Rifflandia Festival Photos: Death Cab for Cutie

September 15th, 2014 @ 9:40pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Rifflandia Festival took over bars, clubs, public spaces, and Royal Athletic Park in Victoria last weekend as dozens of acts like Girl Talk, Serena Ryder, Dragonette, The Skatalites, Dear Rouge, Head of the Herd, Jon and Roy, The Airborne Toxic Event, We Hunt Buffalo, and Death Cab for Cutie entertained audiences of all ages.

Rifflandia 2014
Photo credit: John Bollwitt for Miss604.com

On Saturday, September 13th, Seattle-based Death Cab for Cutie took to the main stage at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria to play their very last show together, with all original members. Co-founder and guitarist Chris Walla announced his departure from the band earlier this summer and this was his final performance. As long time fans of the band, John and I were very excited to cover this momentous event.

Rifflandia 2014
Photo credit: John Bollwitt for Miss604.com

Music has always been an important part of our relationship and, way back when, Death Cab for Cutie’s Transatlanticism was the first album that John gave me when we first met. We’ve enjoyed their entire catalogue over the years and even played some of their songs at our wedding in 2006. Following their career and their music over the years, including their last album Codes and Keys which was recorded at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, it was important to us to make it to this show at Rifflandia — and it was even more magical than we could ever have imagined.

Death Cab for Cutie at Rifflandia

Knowing that it was Walla’s last show already made the performance in Victoria special, and I saw many on Twitter share that this was a “bucket list” concert for them. The fact that a meteor streaked across the night sky during their set was incredible to believe, making the send-off entirely unique.

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Chris Walla. Photo credit: John Bollwitt for Miss604.com

Rifflandia 2014

The band came out playing “I Will Possess Your Heart” followed by “Crooked Teeth”. We spent the first two songs in the photo pit madly attempting to document the scene as vocalist Ben Gibbard took to the keyboard and bassist Nick Harmer bounced around in front of Jason McGerr on the drums. Walla was the focus for John, over on the right side of the stage.

Rifflandia 2014

Death Cab for Cutie at Rifflandia Death Cab for Cutie at Rifflandia

Rifflandia 2014
Photo credit: John Bollwitt for Miss604.com

“We Laugh Indoors” and “Photobooth” followed before Ben Gibbard told to the crowd that it had been 13 years since their last show in Victoria: “We’ll be playing a lot of old tunes tonight,” he announced as the band continued with “Title and Registration”, “Doors Unlocked and Open”, and “Long Division” during which the meteor passed by overhead.

“Grapevine Fires” had the crowd swooning, holding up lighters and glowing phones, as did “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”, which was once voted as one of the most beautiful songs of all time.

Death Cab for Cutie at Rifflandia

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“Title Track” off of the band’s We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes from 2000 was a nice throwback, “New Year” got the crowd jumping again, as did “Cath”, and “Soul Meets Body” before they left the stage.

Rifflandia 2014
Ben Gibbard. Photo credit: John Bollwitt for Miss604.com

Craving more, the audience made their request for an encore known. The group returned to the stage for “Movie Script Ending”, which was followed by the very last song with Chris Walla — an up tempo version of “Marching Bands of Manhattan”. A bittersweet ending to a bittersweet moment in time.

The end of the set was capped off with a full band group hug on stage as thousands bid farewell and best of luck to Chris Walla. Death Cab will live on however, having just recorded a new album that will be released in early 2015.

All photos (except for a few of mine) in this post are by John Bollwitt for Miss604.com. View John’s photos on Flickr. Read more festival coverage »

Rifflandia Festival Photos: The Airborne Toxic Event And More

September 15th, 2014 @ 9:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Rifflandia Festival took over bars, clubs, public spaces, and Royal Athletic Park in Victoria last weekend as dozens of acts like Girl Talk, Serena Ryder, Dragonette, The Skatalites, Dear Rouge, Head of the Herd, Jon and Roy, The Airborne Toxic Event, We Hunt Buffalo, and Death Cab for Cutie entertained audiences of all ages.

