#festivalseason - What's new, what's hot, what's good - what's up Rifflandia?

What’s new, what’s hot, what’s good – what’s up Rifflandia?

To nobody’s surprise, September has returned for another session of messing with our heads and our hearts. September – with its warm, almost hot, days; the deceivingly cold nights; plus the inevitable burden of carrying a sweater with you at all times yet never really needing it for more than five minutes. Thankfully, here in Victoria we have a way of dealing with the month that nobody seems to want. In fact, there’s a little phrase around town that you may have heard before – September Forever.

Yes, September means something entirely different in Victoria. It means Rifflandia is upon us! I’m not going to go into detail about what it’s all about because if you’re from the island you already know, and for those that don’t…well, that’s why Al Gore invented the internet.

I will however get into what there is to look forward to this year! Rifflandia is forever evolving, and there are some exciting changes that take place every festival, so it can sometimes be a challenge to keep up. But don’t worry – I know a good time when I see it, and Riff is always good for that.

Obviously the music is usually the number one priority at a music festival, and although the general theme of Rifflandia shifts a bit every year (for example, hip – hop was heavily featured a couple years ago), there’s still a ton of listening pleasure for everyone, no matter what you enjoy. The eleventh edition of Rifflandia definitely boasts a large electronic presence, and with Electric Avenue becoming more and more popular with every passing year, there’s going to be a lot of action at the Ave this weekend.

While the harm reduction movement has broken ground in many festivals we attend around the country, there are still many non camping festivals that have yet to make the transition. Thankfully, Rifflandia isn’t one of them. Harm Reduction will be provided on site at both the Royal Athletic Park and Electric Ave by a well trained staff from WILD Collective Harm Reduction Services, BCCSU, and our good friends at Karmik – BC’s leading harm reduction team. Karmik will be setting up a drug testing booth at RAP during the day, while others will provide outreach and a harm reduction tent at Electric Ave. Locate them at either venue for info, supplies, education, support, or if you just need a safe spot to chill!

It should go without saying that everyone deserves to party in peace, but unfortunately there are still people out there that don’t understand that concept. Rifflandia is going above and beyond to provide a safe space throughout the entire festival and encourages anyone who witnesses any disruptive or inappropriate behavior to report it immediately, either by reporting it to staff or security or emailing incidents@atomiqueproductions.com. We all deserve the best, so let’s take it upon ourselves to provide the best.

Rifflandia always hits the mark with their selection of artists, and with more than 160 live acts performing over the course of 4 days, there are sure to be some names you know, some you don’t, and it’s inevitable you’ll discover a few new favourites. Take the time to listen to some unknown artists on the app, or check out the list below for my favourites over the weekend!

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5 Questions with Rags #59 - Jennay Badger

Earlier this year a friend sent me a message that said “Check out this new, dope Neon Steve mix.” I put it on and it was decidedly awesome. But something didn't sound right. Turns out the fantastical futurefunkydisco mix was the work of one Jennay Badger, the release of her set from the first instalment of the quarterly party “Neon Steve & Friends.” A glaring example of my surprising musical ignorance, I've come to find out that Badger is a fixture in the Vancouver Island bass scene. Her masterful Djing skills have kept her appearing all over the place to deliver her tasty, funky delights and her even more masterful (?) dancing abilities led her to founding INFLUX Dance Troupe, the finest of dance troupes I've come across. “I created Influx after I had tried out for a couple of different dance troupes. I was, reading in between the lines, being called overweight. That really hurt me, really hit home. I decided that that wasn't going to stop me,” says Badger of the formation of my favourite dance crew. “I don't believe that a person's weight really identifies how strong of a dancer they are. I didn't want to sit there and do nothing about it. Jamie Gib and I got to talking, he's also on the bigger spectrum himself and tried dancing with a bunch of different groups himself. I've also noticed that almost no groups at all have taken on any men full time. We got to talking and while Influx started as my vision, Jamie helped me bring it to life.” Influx is the next step in the natural evolution of Badger's ever-growing prominence in the West Coast bass community. With that in mind I decided to eschew our traditional opening question and to just jump right into the heavy stuff.

1. If you could only choose Djing or dancing for the rest of your life, which would you hang onto?

Fuck you. <laughs> Some people might say, “First and foremost, you're a DJ,” but that's just because they don't know my dancing background. I've been dancing ever since I was a child. My mom used to take me to music festivals when I was literally 2 years old. She used to drive me all across Canada in a school bus that she made into a kitchen. So, it was a kitchen, my bedroom and my home, all in one. We did that until I was about 6. I'd go missing and I'd sneak up onto the stage and she'd turn around and I'd be up there. I remember one time I was about 6, I was up there with some big black Louisiana woman and her band. They were holding me in their arms while they were performing. So, I've always been into dancing. I couldn't afford to do dance class, but there was dance teacher in Campbell River who saw that I was really good at dancing, so she offered to have me come to the studio and do hip-hop classes every Sunday for free, which was fucking amazing. I'm super grateful for that.

Around 2007, my mom actually took me to my first rave, in Cowichan. My mom and my uncle lived on this property in Cowichan Bay. It was near a place called The Barn, it was really well-known in the scene here. That's where I started going when I was 11. My mom would keep an eye on me. I had to be home and in bed by 10, but my mom brought me because I loved dancing so much. I was just going for the dancing and eventually, when I was around 14 or 15, I started Djing. I was just around it all the time. I love Djing so much, but I love dancing so much. Through Djing, I get to express my more masculine side. I feel like I'm The Man up there. Dancing brings out a little more femininity in me. I don't love either Djing or dancing more than the other, they're both one for me.

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5 Questions with Rags #32 - Neon Steve

I’ve written about Neon Steve extensively over the last couple of years (Basically, since my first Shambhala – an inspiration we share) because the guy just keeps hitting home runs. In a world of clones, ol’ Neon Steve has carved out his own unique place in the thriving West Coast electronic scene. His taste is impeccable, his scratching ability is evident and his production is top-notch. While dude can rock the party like few can, it’s not all balls-to-the-wall action. His Pleasensations mixes are goldmines of groovy relaxitude that work chilling in the bath, getting through a shift at work or getting down in the sheets with whoever you’re into that with. (Try other activities while listening to these mixes and come up with your own winning combination!) I’ve been hoping to get my fellow Victoria on here for awhile and I caught up with him during some rare downtime to talk about the terror of space travel, getting inspired in Fractal Forest and one of the best places to play on Vancouver Island. (Hint: It’s the Waverley, in Cumberland.)

And, for your listening pleasure, as chosen by the man himself, the first of two Neon Steve essentials.


1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

Yeah, I do. It was Eminem’s album, one of the first ones, Slimy Shady LP. I tricked my parents into buying it on their Columbia House account. They found out what it was after they gave it to me and took it away.

Did you ever get it back?

No, I don’t think so. I was super young at the time so it was a no-go.

Do you still ever listen to anything off that record?

No, definitely not. <laugh>

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