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Rifflandia shifts to one site, one weekend

The festival returns Sept. 15-17 at Matullia Holdings land in a multi-year agreement
Rifflandia Festival in 2022. (Laura Harvey)

Rifflandia will return with a markedly different set-up this year after the music and arts festival set attendance records in 2023.

The company has decided to move the festival to an all-ages, one-site, one-weekend model, taking place at the Matullia Lands at Rock Bay, September 13-15, 2024. The change comes after the festival had expanded in 2023 into six days over two separate weekends at two separate venues, in comparison to 2022’s comparably smaller festival which took place over four consecutive days.

“I look at this as a step forward. It’s a decision we weighed after two years of using the amazing lands at Rock Bay,” Rifflandia founder, president and CEO Nick Blasko told Black Press.

Last year’s festival was split into Electric Avenue which ran near Pembroke Street (Matullia Holdings land) followed the next weekend by The Park which ran at Royal Athletic Park, with 43,000 audience members collectively taking in concerts with big names like Iggy Pop, Diplo, Salt-N-Pepa, Herbie Hancock and others. This year’s festival will take place solely at Matullia Holdings land, at the North-west corner of Pembroke St. & Government St., and be billed as Rifflandia Festival.

The festival had already been shifting to include more time on the Matullia Holdings land, with the majority of its Electric Avenue programming taking place there in 2023.

Matullia Holdings said in a press release they welcome a multi-year agreement with Rifflandia Entertainment Co.

“Last year we decided to run the festival on the two weekends and really give these two sites a workout, if you will,” said Blasko. He said the feedback from audiences on their experience at Matullia Holdings land was resoundingly positive.

“Our choice after that was to really lean into that and that’s where we want to invest our energies in the future of the festival. I look at this as condensing everything great about Rifflandia into one weekend so it’s an easier decision and choice and planning matrix for everyone and our audience members,” Blasko said.

The change comes after organizers expanded the event last year to accommodate growing numbers following a four-year hiatus prior to 2022.

Since its revival in 2022, Rifflandia has provided a high-level festival experience that has boosted the cultural landscape and economy of Victoria. In its return this year, the organizers said that attendees can anticipate another exceptional event, characterized by top-notch production and amenities complementing another diverse, top-tier lineup of talent (to be revealed). Blasko said they are still determining the number of stages, but in the past, they have run 4-7 and they plan to maintain the same level of programming per day.

“We are honoured to work alongside the team at Matullia to bring this new vision and multi-year plan to life. For the past 17 years, Rifflandia has served a diverse and creative music-forward community, and throughout that time we have always maintained a spirit of reinvention. Innovation is what drives us as we continue to present the best live music experiences in Victoria,” Blasko said in the press release.

Considering its extensive history at Royal Athletic Park, Rifflandia organizers recognized the importance of the strong bond it has forged with the City of Victoria.

Lineup and ticket information for the all-ages festival will be announced later in the year.

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Sam Duerksen

About the Author: Sam Duerksen

Since moving to Victoria from Winnipeg in 2020, I’ve worked in communications for non-profits and arts organizations.
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