Rifflandia 2014
Photo credit: John Bollwitt for Miss604.com

John and are I no strangers to music festivals, as we cover half a dozen every year — from Austin, Texas to Pemberton, BC — and have attended four within the last three months alone. This was our very first time at Rifflandia, after hearing great things in the past about this festival that has been around since 2008, and we immediately saw what all the fuss was about. We were told there would be food, fun, families, craft beer, multiple stages, arts and crafts, and more — and it was all true. From a half-pipe skateboard ramp and kids play area, to Phillips Brewing’s tap truck and open concept beer garden, it was a delightful experience.

Rifflandia 2014

Rifflandia 2014

Rifflandia 2014
Photo credit: John Bollwitt for Miss604.com

The audience was comprised of families, students, and young couples like us who either setup picnic blankets, danced under the tent of the Rifftop Tent Stage, or clapped along with their favourite bands at the main stage. It was a very chill, very positive atmosphere, with smiles all around and unique vendor tents — like a barber shop or TEDx Victoria conversation lounge.

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Rifflandia 2014

Rifflandia 2014
Photo credit: John Bollwitt for Miss604.com

By my estimates the venue was much smaller than Holland Park in Surrey, where we have covered the Fusion Festival for several years. John compared it to the Brockton Oval in Stanley Park, giving it a very intimate festival feel — and the music sounded great.

The Airborne Toxic Event

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Photo credit: John Bollwitt for Miss604.com

Dum Dum Girls

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Rifflandia 2014
Photo credit: John Bollwitt for Miss604.com

Rifflandia was such a pleasant event, with Royal Athletic Park a quick walk from downtown, a nice selection of food options (gluten free Thai to Tacofino and mini donuts), the ability to walk around the grounds with a beer (if you were of age of course), and last but not least a really rockin’ lineup.

All photos in this post are by John Bollwitt for Miss604.com. View John’s photos on Flickr. Read more festival coverage »

YWCA Women of Distinction Awards 2015: Nominations Open

September 15th, 2014 @ 3:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

The YWCA Women of Distinction Awards have posted their call for nominations today, far ahead of previous years which began the process in January ahead of their May event. From September 15th, 2014 until January 22nd, 2015 you can nominate a remarkable woman in your life, community, or at your company for recognition at the 32nd annual YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.

YWCA Women of Distinction Awards

Categories for the awards include: Arts, Culture and Design (sponsored by TD Bank); Business and the Professions; Community Champion; Education Training and Development; Entrepreneurship; Environmental Sustainability; Health and Wellness; Non-profit or Public Service; Technology, Science and Research; Young Women of Distinction; and Outstanding Workplace. All nominees will also be entered in the Connecting the Community award category.

The 2015 ceremony will take place Tuesday, May 26th at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Follow the YWCA of Vancouver on Facebook and Twitter for more information along with the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards @VanYWCAWODA on Twitter.

Miss604 is a proud sponsor of the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards for the 6th year!

YWCA Metro Vancouver is dedicated to achieving women’s equality. Their mission is to touch lives and build better futures for women and their families through advocacy and integrated services that foster economic independence, wellness and equal opportunities.

The Sonics at The Rickshaw in Vancouver

September 15th, 2014 @ 1:14pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

When Nardwuar, the most unique and talented music researcher and interviewer of our time, states that his band will be opening up for his favourite band of all time, you should stop what you’re doing and get tickets for that show immediately. On Thursday, October 2, 2014 The Evaporators (with Nardwuar) and The Flintettes will open for The Sonics at Vancouver’s Rickshaw Theatre.

The Sonics took rock and roll to the edge in 1963 and laid the groundwork for the garage punk and grunge genres we know today.

“Driven by Gerry Roslie’s fearsome, bloodcurdling howl, Larry Parypa’s pummeling, distortion-heavy guitar work and Rob Lind’s greasy, squalling sax, the Tacoma, Washington-bred combo delivered a brutal, propulsive sound and a swaggering, primal attitude to match.”

