As I look over my collection of Rifflandia 5 mementos, I find it hard to believe that over a week has passed since headliners Mother Mother took the stage to close out the festival at Victoria's Royal Athletic Park. Their blazing set of new songs and old favorites left the crowd wanting more, but sooner or later it all had to come to an end. By now the park is completely clean and all the building materials have been stored away in a warehouse for next year. The bands and their crews have moved on to other cities and the mobile stage they played on is likely already set up for its next gig somewhere on the mainland.
Rifflandia 5 is now in the history books.
Based on what I've read and heard, the festival was a success. People in Victoria are still talking about it a week later and new photos continue to appear on Facebook and on the Rifflandia website.
I still feel very honoured to have had a role in making sure the festival ran smoothly and I had a fantastic team of staff and volunteers to work with. It didn't matter what the task at hand was, everyone I worked with all jumped into it with a genuine, positive, and helpful energy that really helped to make everything come together nicely. I can't say enough good things about the staff and volunteers.
It goes without saying that anyone who attended, or worked at, this year's festival has a long list of awesome memories and will have stories to tell for a long time to come. I'm no exception. I could write about SO many things, but I know that the generation we live in has a short attention span and I don't want you to get bored.
Instead, I'm going to quickly rattle off a few of my favorite memories and some well deserved shout outs in point form and pop in a couple of photos. Short, sweet, and to the point. Here we go:
- I'm so grateful to the producers that as part of my payment for working at the festival I was given an extra wristband for my wife Megan so that she could come enjoy some of her favorite bands and keep me company as I went about my work. Megan also thanks you.
- I got to go for a short ride in Sloan's tour bus. It was just around the neighborhood as I helped the driver find a place to park the giant bus, but it was still pretty cool. I would have taken a picture but something told me not to. Perhaps it was the friendly tap on the shoulder from the menacing looking body guard.
- I really love being present when a band is doing their sound check in the morning. It's fun for me to watch the bands work out any kinks in the sound system. A lot of times I'll hear a loose rendition of one of their hits or they'll do a cover song. Cake covered Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On". Yes, you just read that. I was there.
Mother Mother's sound check was also fun to watch. "That would sound better if our voices were awake!"
- In exchange for helping the Main Street merchants and food vendors with anything from changing light bulbs to hanging signs, I was given a lot of free drinks, snacks, and swag. Not a bad deal!
- I loved that we had golf carts to drive around the park before and after the shows. They made moving materials from one end to the other so much easier - and they're just fun to drive!
- Shout outs to all the awesome food vendors. I tried to sample something from everyone, but I know I missed a few. All the ones I did try had excellent food!
- A big part of my job involved working with each band's road crews. From load in and set up to strike and load out, it was an absolute pleasure to work with every one of them. Many of them had no problem sharing their knowledge and experience and I learned a LOT! So did the volunteer stage hands that worked with us!
- I'd really like to give a big shout out to every one of my friends at The Zone radio station. Many of the staff members I've known for some time now from previous events or through Social Media interactions and it was so great to finally meet the rest of the crew. Boss Man Johnny, if you get to read this, you have an amazing, friendly, and approachable staff that have become such a part of this city that if The Zone wasn't here, CERN could come to Victoria to study the black hole left in its absence!
- Finally, it goes without saying that my best memories come from working backstage after the park was closed each evening and having access to the Artist Lounge and Green Room. Many of the day's performers would still be mingling about signing autographs or posing for pictures or just idly chatting with anyone lucky enough to be there. Although I kept my cool, believe me, it was hard not to get star stuck - especially when engaged in casual conversation with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips!
Wayne Coyne autographs the Zone's "Star Guitar", which will later be auctioned off for charity. Photo by me.
Yours truly with the "Star Guitar" just moments after it was signed by Wayne. Photo credit: Webmeister Bud of The Zone.
All in all, my time at Rifflandia 5 will stand out as the biggest highlight of my summer. The producers have told me they'll keep me in mind to help out at future events, including Rifflandia 6 next summer, and I can't wait. It's sad that festival season is winding down for the year. I'm going to have to find myself a part time job to get myself through the winter, but I'm clearing my schedule for next summer.
To all the young volunteers out there that helped us present the biggest festival of the year, thank you for all your hard work. Keep it up and maybe you'll get noticed like I did and get yourselves put on the payroll. Who knows? Maybe next year you'll be hanging out with rock stars backstage at Rifflandia Six!
I hope to see you there!
The Wandering Oak