After a rocking weekend all around downtown Victoria, the ninth installment of Rifflandia wrapped up on Sunday with an eclectic collection of artists at Royal Athletic Park. Although it was nowhere near the population density we experienced with the capacity crowd for Saturday’s stacked lineup, a healthy throng of festival-goers managed to rally from three nights of partying to see things through to the finish line.
The early afternoon sunshine was a boon for a trio of Victoria acts – folk group Fallbrigade, nine-piece soul band Chance Lovett & The Broken Hearted, and crowd favourites Astrocolor. Alternatively known as Weird Party, the group unveiled a revamped electronic jazz fusion sound during their Rifftop Tent set, centred around new addition DJ Neil Cooke-Dallin of the group Righteous Rainbows of Togetherness.
Chicago-based folk rock veterans Fruit Bats brought their ramshackle brand of alt country to the main stage, while Toronto-based former art rock quartet The Darcys (downgraded to a duo by founding members Jason Couse and Wes Marskell at the end of 2014) showcased their reinvented danceable alt pop sound, earning consensus positive reviews from the crowd.
Renowned West Coast spoken word artist Shane Koyczan and his backing band The Short Story Long were moved to the main stage in a lineup shuffle resulting from the absence of Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires (who were sadly forced to withdraw from the festival due to some ongoing health concerns for Bradley), while 80s Detroit techno bass pioneers Aux 88 were a late addition to the Sunday Rifftop Tent lineup.
Stalwart Metchosin rocker Jesse Roper was upgraded into Bradley’s penultimate main stage timeslot and delivered his usual high energy performance in the midst of a surprise downpour.
The rain then subsided as quickly as it arrived, as fans flocked to the tent to check out a time-travelling performance from Oakland underground hip hop icon Del the Funky Homosapien, featuring Hieroglyphics alum Domino on the decks.
Celebrated Sub Pop indie rockers Wolf Parade, recently reunited after a 5-year hiatus, closed out the festival in fine fashion. The group had performed a couple small secret shows on Vancouver Island back in May under the pseudonym Del Scorcho, but they were back in a big way to perform for the masses on Sunday.