“The Sonics became regional stars throughout the Pacific Northwest, where their over-the-top performances made them a consistently in-demand live act. But their assaultive approach proved a bit too extreme for national mainstream exposure at the time. The original Sonics splintered in 1967, but the band’s influence and mystique continued to grow steadily in the ensuing decades, as their vintage work was rediscovered by succeeding generations of fans and musicians. Meanwhile, such Sonics standards as “Psycho,” “The Witch,” “Strychnine” and “Have Love, Will Travel” continued to turn up in film soundtracks, TV commercials and the set lists of the countless Sonics-loving bands who emulated—but never duplicated—the band’s sound.” [The Sonics: Bio]


Tickets are now on sale for this show and can be purchased online or at Highlife, Neptoon Records, Northern Tickets, Red Cat, or Zulu Records for $26.50 (plus fees). Follow The Sonics on Twitter and Facebook for more information about the band’s upcoming shows.

Meadows Maze Corn Maze in Pitt Meadows

September 15th, 2014 @ 11:44am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

As the teachers’ strike in BC continued this September I found the perfect activity to enjoy with my niece and nephews, whose ages range from 6 to 14 years old. With blue skies above and a crisp pre-autumn breeze at our backs, we piled in the car and headed out to the Meadows Maze in Pitt Meadows.

I first toured the Meadows Maze, operated by the Hopcott family (of Hopcott Premium Meats) on a grey and drizzly day back in June when the corn was just starting to pop up from the soil:

A Day in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge

Returning last Friday, the corn was over 2 meters high and a perfect challenge for corn maze adventurers like us:

Meadows Maze

We arrived right at opening (11:00am on Fridays) and there was already a line-up in the gift shop where tickets are purchased. As we got our wristbands, corn maze maps, and clue cards for a fun mystery to solve within the maze, two school buses of young children also pulled up — Meadows Maze was the place to be!

There are three options for exploring the maze. The first, which is the smallest, is the Farm Tracks Maze for young explorers. In this mini-maze guests search for 6 hoof print stations. When found, trace the hoof print, exit the maze, and match the print to an animal to solve the mystery of “Who stole Farmer Joe’s pie?”.

Our group was a bit older so we went for the second maze option: Farm Scene. This is a medium size maze, within the larger Mega Maze, that also has a mystery to solve. Armed with clue booklets, we were to find stations on which farm scenes were depicted. By process of elimination, based on what we saw at the stations, we collected clues and eliminated suspects (weapons, suspects, and the crime scene) leaving us with only one possible scenario at the end and one suspect to lock up for the disappearance of Farmer Joe.

Meadows Maze Photos  by my Niece

Two of my nephews fought to be at the front of our line and triumphantly rejoiced whenever they were the first to spot the clue stations. My youngest nephew simply enjoyed being in the corn and proclaimed himself “King of the Corn!”. He would walk ahead of us, turn down an adjoining route, and pop out to scare us when we passed. Lucky for me he was wearing an easy-to-spot red shirt so this auntie didn’t get too panicked when he would leave the pack.

My niece, the oldest of the crew, was in charge of photography. I handed her my camera and she took every one of the images used in this blog post.

Meadows Maze Photos  by my Niece Meadows Maze Photos  by my Niece

Meadows Maze Photos  by my Niece Meadows Maze Photos  by my Niece

The kids enjoyed this activity although we should have brought some water with us as the “I’m thirsty” chorus began about 25 minutes in on that very warm morning. The snack station was nearby so we rehydrated once we solved the mystery, after about 45 minutes. Everyone was pretty excited to complete the exercise and call out the suspect who was depicted as a cartoon (with the other barnyard suspects) on a board at the exit.

My niece’s favourite part was finding the platform in the middle of the Mega Maze, which we learned wasn’t a part of our Farm Scene course so we must have taken a wrong turn. Regardless, it was a great place to look out at the entire property and enjoy the view of the 6km maze.

Meadows Maze Photos  by my Niece Meadows Maze Photos  by my Niece

Meadows Maze Photos  by my Niece

Since we did the medium size maze in 45 minutes, stopping to look for clues, I would anticipate about 90 minutes to complete the Mega Maze. We were done with the corn after our Farm Scene activity and we enjoyed the rest of the Meadows Maze fun for the rest of the afternoon. There’s a petting zoo, pig races, bee observatory, 40-foot slide, corn cannons, hay wagon ride, corn barrel train, picnic areas, and more all included with admission.

Meadows Maze Photos  by my Niece

The kids weren’t hungry so we only had drinks at the snack bar but there were many other treats offered, like slushies, popcorn and fudge which was churning right behind the counter.

