Much like a fruit salad- Rifflandia does an amazing job of perfectly curating the park atmosphere to a plethora of tastes. Whether you’re into hip hop, rock, indie, dance, blues, local . . . you name it, the park has it. That being said, it’s hard to say “who to see” at the park, because really you should see everyone! Fear not fruity festers, Rocktographers has a list of some recommendations for who not to miss in the park.

Need nighttime venue advice? Check our posts for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday!

Friday, 18th

The Dears

4:15PM – Main Stage

It’s been a long time since Victoria has seen these moody Montreal indie rockers. For a band that has been pumping out solid albums since the late 1990s, it almost seems strange to not see them on a dreary January night drowned in red light at Sugar Nightclub. Their orchestral, lovesick dark pop will reach a new audience with their performance early in the day at Royal Athletic Park. While their albums are mainstays in our homes, we’re interested to see how they are received by the festival crowd as opposed to an intimate setting like Alix Goolden Hall.


5:45PM – Main Stage

When Arkells was first announced to be playing Rifflandia this year, we secretly hoped that they’d be playing two sets; one at the park and their Motown Revival set somewhere else. That’s not happening, but we wouldn’t put it past them to sneak in a surprise or two during their set. Arkells are one of the nicest bands out there, and any time a fan gets to meet them, they make them feel like long lost friends. Get ready to dance and sing along to their set on The Zone’s main stage.


7:45PM – Main Stage

DANCE PARTY! DANCE PARTY! DANCE PARTY! Oh . . . and a smile that goes on for days. We’re serious, stick around just to see Dave 1 (aka David Macklovitch)’s smile. You know he’s having a blast up there and the energy he emits is infectious. Throw in some chrome (surprise!), some sexy keyboard stands (you’ll see), and some seriously danceabible hits — this Montreal electrofunk duo is sure to make you Chromeo your pants (Is that a verb? It is now – use it wisely!).

Saturday, 19th

Young Empires

1:00PM – Main Stage

While researching Young Empires, we found out that one of the founding members of the band, Jake Palahnuk, was in a great band called Turn Off The Stars. You might remember their mid 2000s single “Please.” Shortly after TOTS disbanded, Young Empires formed, and has been been a prominent fixture of the Toronto music scene ever since. The band is currently on a double header tour with Brave Shores, and we are stoked to see both bands finally reach the island.

Brave Shores

2:00PM – Main Stage

Since the first time we heard the lead single Never Come Down from this sibling duo, it’s been our summer jam. Every time it comes on the radio, it gets cranked way up and we let our hair whip around. Brave Shore’s entire debut EP is filled of electropop gems. This is one band that which sure to make waves on the main stage this year. We just hope our prayers of glorious hair come true before their set.

The Zolas

3:50PM – Rifftop Tent

On tour to support their album Swooner, the Zolas have seen massive mainstream radio success with their hit “Molotov Girls.” Their electro-infused sound will be the perfect complement to follow Brave Shores and keep the vibes going straight on ’til morning.


6:50PM – Rifftop Tent

This feisty firecracker from Calgary learned how to play guitar during her time in the Royal Canadian Navy. Now she’s here to wow us with her electropop sound and unique dance moves. What else can we add to the list of Kiesza’s accomplishments? Navy, dance legend, fashionista, designer, model – seriously Kiesza, settle down; you’re making the rest of us look bad!

Modest Mouse

7:45PM – Main Stage

It may seem odd to put one of the biggest headliners to grace the Rifflandia stage in a “Who to See” post – as surely they should be there. However, we once saw Modest Mouse perform at Sasquatch Music Festival in 2011; what turned out to be a weird halfway point in their career, as it had been 4 years since their last record, and they wouldn’t release another until 2015.

There was a girl standing behind me who wouldn’t stop yelling at the stage. You know the type. “What’s going on Modest Mouse, WHY are you so bad?” she screamed. She turned to her friend and proceeded to ramble on, “God, what are they doing? They’re just so awful. I used to love them. FUCK YOU MODEST MOUSE!” she yelled . . . at the guitar tech.

Modest Mouse had yet to take the stage and she was hiiiiiigh as a kite. So, a word to the wise, we know it’s Saturday night and no doubt you’re excited, but be nice to the guitar techs and, for the love of God, be sober enough to enjoy what is going to be a phenomenal show. Just drink when Isaac Brock drinks (he’ll stop in between songs to chat just to do this).

Sunday, 20th

Towers and Trees

2:30PM – Rifftop Tent

The day that they perform the Rifftop Tent will be two weeks minus a day until Towers and Trees‘ new album, West Coast, hits the street. But, that very day, you’ll be able to preorder it on iTunes in anticipation. And, if you didn’t back their recent album Kickstarter, definitely preorder. Rocktographers has heard the new album in its entirety (and caught much of it live as they tested it on audiences), and it’s going to be an excellent showcase of this concentrated collective of talent.

Jesse Roper

3:05PM – Main Stage

Jesse Roper seems to be on a mission to play as much as he possibly can this summer. Having played Rock The Shores, Otalith, The Saanich Fair, Butchart Gardens, Sunfest, the Khatsahlano Street Party, and Deer Lake Park this summer alone, it’s a miracle he can still stand. Jesse Roper is passionate about the music he makes and it’s clear he wants to share it with as many people as he can. Heck, that might be why he’s a finalist in the Peak Performance Project this year. All we know is when Rifflandia is done, Jesse deserves a nap until Christmas and a Lucky Lager or twelve.


4:15PM – Main Stage

Menno and his band of merry men return to Victoria with their high-energy music (sometimes with very deep messaging behind it) and their quirky tour rider. If you don’t know what a rider is, it’s a list of things a band would like backstage. Hollerado’s list generally includes clean socks and white underwear, a used book, and the loan of a dog, after which they promise to clean up.

Suffice it to say, whoever you see you’re sure to make some amazing musical discoveries. We can’t wait to see you there.