For most people; You’ll drink less vodka than you think you will, and you’ll drink more beer than you think you will. Another thing to remember is that you won’t have the means to cool your drink. So choose drink you think won’t be horrible when slightly warm. (You’ll know yourself, some beers are better warm than others-there’s nothing worse than a warm tin of Tennent’s).


A Sledge

With all this beer you didn’t think you’d need, you’ll need to find a way to carry it all in at once. You can buy a sledge for around £5 and put everything you need on it. Tape your beer, your tent, your chair and your sleeping bag on so that they won’t fall off. Don’t cheap out on some rubbish tape and make sure you remember to take the tape with you, so you can repeat the process on the return journey.

Plastic bags

Useful for just about anything. Putting dirty shoes in when muddy, clothes when wet, and dirty washing for you don’t wear the same pants twice. Even useful for putting over the top of your shoes when they finally give up on being waterproof.


If the weather is gonna be nice all weekend, you’ll be perfectly happy with your £3.50 tent from tesco. But remember, this is Scotland. If you know nothing else about tents, make sure your tent has 2 layers. If it doesn’t the inside of your tent will just get wet and cold, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Hand Sanitiser

They WILL run out

Roll Mat

Getting off of the floor has an incredible impact on keeping warm in a tent at night. For the sake of a few quid, it’s definitely worth buying one( or two). If however you expertly position your tent on a sharp stone, an air bed may do you much better.

Ear Plugs

Some might think them un-cool, but after a full weekend of music, you’re ears will be suffering greatly. This can- and most likely will- do permanent damage to your hearing. Also you’ll thank me when you can’t sleep me for the noise, and you remember them (If you’d like to thank me, please bring beer to my tent).

What not to take. – You think it’s good idea, but it’s not.

Battery powered speakers or a stereo

You think you’ll be the life of the party- all around you will love you and sing your name. They won’t. Aside from the fact that these things normally eat batteries you’ll not accomplish much more than annoying your neighbors.



Seems like a great idea! And so it should be, you can’t beat a good campsite sing-along. But when the one billionth passer-by asks you if he can play Wonderwall you will regret it.

Expensive sunglasses

I will quote a friend of mine: “The thing is about spending £150 on a pair of sunglasses is that they become like your phone or your wallet; you always know where they are and you won’t need to keep buying them.”

To quote the same friend, meeting him first thing in the morning: “F***, I lost my sunglasses.”


Take food. You most likely won’t be able to afford to feed yourself from the food stands for the whole weekend, and even if you can, after feasting on cheese burgers for 9 meals in a row, you’re health but be worse for it. I go for 2 meals a day and a snack or 2 in the middle. Bring a loaf of sliced bread and a bottle of squeezy jam or squeezy cheese (or both). This makes a nice easy meal that you can assemble in the comfort of your own tent.

Fruit is an essential. You need the fibre to keep you feeling light (if you know what I mean) and you’ll be amazed how refreshing you’ll find it. What fruit? Not bananas- they’ll just squash. Apples and pears are pretty good, and even tinned fruit can make a nice change. Cereal bars are designed for festivals. Easy to pack, cheap, don’t lose their freshness and surprisingly nutritious, these do a great job for your middle of the day snack (I’d suggest getting fruit and nut ones, rather than just chocolate).


This ones quite simple- Basically, don’t be a bitch.

If everyone else around you in the campsite has shut up to sleep. You shut up.

If you can’t handle getting knocked around a bit at the front of a big crowd, don’t go there, and certainly don’t complain about it.

Have a look at other Rockness 2013 news.

Got any other tips, please list ‘em below.

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Short and colour blind.. All the best traits of gig photographer. My background is playing music. Multi-instrumentalist, but mainly a bass guitar player. I spent years playing bass for Last Summer Effect but after we split up in late 2013, I have now moved on to play bass for Spoke Too Soon. I study Music Technology at university, and photograph/write for Inverness Gigs when ever I am back home.