Until October 19, 2014 the Meadows Maze is open 3:30pm to 10:00pm Mondays to Thursdays (mornings are for reserved groups only); Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00am to 10:00pm; and Sundays 11:00am to 6:00pm. Tickets are available for purchase online or in the gift shop when you arrive. General admission is $13 (for ages 13+); $10 (ages 3-12); and free for children 2 and under.

Follow the Meadows Maze on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Disclosure: cmp.ly/1

This is not a paid post. Views are my own. Our admission to the Meadows Maze was compliments of the Hopcott family.

Win Tickets to Up Close and Personal with Colin Mochrie and Guests

September 15th, 2014 @ 9:13am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Canada’s best-known improvisor, Colin Mochrie, will team up with Vancouver TheatreSports League (“VTSL”) next month for two delightfully side-splitting shows: Up Close and Personal with Colin Mochrie and Guests. Each show will feature improvised sketches and TheatreSports games based on audience suggestions to spur the comedic action.

What: Up Close and Personal with Colin Mochrie and Guests
Where: Performance Works (1218 Cartwright St. Granville Island)
When: Friday, October 3, 2014 at 7:30pm and 9:30pm
Tickets: Available now for $60 and $75.

This was originally a one night only event however, once October 4th show completely sold out so they added two more on October 3rd. Proceeds from “Up Close and Personal with Colin Mochrie and Guests” will support VTSL’s community programming, along with The Improv Comedy Institute, the brand new educational division of Vancouver TheatreSports™, opening in October.

Vancouver TheatreSports™ League is now a local institution and a worldwide phenomenon, producing and staging some of the most daring and innovative improv in the world. Boasting six International Improv Comedy Awards and having starred in several television specials, Vancouver TheatreSports™ League performs to more than 60,000 enthusiasts yearly, five nights a week, 52 weeks a year.

A night out with VTSL usually means that your cheeks will hurt from smiling and you’ll literally “LOL”. When you add Colin Mochrie to the mix I’m certain you’ll enjoy some hilariously creative, quality, local entertainment.

Colin is an alumnus of both VTSL and Toronto’s Second City comedy troupes and he was a regular on both the British and American versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway. He is currently on a popular North American improv tour with his former Whose Line Is It Anyway cast mate, Brad Sherwood.

Win Tickets

VTSL has offered up a pair of tickets to the 7:30pm show on Friday, October 3, 2014. Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win tix to Up Close and Personal w/ @colinmochrie + Guests @VanTheatreSport from @Miss604 http://ow.ly/BwhsM

Follow Vancouver TheatreSports League on Facebook and Twitter for more information. I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 12:00pm on Friday, September 19, 2014.

Meteor Over Rifflandia in Victoria

September 14th, 2014 @ 10:27pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Seattle-based Death Cab for Cutie had an out-of-this-world set at the Rifflandia festival in Victoria this past Saturday night when a meteor streaked through the sky during their performance of Long Division. John and I had just left the photo pit and camped out in the back of the enthralled audience when the shooting star appeared in the dimming night sky, to the left of the stage. No one was sure what they saw but they knew it was magical.

Meteor Over Rifflandia in Victoria

The following video captures the moment within the first few seconds:

Death Cab for Cutie continued their set uninterrupted but for many in the crowd at Royal Athletic Park, it capped off a pretty momentous evening as this was the last time co-founder and guitarist Chris Walla would play with the band. Walla announced his departure in August of this year.

Death Cab for Cutie at Rifflandia

Reports of the meteor, that glowed green for several seconds as it crossed the sky, was visible up and down the Pacific Northwest coast, from Gabriola Island to Albany, Oregon.

Our full coverage from the Rifflandia festival in Victoria, with my recaps and John’s photos will be available this week. Hat tip to Steffani Cameron for locating this video.

SPES Saturday: The Birds of Winter: Just One More Reason to Love Stanley Park

September 13th, 2014 @ 10:14am (PT) by Guest Author

StanleyParkEcologyThis post has been contributed by Don Enright, Volunteer and Past President with the Stanley Park Ecology Society (“SPES”). I have been following SPES since I moved into the West End almost a decade ago and I have been a member for two years. I wanted to offer the team an opportunity to share their news, events, and work so I have created “SPES Saturday” where they contribute and share stories with my audience once a month.

