Goodbye Electric Avenue, hello The Park!
Rifflandia’s first ever second weekend kicked off with a bang on Friday, September 15th by featuring most of the festival’s punk rock or punk-adjacent bands.
But before we talk about the bands, let’s talk about The Park’s setup at Royal Athletic Park.
There are around a dozen food trucks and carts where you can grab a bite to eat, an ample amount of porta potties and places to use a bathroom, eight unique vendors, two spots to grab a haircut and two local radio stations to meet your favourite radio hosts, Virgin and The Zone @ 91-3.
One of the unique vendors is tiny flwrs, a local florist that grows their own wares and has created flower tiaras and cute little bouquets.
Another is the Aunty Collective, who are selling Indigenous-made earrings and jewellery as a way to create educational spaces and to provide financial support to Indigenous youth through their sales.
The side stage kicked the weekend off with a beautiful set of acapella covers, sung by nearly 100 people who aren’t necessarily classically trained, but have an affinity for singing.
They sang Dua Lipa’s Levetating, Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a PLace on Earth, a deep cut or The Beth’s Expert in a Dying Field and more.
The group will be the first act up for the next two days of The Park’s acts as well, so be sure to catch them on days two and three of this weekend.
The Poor Choices took to the main stage first.
They are a three-piece ‘riot grrl’ band from right here in Victoria who have been active for around 10 years now and they did not disappoint.
The Poor Choices were the perfect band to kick off a day of primarily punk rock acts and it was nice to see a local outfit have the opportunity to warm up the main stage for acts like Sports Team, Marc Rebillet and Iggy Pop.
U.S. Girls were next up on the side stage and their indie pop vibe was welcomed by all Rifflandians. They are a juggernaut of the Canadian music scene as a whole and they did not disappoint.
When they took to the stage however, the sun was at its brightest and beaming straight at them.
Meghan Remy, their lead singer and the driving force behind U.S. Girls didn’t have sunglasses until a crowd member passed her dollar store sunnies to a photographer who then passed them along to Remy.
Until she had the sunglasses she resorted to wearing a towel over her head which she would keep on for the bulk of their set.
One mishap occurred during their set. The sound cut out for nearly an entire song, so when the sound returned, Remy was visibly upset and opted to play the song again stating that the song the sound cut out for was her favourite.
Sports Team, a post-punk band from the UK took to the main stage next.
They played the hits and brought the brit-punk energy from their homeland into Victoria’s favourite music festival.
They came to Victoria in 2022 and easily sold out Wicket Hall in their first Canadian tour ever and prior to them coming back, lead singer Alex Rice told Victoria Buzz they had one of their best times in Victoria on their first North American tour and they were truly excited to be able to come back and play in a festival environment.
The kings of thrash were next on the side stage and for the crust-punks of Victoria, this was all they wanted to see.
The original members are a bit older now but still were able to command the stage in the same way they always have.
Suicidal Tendencies also has a few new young-gun players whe fit right in and were able to match the energy of the band they had joined.
A mosh pit opened up for the entirety of their set and had some hardore punks bleeding and losing their hats and shoes, but for the most part, it was a welcoming and wholesome pit.
At the end of their set, they brought dozens of thrash-punks up on stage as well as a handful of young kids who were likely at their first punk show ever.
After Suicidal Tendencies, Marc Rebillet gave Rifflandians a show they won’t soon forget.
He came out clad in a custom Rifflandia housecoat and later the crowd would find out he also had a custom pair of boxer shorts made with “Rebillet” printed on the butt and the Riff logo complete with two cherries on the front.
For those who aren’t familiar with Rebillet, he improvises his entire set and commands the stage and audience with the energy of an unhinged psychopath.
He stage dove with a bottle of champagne, had a few womens underwear thrown at him and proceeded to wear them all for the remainder of his set, he frequently ran out to the crowd to get inspiration for the songs he was creating and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
He also had the whole crowd wish 10-year-old Evangeline a happy birthday after accidentally scaring her while he stage dove, but refused to continue the show until she was okay.
Comedy at the festival was back once again in a HarbourCats change room that was transformed into Lafflandia’s custom comedy club which could seat 60 to 70 people.
Local comedians such as Emily Woods and Dan Duvall were up as well as touring headliners for four, 20 minute sets throughout the day.
Sterling Scott was the night’s big comedy headliner and he had the crowd in stitches after performing a 30 minute set of his best material and some crowdwork.
Two Feet was last up on the side stage.
They were poppy with a huge dose of rock influence and had an impressive light show to accompany their set.
The wailing solos coming from Two Feet’s guitarist could likely be heard across Victoria.
And then there was the man, the myth,, the legend… Iggy Pop.
A forefather of anything punk rock related, music as we know it would be completely different without his contributions to it.
He played all the hits including some Stooges songs and he was still running across the stage topless like he was 20-years-old, regardless of the fact he is now older than some people’s grandparents at 76-years-old.
When he played I Wanna be your Dog, the crowd went absolutely bonkers and the day’s second mosh pit opened for a short time in the Rifflandia crowd.
That’s day one of three down at The Park and there are still plenty of tickets left for both days.
Saturday will see acts like Chet Faker, Mavis Staples and Salt-N-Pepa take the stage, while Sunday has Herbie Hancock, Melanie C, Stephen Marley and KALEO.
Get tickets online here!