Victoria’s Rifflandia Music Festival ran from September 15-18, 2016. It showcased Four days of music at Royal Athletic Park & various night stages throughout Victoria. In this, the 9th year of the Festival, Atomique Productions added a few new surprises , including blocking off two entire city blocks, and combining 3 venues into one large connected outdoor venue called Electric Avenue. There are so many events happening simultaneously, festival goers have to decide which acts they really want to see and stick to the script, you can’t see them all. I focused primarily more on the Main stages at Royal Athletic Park and Phillips Brewery at Electric Avenue.
Thursday Night, I was at Phillips Backyard and ANIÁN at Electric Avenue, my highlights were Illvis Freshly which featured a surprise appearance by Caleb Hart just moments before just he was to hit the stage at the ANIÁN. De La Soul closed out night one with bang.
Friday I was at the main stage and surprises were led by Bomba Estéreo , this Colombian electro pop band nearly stole the show, they earned a bunch of new fans in Victoria for sure. The Elwins. Put on a solid and well received set. It was however, The X Ambassadors who the large crowd had come to see. Lead singer Sam Harris is a great front man and together they put on what would turn out to be, one the best performances of the entire festival. Michael Franti & Spearhead closed out the night in what could be best described as inspirational. He spread love, joy, and hope. Franti was in and out of the crowd the entire set, at one point, he brought up one lucky fan on stage to sing with him, and also brought up 12 Children from throughout the crowd onstage for a song, and one of the kids decided he didn’t want to sing, but instead told the crowd a Knock-Knock joke.
Saturday’s Rifflandia fun started very early at Musicounts TD lounge , what an amazing venue and great cause. All the proceeds went to MusiCounts, which raises funds to help to keep music alive in schools and communities across Canada. The Atrium is one of the best venues to catch a live acoustic performance. This year’s event featured Jesse Roper, Vince Vaccaro, Band of Rascals, Fox Glove, and Fintan O’Brien. Later in the afternoon, under the threat of a massive downpour, I was at Royal Athletic Park, some highlights were Band of Rascals and surpise breakout Coleman Hell who got the crowd into a frenzy and performed what some have called the best new act to play Rifflandia, even if he did play last year at the ANIÁN. Band of Skulls and Jurassic 5 rounded out my viewing pleasure. Sunday was Rifflandia last day & I was super impressed by Chance Lovett & The Broken Hearted, they delivered a soulful set and were received with a thunderous approval from the usually reserved Victoria crowd. Shane Koyczan and The Short Story Long played the Main stage in a lineup change caused by the unfortunate absence of Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires. The Metchosin One, Jesse Roper was up next and was full value as always. Jesse, Steve & Matt and made the most of their expanded set time. Wolf Parade closed out Rifflandia 2016 with a bang. Thanks Atomique Productions, already looking forward to Rifflandia #10.