If you’re having fun at Rifflandia, put your hands up
Afestival like Rifflandia can survive only if the community as a whole pledges its support. Victoria did so and then some Saturday, with a turnout at Royal Athletic Park that was positive to the point of being out of this world.
With about 7,500 fans on site, the 10th annual music festival reached capacity for the second consecutive year during its showcase Saturday night.
That’s good news for a mid-size music event trying to keep its head above water in what has been a turbulent few years for music festivals in the province.
Rifflandia was abuzz in the afternoon in the park with sets by A Tribe Called Red, Dream Warriors and Dear Rouge. The action continued Saturday night in the downtown area known as Electric Avenue, which spans a length of Discovery Street and includes five stages.
Attendance in the area peaked at 6,500 fans on Friday and was expected to reach its capacity of 7,000 overnight Saturday.
But there’s more than music at Rifflandia, which is part of its enduring appeal. The vendors area known as Main Street featured family fare along with goods and services, including haircuts. The food area was also active. The line in front of Habit Coffee was 10 to 15 people deep in the scorching afternoon.
“It’s one of my favourite weekends of the year,” said Shane Devereaux, owneroperator of Habit Coffee. “It’s a ton of fun.” As with many other vendors, Devereaux has been at Rifflandia for the entirety of its 10-year run.
His staff of five work the stand until 9 p.m., putting in 10-hour days. He has even had former baristas who worked for him years ago come back just to relive the experience at Rifflandia.
The Saturday event was capped by British import Bonobo, a DJ who now lives in Los Angeles.
The production whiz is a cult performer with a rabid fans, and they were out in force. It was excellent, but down-tempo.
The audience was engaged for the most part, but major league headliners might no longer be integral to ticket sales. Rifflandia reached an apex in 2017 without the star wattage of previous editions, which included City and Colour, Courtney Love, the Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie and Tegan and Sara. These days, the event is the attraction. The event has worked out the kinks in other areas, and typically runs smoothly.
No security issues were reported Saturday.
“The only complaints we have received thus far have been about the noise,” said Victoria police Sgt. Raj Randhawa.
“There are measures in place to ensure that it stays within the limits, but so far nothing unusual. Noise happens at a festival.”
Rifflandia continues today with sets from Moby, Z-Trip and Yukon Blonde. Tickets can be purchased at rifflandia.com.
The crowd listens to A Tribe Called Red at the Rifftop Tent during Rifflandia at Royal Athletic Park on Saturday evening.
British electronic musician Bonobo wows the crowd on the main stage during Rifflandia at Royal Athletic Park on Saturday night.
Amsterdam-based singer Szjerdene performs at Rifflandia.
The Rifflandia crowd hangs on Saturday afternoon.