Rifflandia 2011: Into the wide open spaces

Royal Athletic Park will be set up for 7,000 concertgoers

Rifflandia organizer Nick Blasko’s promotions career started with postering telephone poles like this one outside Market Square. Rifflandia music festival runs Sept. 22 to 25 at Royal Athletic Park and several night venues.

Without a proper roll of packing tape, Nick Blasko is hesitant to affix a Rifflandia poster to the clutter of ads adorning the base of a Johnson Street lamppost.

Long before Blasko was a lead organizer with Atomique Productions, which is staging the Rifflandia music festival Sept. 22 to 25 in Victoria, he was taping posters on the streets of Victoria.

“That’s where it started.”

Today he’s still that guy, though he admits poster duties are now in the capable hands of the next generation.

The full-colour, 108-page guide for Rifflandia 2011 is, however, a magazine of previews and features clearly influenced by the art and design seen in street posters.

It’s the magazine of choice in coffee shops and waiting areas downtown these days and is the fruit of a deadline met with “non-stop over-nighters,” Blasko said.

“We lived with the production of the guide for so long – you just pray you don’t have a typo on the front page.”

The guide is also full of even more big-name acts. Rifflandia has moved its main venue outside and has sold nearly double last year’s 3,250 passes. “This year is all about the day festival at Royal Athletic Park,” Blasko said. “We’ve focused heavily on making it a full day’s affair. No one should be bored or want to leave early, there’ll be so much to do.”

In only its fourth year, Rifflandia is beginning to be mentioned as one of the premier music festivals in the Pacific Northwest.

RAP will handle up to 7,000 people daily. Combined with nighttime venues, overall ticket sales could surpass 10,000.

Seven venues will host four shows nightly beginning at 8:30 p.m., around the time RAP headliners Broken Social Scene (Friday), City and Colour (Saturday) and De La Soul (Sunday) wrap things up.

To accommodate both day and nighttime concertgoers, Rifflandia offers alternatives for festival admission. Instead of forcing patrons hopping from one bar to the next to purchase an all-events wristband, Atomique has “sliced and diced” the options into park passes and night passes.

The one-for-all, super pass to the park and night stages is still the prime ticket at $165. However, a single-day pass to RAP is $75, while a night-stage only pass for the weekend is $55.

Blasko hopes the change will eliminate the criticism of years past – that venues for particular acts filled up and left concert-hopping fans on the street.

“We’ve capped things at a reasonable level so there shouldn’t be so much downward pressure on the night passes,” he said.

RAP’s main stage will feature five acts per day and five more running simultaneous on a side stage. The park will also host a cinema tent, Artlandia exhibit tent and a Phillips Brewery beer garden.

Night venues are Phillips Brewery, Club 9one9, Sugar nightclub, Victoria Event Centre, Lucky Bar, Metro Theatre and the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Alix Goolden and Wood halls.

For tickets or more information visit www.2011.rifflandia.com.


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