Marc rebillet performing at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park @ Royal Athletic Park, Victoria - September 15th 2023

Live Review: Rifflandia Music Festival – The Park @ Royal Athletic Park, Victoria – September 15th-17th 2023

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The second weekend of the Rifflandia Music Festival, aptly named “The Park,” took place from September 15th to 17th, 2023. Following the electrifying kickoff weekend, Electric Avenue, The Park promised to deliver yet another unforgettable musical experience. As I immersed myself in the festival atmosphere, I was met with an overwhelming sense of warmth and community that permeated every moment.

Entrance sign at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park 2023

Day 1 – September 15, 2023

The festival’s inaugural day began with the infectious rhythms of Sports Team. Their set was an exhilarating start to the weekend, setting the tone for what was to come. U.S. Girls followed with a performance that was both captivating and enthralling. Two Feet continued the sonic journey, seamlessly blending soulful melodies with electronic beats.

Suicidal Tendencies at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park, Victoria – September 15th 2023

Suicidal Tendencies brought a dose of high-octane punk to the stage, igniting the crowd with their unapologetic energy. The highlight of the evening, however, was the eclectic and electric Marc Rebillet. His performance was nothing short of mesmerizing, and he had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

Marc Rebillet’s Electrifying Performance

Marc Rebillet at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park, Victoria – September 15th 2023

Marc Rebillet’s set on the festival’s opening day was a revelation. Rebillet, a true musical maverick, seemed to have harnessed the very essence of live performance. As he took the stage, a hush fell over the crowd, anticipation crackling in the air. What followed was a whirlwind of sound and emotion that left everyone in awe.

Rebillet’s ability to seamlessly blend genres, from electronic and funk to R&B and beyond, created a musical landscape that was as unpredictable as it was exhilarating. His masterful use of loop machines allowed him to build intricate layers of sound right before our eyes. It was a sonic tapestry woven with beats, melodies, and lyrics that spoke to the soul.

But it wasn’t just the music that captivated us. It was Rebillet’s uninhibited stage presence. He danced, he sang, and he played with a fervor that was infectious. The connection between artist and audience was palpable, as if we were all part of one grand, musical experiment.

As the set reached its climax, the crowd found themselves in a collective trance, swept up in the sonic storm Rebillet had conjured. When it was over, we were left breathless, exhilarated, and profoundly grateful for having witnessed a performance that transcended the boundaries of genre and convention.

Iggy Pop: Rocking Through the Ages

Iggy Pop at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park, Victoria – September 15th 2023

The night reached its zenith with the legendary Iggy Pop. Despite the passage of time, Iggy Pop proved that age is but a number. His stage presence was electrifying, and he moved with a vigor that belied his years. It was a masterclass in rock ‘n’ roll, leaving everyone in awe.

Iggy Pop’s setlist was a journey through the annals of punk and rock history. Opening with “The Passenger,” he took us on a wild ride through classics like “Lust for Life” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” With each note, each scream, and each defiant stance, Iggy Pop reaffirmed his status as a rock icon.

But it wasn’t just the hits that made Iggy Pop’s performance memorable; it was his raw, unfiltered energy. He didn’t simply sing his songs; he embodied them. He leaped into the crowd, writhed on the stage, and howled into the night. It was a performance that transcended entertainment and became a primal, cathartic experience.

As the final chords of “Frenzy” reverberated through the park, Iggy Pop left the stage, drenched in sweat and triumphant. The audience, too, was left in a state of exhilaration, having witnessed a living legend still radiating his powers.

Day 2 – September 16, 2023

The festival’s second day dawned with the enchanting Mallrat, whose dreamy pop-infused tunes set the perfect morning vibe. Lovelytheband followed, infusing the crowd with a sense of euphoria. Matt Maeson’s raw and soulful performance was a highlight, resonating with the audience on a profound level.

Chet Faker at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park, Victoria – September 16th 2023

Chet Faker’s ethereal melodies transported us to another realm, creating an atmosphere of transcendence. The legendary Mavis Staples graced us with her presence, delivering a soul-stirring set that was nothing short of breathtaking.

Salt-N-Pepa’s Nostalgic Rollercoaster

Salt-N-Pepa at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park, Victoria – September 16th 2023

Salt-N-Pepa’s performance on the festival’s second day was a journey through hip-hop nostalgia. The iconic duo, known for hits like “Push It” and “Shoop,” took us on a rollercoaster ride of classic tracks that had the crowd singing and dancing along.

However, their set was not without its quirks. A curious interlude, lasting over 20 minutes, saw their DJ playing old hits from other bands. While it allowed the audience to catch their breath, it left some of us wondering about the choice.

Nevertheless, Salt-N-Pepa’s infectious energy and undeniable chemistry on stage made their performance a memorable trip down memory lane.