The Birds of Winter: Just One More Reason to Love Stanley Park

As Vancouverites, we’re accustomed to being the envy of Canada as winter approaches. One might even accuse us of being a bit smug about it. Six inches of snow in Calgary and it’s only September? “Oh, what a shame,” we say, sipping cocktails by the bay. “We can’t wait for December when the lawns green up again.”

Varied thrush
Varied thrush. Photo by Don Enright.

One of the least-known perks of the Vancouver winter? We’re probably the only place in Canada (along with Vancouver Island) where the bird watching is actually better in winter than in summer. Our mild temperatures and rich coastal habitats are like a magnet to seabirds and songbirds, who flock here by the thousands to take refuge from the nasty Canadian winter. And Stanley Park is one of the best places in the region to witness it all.

Lost Lagoon is a good place to start your winter birdwatching. Great blue herons poke patiently along the shore, as hundreds of ducks—scaups, ring-necked ducks and American wigeons, among others—take advantage of the open fresh water. The ducks are quite tame, and can be a lot of fun to photograph. But do resist the urge to feed them; they’re far healthier when left to make out their own natural diet.

Great blue heron
Great blue heron. Photo by Don Enright.

Make your way to the concrete bridge on the western edge of the lagoon, and you’ll see an amazing variety of songbirds taking shelter in the salmonberry bushes. A favourite among birdwatchers is the golden-crowned sparrow, with its plaintive “oh dear meeee” song. Chestnut-backed chickadees, spotted towhees and white-crowned sparrows complete the picture, all of them keeping a nervous eye out for the Cooper’s hawks that patrol from the Nature House all the way over to Cathedral Trail.

Golden-crowned sparrow, Lost Lagoon
Golden-crowned sparrow, Lost Lagoon. Photo by Don Enright.

Speaking of Cathedral Trail, a lucky and patient observer might spot the barred owls that nest in the area in late winter. Their booming “who cooks for youuuu” call echoes through the quiet rainforest, particularly in late afternoon as they begin to stir for the night’s hunt.

Barred owl
Barred owl. Photo by Don Enright.

Of all our winter birds, the Anna’s hummingbird just might be the coolest, in more ways than one. Yes, there is a hummingbird that spends the long dark stormy winter right here in Vancouver. How does it survive? It goes into torpor. Its body temperature and heartbeat plummet at night—it’s sort of a mini-hibernation that lasts until the sun rises again in the morning. The Anna’s was originally a bird of the American southwest, but started expanding its range in the last fifty years as more people started planting winter gardens and hanging nectar feeders. Look for this little dynamo near the Nature House at Lost Lagoon, near the Stanley Park Pavilion, and around the Park Board offices.

Anna's hummingbird
Anna’s hummingbird. Photo by Don Enright.

One of the real spectacles of late fall and early winter are the huge flocks of ducks that feed on clams and mussels in the sea bays around Stanley Park. As you walk or cycle around the seawall, look for these tremendous rafts of ducks, busily diving like thousands of little synchronized swimmers. The black ones with the white mullet hairdos are surf scoters; the fancy black and white ones are Barrow’s goldeneyes. The waters of English Bay and Burrard Inlet have recently been designated Important Bird Areas in recognition of their role in the winter survival of these birds.

Surf scoters, English Bay
Surf scoters, English Bay. Photo by Don Enright.

And as you’re watching the ducks, keep your eyes peeled for the graceful, long-necked western grebe. These beauties used to winter here by the thousands, but have all but disappeared in the last ten years or so. Nobody is quite sure why they have declined here, or what is required to bring their numbers back.

Western grebe
Western grebe. Photo by Don Enright.

Monitoring our winter birds, and raising the alarm when their numbers drop, is the work of the Stanley Park Ecology Society and its tireless volunteers. If you’re interested in getting involved, or just learning a bit more about the rich and beautiful bird life of Stanley Park, stop by our Nature House or drop us an email.

Staying connected with the wild things of Stanley Park is just one more way to enjoy the beauty of life in Vancouver, even during the long wet winter.

About the Guest Author:

This post has been contributed by Don Enright, Volunteer and Past President with the Stanley Park Ecology Society.