Victoria's Rifflandia Festival to take one-year hiatus
One of the Capital Region's most popular music festivals is taking a year off.
Organizers of the annual Rifflandia Festival say they decided to give the event a break because of various market challenges.
"I've said this before that obviously these are not easy decisions to make by any means, but they're the right decisions to make," said Nick Blasko, director of Atomique Productions, which puts on the event.
"For this one in particular, it's difficult in so far as this is an event that we've produced for 11 years in Victoria and it's been amazing. We've seen the event grow, we've seen the city grow, we've broken so much new ground."
It's the first time Rifflandia has been put on hiatus in its 11-year history.
Blasko said the festival industry is a challenging one, and that Rifflandia didn't even turn a profit until 2017 – 10 years after its inaugural event.
This year, signs did not point to a very successful festival, Blasko said.
"I think that it all starts with your artists and your line-ups and who you have access to and how much you're paying in talent fees," he said. "There seems to be a bit of a market correction going on around the province and around the country for that matter."
Atomique has already committed to dates for Rifflandia's comeback next year, scheduled for Sept. 17-20, 2020. Blasko said anyone who purchased early bird tickets for this year can either hold on to them for next year, or refund them at their point of purchase.
Last year, headliners of the festival included R&B artist Daniel Caesar and local indie rockers Current Swell.
Blasko has previously said the festival aims to support local artists, with nearly 75 per cent of acts in 2018 coming from British Columbia.
Atomique announced the cancellation of another major summer concert event, Rock The Shores, earlier this year.
The West Shore event was cancelled in 2017 but made a comeback in 2018 with headliner Brian Wilson.
Atomique said due to challenges with the festival market and availability of suitable talent, they were forced to cancel the festival yet again for 2019.
Other high-profile festivals on Vancouver Island have also taken time off due to market challenges.
Organizers of the Tall Tree Music Festival, which took place in Port Renfrew for eight years, said they would take 2018 off to regroup due to a low Canadian dollar and market over-saturation. There has been no word about the status of a possible 2019 edition of the festival.
It's not all bad news for music lovers on Vancouver Island. Atomique's other big summer event, Phillips Backyard Weekender, is still going ahead for July 26-28.
A line-up is expected to be announced Mon., June 3.