Diplo Closes the Night with a Bang

Diplo at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park, Victoria – September 16th 2023

The night culminated with headliner Diplo, whose electrifying set was the perfect way to cap off the second day of the festival. Known for his genre-blurring style, Diplo seamlessly mixed and mashed different musical worlds, keeping the crowd in a perpetual state of dance.

His set was a testament to his status as a musical chameleon, effortlessly moving between electronic, hip-hop, and pop influences. The crowd responded with uncontainable energy, dancing well into the wee hours of the night.

As the night came to a close, we left the festival grounds with a sense of exhilaration, grateful for the diverse musical journey we had embarked on.

Day 3 – September 17, 2023

The final day of The Park began with the soulful sounds of Jesse Gold, followed by the enchanting Tia Wood. Miina’s magnetic stage presence had the audience under her spell, while Melanie C, also known as Sporty Spice from the Spice Girls, surprised us all with a DJ set that was nothing short of electrifying.

DijahSB at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park, Victoria – September 17th 2023

DijahSB continued to impress with their lyrical prowess, setting the stage for a legendary performance by Herbie Hancock. The jazz icon transported us to a realm of musical transcendence, proving that his talent knows no bounds.

Melanie C’s Delightful Triumph

Melanie C at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park, Victoria – September 17th 2023

Another unexpected highlight of the day was Melanie C’s DJ set. While known as Sporty Spice from the Spice Girls, Melanie C has carved out a successful solo career in recent years. Her DJ set, however, was a revelation.

From the moment she stepped behind the decks, Melanie C had the crowd in the palm of her hand. Her track selection was impeccable, seamlessly blending dancefloor anthems with unexpected gems. The energy she brought to the stage was infectious, and the crowd responded with unbridled enthusiasm.

Melanie C’s set was a testament to her evolution as an artist. It was not a nostalgia trip but a bold step into the world of electronic music. She proved that she could hold her own in the DJ booth, commanding the audience’s attention with every beat and drop.

Kaleo’s Captivating Performance

Kaleo at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park, Victoria – September 17th 2023

The festival’s closing day was undoubtedly punctuated by an exceptional performance from Kaleo. As they graced the stage, a sense of anticipation lingered in the air. It became increasingly apparent that we were in for a memorable show.

Kaleo’s music has consistently pushed boundaries, fusing rock, blues, and folk into a distinctive, genre-defying sound. On this particular evening, they elevated their artistry to a new level. From the very first note, it was evident that something extraordinary was unfolding before us.

The band’s stage setup, while impressive, was not overly extravagant. Thoughtfully designed lighting and visuals served as a compelling backdrop, harmonizing seamlessly with their music. Their performance felt like an immersive journey into another realm where sound and visuals coalesced to weave a captivating narrative.

Despite facing technical challenges that might have disrupted a lesser act, Kaleo’s unwavering dedication to their craft ensured a nearly flawless performance. Most of us in the audience remained blissfully unaware of any hiccups as the music flowed, sweeping us away in its enchanting embrace.

However, it wasn’t solely the visual elements that held us in rapture; it was the music itself. Kaleo’s unrefined, heartfelt vocals and virtuoso musicianship forged an atmosphere of sheer enchantment. Songs like “Way Down We Go” and “I Can’t Go On Without You” resonated deeply within our souls.

As the final notes of their set reverberated through the park, the crowd erupted in applause. It was a recognition not just of the band’s performance but of their ability to overcome technical challenges and deliver an extraordinary show.

Regrettably, personal logistics forced me to miss headliner Stephen Marley, a decision that still weighs heavily on my heart.

Overall Atmosphere and Highlights

Crowd at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park, Victoria – September 17th 2023

Throughout the weekend, the prevailing ambiance was one of camaraderie and inclusivity. The festival felt like a close-knit community, where strangers became friends and music lovers became family. The presence of children added an element of whimsy and wonder to the proceedings, making every moment more magical.

Iggy Pop’s stage prowess was awe-inspiring, defying the limitations of age. Kaleo’s sonic masterpiece performance transcended technical difficulties with grace and poise. Melanie C, in an unexpected turn of events, emerged as one of the weekend’s standout acts, captivating us with her magnetic DJ set. Salt-N-Pepa, while undeniably fun, left us somewhat bewildered due to their extended, strange interlude. Marc Rebillet’s eccentric performance had the audience spellbound, proving the power of musical innovation.

Attendees at Rifflandia Music Festival: The Park, Victoria – September 17th 2023

In a world where live music festivals often blur into a sea of similarity, Rifflandia’s “The Park” stood out as something special and deeply personal. It was a weekend where music transcended boundaries, where strangers became friends, and where the warmth of the community enveloped us all. This, my friends, was not just a music festival; it was an experience that will forever reside in our hearts and memories.

Photos © Jamie Taylor

Musical Acts

Crowd and Festival Grounds