Canadian artist Jessie Reyez is among the headliners for the 2018 version of Rifflandia. Courtesy Atomique Productions

Canadian artist Jessie Reyez is among the headliners for the 2018 version of Rifflandia. Courtesy Atomique Productions

RIFFLANDIA: Local artists thrive under festival model

Bands like Current Swell, one of the 2018 headliners, made their mark at RAP

Supporting local musicians, some of whom find their way further up the music ladder in the aftermath, is a part of what Rifflandia is all about.

The music festival, which celebrates its 11th edition in September, has given various Victoria-area bands their first big break including Current Swell, who were on the roster for the first Rifflandia back in 2008 and are among the headliners this time.

“They’re a group we, as a company, have supported since Day 1,” says Nick Blasko, co-founder of festival promoter Atomique Productions. “This time they’re bringing some friends and taking a different approach to the show.”

The Swell, as Blasko refers to the group, are the kind of grassroots act that has fit in well over the years with the bigger names that have taken the stage at Royal Athletic Park and other festival venues.

“For us, it’s always the idea that we can take one of those slots on the main stage; that shows the support for the local bands in the community,” he says. “It’s always nice to be able to do that.”

This year some of those bigger names include Jessie Reyez, the Juno Award winner whose career trajectory in North America in the past year has been incredible; Grammy-nominated Daniel Caesar, another young Canadian who is making a splash on both sides of the border, Lights, Adventure Club and Bishop Briggs.

In all, 154 bands are taking part in the festival. Sound like a crazy high number? It’s not the most ever, Blasko says.

“I think we broke 200 in the Breakout West year,” he says of 2015, when the city hosted the annual blending of the Western Canadian Music Awards, four-day conference and three-day music festival.

In terms of who’s attending Rifflandia, the demographic is becoming broader every year. Where the earlier festivals attracted a mainly younger crowd, the regulars are getting older and even starting to bring their children along, which has prompted organizers to do more things to entertain families at RAP. Kids 12-under get in free when registered using the festival’s official online form.

READ: Rifflandia music festival lineup announced for 2018

“I’d say 25-30 per cent are core people that support Rifflandia, and maybe 25-35 per cent is made up of audiences of headliners who come to hear bands specifically,” Blasko says. “Then the remaining chunk are those people who don’t want to miss out on the excitement.”

Bringing upwards of 10,000 people into town makes for some serious economic impacts as well. “I talk to cab drivers sometimes and they say ‘it’s like New Year’s Eve three nights in a row,’” he adds.

Having three new venues for the festival – adding Canoe, the Rubber Boot Club and Vinyl Envy brings the total to 12 sites – is another way the festival is expanding its reach, both for artists and audiences.

“It makes for a more robust festival and gives us more options,” Blasko says, noting that venues like Canoe have been providing a place for local bands to play for some time now.

While the smaller sites offer great options for people who may not like the outdoor festival atmosphere, for those looking for that kind of thing in an urban location, RAP has it all, with two stages and plenty of food and beverage choices.

To check out the full schedule or buy tickets, visit rifflandia.com.

editor@mondaymag.com

Live musicRifflandia

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Lights brings her unique sound to the Rifflandia music festival in Victoria in September. Photo courtesy Atomique Productions.

Lights brings her unique sound to the Rifflandia music festival in Victoria in September. Photo courtesy Atomique Productions.

Just Posted

The Gettin’ Higher Choir will be performing alongside Wavelengths Community Choir and special guests during an online concert Jan. 30. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria choirs team up for online concert fundraiser

Valdy among performers for free concert

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Artist Jim Holyoak’s installation “Quagmire.” Holyoak will be the first speaker for the Artist Talk Online Winter 2021 series. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College Artist Talk goes online for winter 2021

The series invites contemporary Canadian artists to speak about their professional practice

Juno-winning Toronto dub poet Lillian Allen is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2021. (Photo courtesy Karen Lee)
Juno-winning dub poet is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet this year

Lillian Allen will present online lecture, reading and Q-and-A

James Summer, the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Slam poetry expert introduced as Victoria’s new youth poet laureate

Vic High alum James Summer will serve in the role for 2021

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Most Read