Night one of Rifflandia 2016 kicked off in style, with bands, DJs and rappers stepping to the stage at seven of the weekend’s downtown night stages, including the Victoria Event Centre, Lucky Bar, Wolf/Sheep, Copper Owl and Studio CMCT at the Mint.

Festival-goers also had their first opportunity to experience a taste of Electric Avenue, a new wrinkle to the Rifflandia night stage experience, which was announced by festival organizers just last week. Categorized as a “Super Venue”, Electric Avenue features three stages – Phillips Backyard, the ANIÁN Yard and Capital Iron. Combined, they create the largest, most powerful night venue Rifflandia has ever produced, with a capacity of up to 6,500. The festival has blocked off Discovery Street between Government and Store, fashioning a hip street festival vibe complete with decorative lighting and multiple options for food and beverages.

While the Capital Iron stage will be open Friday and Saturday to showcase a plethora of electronic acts, both Phillips Backyard and ANIÁN were in full swing Thursday. Early highlights included performances by local hip hoppers Illvis Freshly at Phillips, along with Do250 #RoadtoRiff contest winner Caleb Hart, who brought some mad Caribbean island flavour to ANIÁN.

 

Illvis Freshly - Photo by Kirsten JamesIllvis Freshly – Photo by Kirsten James

Illvi's Freshly - Photo by Tyson Elder

Illvi’s Freshly – Photo by Tyson Elder

Caleb Hart - Photo by Tyson Elder

Caleb Hart – Photo by Tyson Elder

Caleb Hart - Photo by Kirsten James

Caleb Hart – Photo by Kirsten James

Over at the Victoria Event Centre, Andrew Judah and Goodwood Atoms both had the crowd rapt with attention.

Andrew Judah - Photo by Lindsey Blane

Andrew Judah – Photo by Lindsey Blane

Goodwood Atoms - Photo by Lindsey Blane

Goodwood Atoms – Photo by Lindsey Blane

Later on, back at Electric Avenue, Vancouver’s Lovecoast and Swedish trio Baskery thrilled fans at ANIÁN, while one half of The Beatnuts, Psycho Les (Junkyard JuJu apparently ran into a travel SNAFU), got an assist from local turntablist DJ Murge, as they warmed up the crowd for the evening’s headliners, De La Soul, who gave a pro-level, classic performance.

Lovecoast - photo by webmeister Bud

Lovecoast – photo by webmeister Bud

Danielle from Lovecoast - Photo by Tyson Elder

Danielle from Lovecoast – Photo by Tyson Elder

Baskery - Photo by Tyson ElderBaskery – Photo by Tyson Elder

Photo by Kirsten James

Photo by Kirsten James

Beatnuts - Photo by Kirsten JamesBeatnuts – Photo by Kirsten James

De La Soul - Photo by Tyson Elder

De La Soul – Photo by Tyson Elder

De La Soul - Photo by Kirsten James

De La Soul – Photo by Kirsten James

De La Soul - Photo by Lindsey Blane

De La Soul – Photo by Lindsey Blane

With that, consider your 2016 Rifflandia officially kicked off. We’ll see you at Royal Athletic Park for day two this afternoon.