Courtney Love threw roses into the crowd from the main stage at Royal Athletic Park on Day 2 of Rifflandia

Courtney Love threw roses into the crowd from the main stage at Royal Athletic Park on Day 2 of Rifflandia

Rifflandia Review: Friday at Royal Athletic Park

What better way to say goodbye to summer than watching Love growl at the moonlight on Friday the 13th in September?

Armed with only a pen, some paper, a 10 year old digital camera and my trusty social media liaison Nick Lyons, I head out to Rifflandia Festival 2013 for opening night at Royal Athletic Park. Why a Social Media liaison, you ask? Quite simply, I’m a very important man and just don’t have time to fiddle around with social media constantly. Plus, the use of a liaison continuously builds my mystique and creates a certain scarcity for my character, which is now in high demand across the globe. There is also the outside possibility that my lack of connection to the internet will provide readers with a better description of this carnival of the senses called Rifflandia.

I enter under a seemingly handcrafted sign sporting the festival’s unique aesthetic which evokes an energetic, creative, family-friendly atmosphere where dancing, conversation, eating and drinking are all actively encouraged. As I walk around, it is hard to miss the many home-grown innovative businesses and organizations displaying quality goods and services on offer year round in this vibrant community. Artlandia’s mini golf and paint wall are tempting propositions, as is Kidlandia, which features some pretty exciting activities for everyone, but I am distracted by the OuterSpace Mobile Art Gallery featuring the work of James Kirkpatrick. Wow! I have a mind to have my social media liaison post a status update, but it is too soon.

Wait, what the hell? A cinema tent? Jesus.

I wander over to the east end of the park where a fantastic array of food trucks await including Pizzeria Prima Strada, Taco Justice and Dead Beetz. I’ll take the smell of sizzling steaks, pulled pork and fresh burritos over re-heated hot dogs any day. I eat delicious kaffir lime coconut vegetable curry in a box at a picinic table in the sun while Easy Star All Stars play dub covs and Z-Trip gets everyone in a dancing mood in the Rifftop Tent.

Oh, right. This is a music festival. The main stage has thousands bouncing to the sounds of Nova Scotia’s Luke Boyd, otherwise known as Classified. High energy hand waving beats across a crowd of happy revellers. The sun sets behind the stage turning full summery green trees into silhouettes against a darkening sky as a half moon rises to the south. Classified pulls Sabrina from Nanaimo up on stage for a duet and goes straight into Oh Canada from his 2009 album Self Explanatory, a proud moment for us all.

Back at the Rifftop Tent, Current Swell takes the stage to an adoring crowd. You can tell people love this west coast driving blues reggae rock because everyone’s singing the lyrics, clapping to the beat and generally having a laid back good time. The trombone out of nowhere blasting fans with a well-timed solo is definitely a highlight. The more horns the better, I say.

For the love of God, Courtney Love! It’s amazing she’s still playing live after everything she’s been through and already accomplished. I’ve always appreciated the raw performances, hard truths and screaming good rock vocals. Charisma in spades as she plays Hole, solo work and covers Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust woman. A rose from Love is the only kind that makes sense nowadays, and she threw many into the crowd. What better way to say goodbye to summer than watching Love growl at the moonlight on Friday the 13th in September?

The kids, so many kids watching these shows despite some pretty adult content. Perhaps it works like French kids and wine: exposing them to a little early on takes the edge off and removes any need to rebel later on. Anyways, kids are like horns. You can never have too many of them at a festival as far as I’m concerned.

Where’s my social media liaison? So much going on this weekend I want to let everyone know. Two more full days here and Saturday’s schedule is looking good at R.A.P.: Hey Marseilles beginning at noon, followed by Corb Lund, Hot Hot Heat, Wintersleep, USS and Death from Above 1979. They don’t make it easy to choose with the Rifftop Tent hosting Limblifter beginning at 12:30 followed by St. Lucia, Chali 2na, Wavves and Rob Garza.

Tickets are available at Rifflandia.com, Rifflandia HQ, Royal Mc Pherson Box Office, Ditch Records and Lyle’s Place in Victoria.

 

Timothy Trebilcock

arts@mondaymag.com

 

 

Photos by Rob Porter

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

Just Posted

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
Vancouver Island children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

This image released by SYFY shows Meredith Garretson, left, and Alan Tudyk in the new series "Resident Alien." (James Dittinger/SYFY via AP)
B.C.-shot ‘Resident Alien’ invader gets lift-off with viewers

New Syfy series catching on, proving TV doesn’t have to come from premium cable

West Coast-themed metal art by Nanaimo artists Hayley Willoughby (pictured), her father Jack and partner Blair LeFebvre is on display in the window of Lululemon at Woodgrove Centre from now until March 13 as part of the store’s monthly local artist program. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Metal artists present cross-generational show at Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Work by Hayley Willoughby, her partner and father on display in Lululemon window

Vancouver Island Symphony principal violinist and concertmaster Calvin Dyck is among the musicians performing in the upcoming Salmon and Trout concert. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Vancouver Island Symphony will make a splash with fish-themed quintets concert

Performance was to take place in November but was rescheduled due to COVID-19

Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre in December. (Photo courtesy François Savard)
Music starts next week at online Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

Ten free, virtual performances to occur over three weeks in March

The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
 The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
Victoria calls for artists to fill Commercial Alley gallery

Competition open to artists in the Capital Regional District

Cowichan Valley author Teresa Schapansky’s books for young readers have become a phenomenon on Amazon. (Submitted)
Cowichan author tops Amazon charts

Award-winning author Teresa Schapansky learned of a need for low-level readers in the classroom

Nadia Rieger restocks some of the art supplies at the Crows Nest Artist Collective. Their move to stocking more art supplies over the course of the pandemic was a response to increased demand, which she thinks shows people have been turning to creating art to cope with mental health struggles due to lockdowns and restrictions on other activities. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Vancouver Islanders using art to conquer COVID blues

It seems people have been turning to their creative sides to stay mentally and emotionally healthy

Chris Bullock, Parksville artist, stands next to his ‘Mermother’ series, on display at the McMillan Arts Centre until Feb. 29. Bullock himself will be at the MAC from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Saturday until the end of the month. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Chris Bullock’s unique illustrations on display

‘I’m heavily influenced by old comic book styles from the 1950s’

VIU music instructors Hans Verhoeven, Ben Henriques and Ken Lister (from left) are presenting a weekly jazz performance series with pianist James Darling (not pictured). (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
VIU music instructors presenting online jazz concert series

Musicians getting ‘back in shape’ performing American Songbook standards

Most Read