Sunday, September 14, 2014

Experiential Living - Rifflandia2014

A line-up of the line-up
Gillian Cornwall c. September 2014

Sight. Hearing. Taste. Smell. Touch.

There seem to be few common activities left in this world that allow us to meet people face-to-face to share a common sensory experience and, frankly, I had forgotten that musical events - concerts and festivals, are one of the possibilities. Definitely, local markets are right up there too.

Since Friday afternoon, I have been spending most of my waking hours at Rifflandia, a Victoria, multi-venue festival of live music, ideas and arts, spanning the genres from dub step to folk to stand-up comedy. I have seen people playing everything from the saw to electronic equipment - the equipment/instrument names are not within my vocabulary. I have met people young and old who are there for the love of music and waded through a quagmire of those who are there to be seen and - good on them, I say, if they have accomplished their objectives for their personal experience. I have crossed paths with great kindness and generosity and only one or two acts of selfish entitlement.

I started out this weekend's adventure as an entirely astonished, delighted and grateful winner of two VIP passes to Rifflandia which begins on a Thursday evening and finishes on a Sunday evening. Huge thanks and appreciation to Shaw TV South Vancouver Island for this astonishing and generous prize! 

From a quick scan of the beautifully designed festival book, there are around 150 acts from which to choose. Initially, I was frozen by choice - until some extremely well-versed festival attendees and friends guided me with their various experiential methodologies:
  1. Just walk in and out of places and be present for what you hear
  2. Listen, in advance, to what you think you may want to see and hear based on genre by watching YouTube videos and SoundCloud bites in advance. 
  3. You have to see (fill in blank)!

I used an assortment of the above and my experience has been incredible so far (I still need to get back out there for my final day). I am truly pleased that I had already booked Monday as a day off before winning this prize as I may need the day to recover.

Within the first evening (5 hours), I had seen six acts. Saturday started at noon with Choir  Choir Choir and Choir (honestly) and finished with Sam Weber with nine other acts in between. I will give a full list with links at the end of this post but I want to focus on the inter-connectivity of the experience for now. As I was saying, it seems to me that we don't often see people out together talking, laughing, eating and looking into each other's eyes or completely engaged in something live and filled with possibility. Most of the time, I see people plugged into devices; insulated within their technology using only eyes and ears with an inward focus.

I have been so impressed with everyone out at this event. They are considerate, kind, engaged and communicative. Faith restored! Sure, there are those that drink too much and act out in ways that are not well-considered but, on the whole, most people I saw were there to absorb and share experience, to be moved by musical Sheherazades - keeping us engaged with stories though the nights and days until we fall in love with them for who they are, the lives they have lived and the stories they tell through the passion and soul of their songs.

This festival has reminded me to live more, experience more and to share more with those around me - to not be afraid to speak to that person on the street or even to share a smile or a story. It's okay; we are one and from the collective energy we have arisen and to it we return. Do not fear, rather engage - watch, listen, dance with someone, taste and smell the wonderful foods at events such as Rifflandia. Everyone is there to share something with you and sharing one's passion, one's heart, well, that's love. Enjoy.

Here is a list of the acts I have seen so far and who I intend to see today, some of the food and drink available and the wonderful folks who gave me the prize of VIP passes. Thank you to each and every one of you. If I haven't mentioned someone - please let me know and I will add you in.


Artists (shows I attended):

Airborne Toxic Event
Choir Choir Choir and the Choir
Dear Rouge
Death Cab for Cutie
Dum Dum Girls
Girl Talk
Half Moon Run
Horse Feathers
Ivan and Aloysha
Keys N Krates
Lightning Dust
Lola Parks
Mozart's Sister (my favourite act of the entire festival)
New Pornographers
Sam Weber
Serena Ryder
Son Real
Vic High R&B Band
Wild Romantics

Food and Drink (that I have enjoyed):

Habit Coffee
Phillip's Brewery
Prima Strada Pizzeria
Tinhorn Creek Winery
Wanna Waffle

My Winning Ticket Provider (With special thanks to Meghan, Kim and Karen):

Shaw TV South Vancouver Island

Photos from the festival...more later
I have to get back to the park!

A very special thank you to the volunteer who took time in the middle of her busy evening on Friday to find a folding chair for me in the VIP tent when I explained about my back injury. Your kindness made my night as much or more than seeing Serena Ryder! 
Rifflandia volunteers are amazing!

-Gillian Cornwall, c. September 14, 2014

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