With Rifflandia in its seventh year, and all the preparatory hullabaloo that surrounds it, it’s starting to feel like as much of a tradition as Christmas. It’s a pretty big deal in Victoria, which means there’s a lot of build-up and anticipation in the hours, days, weeks, and even months leading up to this fantastic festival experience.
When it comes to the night shows, the task of having to decide which music to see is quite daunting, with fourteen night venues continuously playing different acts over three nights and so many amazing bands unintentionally competing with each other. The only thing crazier than all the amazing bands you’ll see at Rifflandia is all the amazing bands you’ll miss at Rifflandia because they’re on at different locations at the same times. Luckily, when it comes to the acts playing during the day at Royal Athletic Park, the shows are staggered, so you never have to really miss anyone. There’s a tiny bit of overlap, but all you have to do is run across the park to catch the next act. And it’s a tiny park. A field, actually.
I started by catching Oliver Swain at the Victoria Public Market, a new venue for Rifflandia this year. I am not overly familiar with Swain’s music, but what I knew of it before I saw him, I liked. He and his band did not disappoint, delivering a very impassioned, folky performance. Swain, it seems, is a natural born performer and very visually emotive when he’s singing.
After Swain, it was time for Choir! Choir Choir! to perform, which sounded nice from what I heard of it from the back of the venue where I was investigating the local beer selection, a la local brewing company Phillips Brewing, one of the festival’s most prominent sponsors.
Then it was off to the Victoria Event Centre, hopefully in time to catch some of the Wild Romantics. Alas, I arrived only in time for the second half of their last song. Next up at that venue were the Shilohs and then the Paper Lions. I hadn’t heard of the Lions before, but I was very happy to have found myself in that venue at that time, because they were amazing! And that was Thursday.