Rifflandia 2016 kicked off in grand fashion with the introduction of the “Electric Avenue”. The Phillips Backyard, ANIAN and Capital Iron stages have been combined into one giant open license venue where you can walk between them with beer in hand. Thursday night, just the Phillips and ANIAN stages had performers scheduled as the Capital Iron tent was still being set up.

Kicking off the festival was Victoria hip hop group Illvis Freshly. They were joined by Caleb Hart for a few tracks before Hart had to start his own set just down the alley at ANIAN.

Illvis Freshly with Caleb Hart
Illvis Freshly with Caleb Hart at the Phillips Backyard
Illvis Freshly Rifflandia 2016 - Phillips Backyard
Illvis Freshly

The past few years ANIAN has been one of our favourite venues because of its intimate setting and painted brick backdrop. Thursday night though was a mixed bag. With no real capacity limit anymore it was too difficult to get a good photo vantage point for Caleb Hart. On the other hand, the fact the venue was packed for the Do250 contest winner’s performance shows Hart was the right choice to open the ANIAN stage. Lighting was also much lower than it has been in previous years adding another challenge for photographers.

Caleb Hart at ANIAN, Rifflandia 2016
Caleb Hart at ANIAN

Next up were The Good Guys, a collaboration of Victoria’s DJ Murge and rapper Ishkan. They were joined by Ashleigh Eymann. The hip hop talent from the Island these days is strong and crowd was eating it up.

The Good Guys at Phillips Backyard - Rifflandia 2016
Ishkan and DJ Murge are The Good Guys
Ashleigh Eymann with The Good Guys- Rifflandia 2016
Ashleigh Eymann with The Good Guys at the Phillips Backyard

Back at ANIAN Lovecoast had the audience dancing to the former Zone Band of The Month’s soulful pop rock.

Lovecoast at ANIAN - Rifflandia 2016
Lovecoast at ANIAN

Stepping away briefly from the “Electric Avenue” we headed down to Copper Owl for Victoria’s Spaceport Union. Visuals projected on screens in the venue blended nicely with the bands progressive art rock.

Spaceport Union at Copper Owl- Rifflandia 2016
Spaceport Union at Copper Owl
Spaceport Union at Copper Owl- Rifflandia 2016
Spaceport Union at Copper Owl

When attending or covering Rifflandia, difficult decisions must be made. You can’t see everything. This was the case being forced to leave Spaceport Union’s set early in order to get back to the Phillips Backyard for the evening’s headliner De La Soul.

De La Soul at Phillips Backyard- Riffflandia 2016
De La Soul’s Posdnuos high fives the photographers in the pit
De La Soul at Phillips Backyard- Rifflandia 2016
De La Soul’s Maseo at Phillips Backyard

We wanted to shoot video of De La Soul’s performance but getting a good vantage point when the crowd is that packed at the Phillips Brewery loading bay is next to impossible.

De La Soul at Phillips Backyard- Rifflandia 2016
The crowd at the Phillips Backyard for De La Soul shot from the sound board.

Heading downtown, Vancouver’s The Tourist Company performed the Victoria Event Centre.

The Tourist Company Victoria Event Centre- Rifflandia 2016
The Tourist Company at Victoria Event Centre

Our final stop of the night was down at Lucky Bar for Moontricks. A DJ and a banjo player? How could we not see what that was about.

Moontricks at Lucky Bar- Rifflandia 2016
Moontricks at Lucky Bar

Day 2 begins Friday at 3pm at Royal Athletic Park with night stages going till 1:30am. We’ll try to continue these quick recaps, but with the long days ahead it may or may not happen.