Rifflandia leaves Royal Athletic Park, signs multi-year deal in Rock Bay

Rifflandia/Jordon Chatten Photography
Rifflandia is pictured in 2023

One of the most popular music festivals on Vancouver Island is shaking up its longstanding business model with a new, single-site venue plan.

Rifflandia will only take place at one location over a single weekend in 2024, a departure from its usual multi-venue format, which included a large presence at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

This year, the festival will only take place on the Matullia Lands at Rock Bay, which Rifflandia calls “Electric Avenue.”

Organizers say the shift to a single venue over a single weekend will help the festival sustain itself, and grow in the future.

Years of updates

Rifflandia has been running since 2008, and most recently, in 2023, the festival was a two-weekend event, with one weekend featuring shows at Royal Athletic Park, and the other weekend taking place at Electric Avenue.

Headliners last year included Iggy Pop, Run the Jewels and Paris Hilton, with each venue catering to different tastes.

There’s no word yet on who the headliners will be this year, but Rifflandia has announced performance dates.

Rifflandia Festival 2024 will run at Electric Avenue from Sept. 13 to 15.

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Rifflandia is pictured in 2022. (Rifflandia/Laura Harvey)

Indigenous connection

The Electric Avenue venue is located on Matullia Holdings land in Rock Bay. In 2022, the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations, through the joint company of Matullia Holdings, purchased the waterfront land from BC Hydro, after decades of planning and discussions.

At the time, Songhees Chief Ron Sam told CHEK News that he believed the Rock Bay property was “one of the last blank pieces of canvas in the Victoria harbour.”

On Wednesday, Rifflandia said it was excited for the future, but appreciated the deep roots the festival had with Victoria and Royal Athletic Park.

“We are honoured to work alongside the team at Matullia to bring this new vision and multi-year plan to life,” said Nick Blasko, president and CEO of Rifflandia Entertainment Co. in a statement.

“For the past 17 years, Rifflandia has served a diverse and creative music-forward community, and throughout that time we have always maintained a spirit of reinvention. Innovation is what drives us as we continue to present the best live music experiences in Victoria,” he said.

RELATED: Rifflandia Festival launches on-site cannabis delivery ‘Splifflandia’ as alcohol sales wane

With files from CHEK’s April Lawrence

Adam Chan

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