The lineup for Rifflandia, which celebrates its 10th year this week, is bigger and more diverse than ever, spanning country, rock, and electronic music. The shows run Thursday through Sunday at various Victoria venues. Photo contributed

Rifflandia bigger and better than ever, on its 10th birthday

Victoria’s four-day festival attracts artists new and returning to the West Coast

As Rifflandia gets set to throw Victoria’s party of the year, a lot has changed over 10 years, but the philosophy the festival was built on remains the same: keep it fun, energetic and colourful.

Alex Kerr, marketing manager for Atomique Productions, which is staging the four-day arts and music fest at venues across the city starting Thursday (Sept. 14), says Rifflandia stands apart for the fact its line-up doesn’t look like other festivals.

“We remain true to our B.C. roots,” he says, noting that 75 per cent of the artists appearing at the festival call B.C. home. “We try to bring in new and exciting acts, and to improve on it every year.”

Toronto’s Charlotte Day Wilson, is new to the bill this year. Kerr says the team was excited to book the up-and-coming singer-songwriter, one of 50 acts that are either female or female-led.

“We’re really working to close the gender gap that exists in festivals,” he says.

This year’s lineup offers the most diverse group of acts the event has seen to date. Performers are coming from as far as Slovakia, the UK and Australia, and Kerr says tickets have been purchased from up-Island all the way to San Francisco. “It’s exciting to see Rifflandia become more and more established.”

The festival’s famous re-branding strategy has given it a fresh look each year and this time out, the logo incorporates the themes of years gone by. Along those lines, such artists as A Tribe Called Red, Louise Burns, and Victoria’s own Labs are making a return to the Rifflandia stage.

“It’s not really a genre-based music festival,” Kerr explains. “We have country, singer-songwriter, rock and roll, indie, electronic, and that changes every single year.”

Two of this year’s headliners, Moby and Hot Chip, will both play DJ sets, which is a big deal because neither has played Victoria before.

Kerr says the vision in year one was to celebrate and foster the local music community, to give them an opportunity to play a larger festival. A decade later, the dream of childhood pals Nick Blasko and Dimitri Demers has grown into exactly that. Rifflandia has gained a reputation all over the country as the premier West Coast music festival, expanding each year into more venues, with more artists.

“We’ve really built off the major success of our festival last year,” Kerr says. “We’ve increased production as far as lighting and art installations go.”

And with the Rifflandia app, you can customize your schedule to hit up as much as you possibly can over the course of the weekend.

“It’s gonna be the best tool you can have for the festival,” Kerr says.

Rifflandia runs Sept. 14 to 17 in venues across the city; visit rifflandia.com for more details.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com