By guest writer Jim Vanderhorst of Rebel Cause Films and Jamie Gib
Held across many of the city’s most popular venues, and taking over two spaces surrounding the popular Phillips Brewery and Royal Athletic Park in beautiful downtown Victoria, Rifflandia is best comparable to Austin’s famous SXSW festival as a collision of all things art and music.
Family friendly musical performances from Lights and Jesse Reyez capture the city’s attention in daylight hours before the city becomes a pulsing, thriving smorgasboard of various electronic genres and local band performances. Hip networking meetings and secret (actual) boiler-room sets carry the momentum of the summer music season into fall’s busy behind the scenes season, where ideas on how to improve business on all fronts for all artists takes the forefront of the imagination.
The venue lineup issues that plagued Rifflandia in the past appeared solved this year, as even at peak hours most late night venues only had short lineups and room to dance comfortably was available for all.
From SHRKY‘s opening liquid drum & bass set forward, we had our best Rifflandia yet! We salute Atomique for what they have achieved in a tiny capitol city, amidst what must be a mountain of paperwork, meeting time, and give-and-take with agencies eager to get their clients in the best slot possible.
Def 3 exploded the Phillips Backyard stage with support from Bryx, as Canada’s veterans captured the crowd’s attention with dynamic breakbeats and conscious lyricism. On Thursday night, we stopped by Studio Robazzo briefly to check out homegrown dubstep producer Outsider, rocking his original block rocking beats before swinging across the street for FNKSTLL‘s headlining performance at Copper Owl. The Chinatown Events crew curated the Copper Owl, serving up smooth techno and house beats all weekend long.
We tip our hat to Atomique for working with local promoters; they have become so successful they own some of the local venue space in town, but they are more than willing to play ball with any promoter who has their business in order. Working congenially with people that could be your rivals in a more cutthroat market is a Victoria tradition that makes us proud to call it home.
The baseball field opened up on Friday, and here’s where the heart of the festival really began. Friday night was dominated by a lineup of local heavyweights working up the Electric Avenue stage; Jennay Badger, Bousada, and Neon Steve delivered maximum vibes into a heavy Stickybuds set that pleasantly surprised many expecting a traditional funky outing like the Fractal Forest.
From there, we vamoosed to the busiest of the late night venues, the legendary Lucky Bar, which has given early opportunities to too many local success stories to count. Westwood, the brainchild of The Funk Hunters engineer wizard Nick Middletown, worked in concert with the event promoters to curate a lineup worthy of the fervor. Rising bucks Doprah Spinfree and Shylow generated the perfect atmosphere going into American funk producer Megan Hamilton’s Vancouver Island debut, which mixed crowd pleasers with her own music to close it down.