We know. Rifflandia can be overwhelming. So many shows! So little time! And besides that, there's a whole host of other worthy distractions, from art and film to kids' crafts and edibles.
But don't worry. We've got your back. Here are some tips to make your ride through the magical, musical mayhem as smooth as possible.
Need a briefer on each and every artist hitting the stage? The Rifflandia magazine is your one-stop shop. The 120-page publication, headed by editor Chris Long, is not just the festival's primary promo material - it's a well-puttogether guide with maps, schedules and stories, as well as artist profiles. Plus, it has fun bonuses, like a tear-out passport to record your progress around venues and a paper fortuneteller for when you just can't decide what show to see next. Pick up a free copy at shops, cafes and restaurants around town, as well as Rifflandia Headquarters at 517 Pandora today, and Royal Athletic Park starting Friday.
There's nothing worse than showing up to that concert you've been looking forward to for months, only to find the venue at capacity, with a lineup down the street. Twitter is unquestionably the best resource for up-to-theminute information of that sort. Follow our live coverage at @tc_vicarts, as well as checking #Riff2012 for all tweets relating to this year's festival.
KNOW YOUR LIMIT
There are pros and cons to all ages at Rifflandia. Under 10? You get into the park for free! But you won't get into some of the night stages, which are subject to age limit and capacity restrictions. Keep your IDs on hand, especially for the 19+ venues: Club 9ONE9, Soprano's and Lucky Bar, as well as the park's beverage area.
Parking is first come, first served near Royal Athletic Park, so it's recommended that you walk, bike or take public transit. If you do arrive early enough, try the SaveonFoods Memorial Centre's parking lot or vie for street parking. Biking is best, since the parking lot west of the park turns into a staffed, secure by-donation bike lock-up area. Leave your skateboards there too - they aren't allowed in the park. Skateboards can also be checked at the night stages for a small donation or fee.
FOOD AND DRINK
Yum! Eating! There's plenty of opportunity at the park, with 13 food and treats vendors, not to mention five drink vendors providing everything from beer, wine and cider to the coffee and tea you need for an extra kick. Want to save some dough and pack your own lunch? That's fine, but leave your knives at home. And keep it to smaller containers - no large picnic baskets or coolers permitted. On the other hand, don't bother bringing water. No outside liquids are permitted on site. You can either purchase water at the park, or bring an empty plastic bottle to fill on site.
GET IN THE SPIRIT
Consider yourself a true Rifflandia fanatic? Prove it by heading to Royal Athletic Park dressed according to daily themes. Let your freak flag fly on Friday, the anything-goes costume day. Saturday is Denim Day and Sunday is Orange Day. If you bring a flag to support your favourite band or just to let your friends find you more easily, be sure to use soft bamboo poles. No metal or broomstick-style poles allowed.
LASSIE GO HOME
Animals aren't allowed on site, except certified assistance dogs.
DEALS 'N DISCOUNTS
You sprang for the wristband - now get as much as you can out of it. More than 40 local businesses will give you deals and discounts of up to 25 per cent on food, clothing, haircuts, airfare and other goodies. Not good enough? Enter to win entirely free stuff through Win!Landia, by flashing your wristband at 29 participating businesses around town. The Rifflandia website has the most up-to-date list of participants.
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