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PHOTOS: Rifflandia on Sunday included Herbie Hancock, Melanie C, Miina, Kaleo and a wedding

What a difference a day makes.

What a difference a day makes.

Rifflandia, drenched in sun during its first day at Royal ­Athletic Park, was levelled with an icy chill late Saturday, which would have been an issue for those who weren’t into dancing as a means of staying warm.

Thankfully, the festival booked a lineup that leaned toward the rump-shaking side of things. That resulted in a record crowd of 8,200, according to organizers. With 8,000 in attendance for the festival’s finale at Electric Avenue last week, 2023 is officially a record-setting year.

Saturday offered the strongest assembly of artists of the festival’s six-day run, with everyone from Chicago soul legend Mavis Staples and Australian indie pop act Chet Faker among the early highlights. Staples, 84, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and delivered a soulful, upbeat set that belied her years. A consummate professional, the former Staple Singers frontwoman brought a touch of class to the proceedings, and her cover of Talking Heads’ Slippery People was a standout.

Faker, born Nicholas Murphy, was alone on the main stage for his near-dusk set, but this was much more than a solo set. He was exceptional, and his textured soundscapes grew more robust as his set progressed. He has a few substantial hits — Gold being one — and his cover of Blackstreet’s No Diggity had thousands of heads bobbing. But this was a fully rounded performance, from start to close.

Faker and Iggy Pop, who headlined Rifflandia on Friday, are the best of the fest thus far.

Whereas the nighttime programming as part of Electric Avenue is geared toward adult dance music aficionados, the daytime proceedings at Royal Athletic Park are more family friendly, and not simply in terms of the afternoon musical offerings (performances as part of the festival’s stand-up comedy showcase, Lafflandia, were a big draw.)

Rifflandia juggles a lot of balls throughout the day, and provides an environment in which everyone from casual fans to hardcore supporters can engage. Especially when the sun is out, which it was during Saturday afternoon, there’s nothing better in the city.

The festival hit a peak around 8 p.m. when New York rap icons Salt-N-Pepa hit the stage. The schedule had been shifted late in the day to accommodate the duo’s surging popularity among Victoria festivalgoers, which means rap queens Salt (Cheryl James) and Pepa (Sandra Denton) performed on the main stage, not the side stage as scheduled.

It wound up being a shrewd move. The duo were energetic, sounded strong, and played a boatload of hits (including Shoop, Push It, and None of Your Business) with some verve. But it wasn’t until the end of their set that the group made good on its position as the ­second ­headliner on the festival’s ­biggest night of the weekend.

For some reason, the rappers vacated the stage for approximately 15 minutes of its 70-minute set, leaving their DJ to play rote party tracks. This robbed the performance of its momentum. For that reason, Salt-N-Pepa were good, but not great.

The big-dog honours went to Diplo, the massively popular DJ whose brand has made him the go-to headliner at major festivals, including Stagecoach, Lollapalooza and Coachella. And what he does in that capacity is deliver on cue. His stage design was relatively spare, but his amalgam of house and trap music had the crowd visibly into his performance as he commandeered a bank of equipment.

Diplo has chameleonic tendencies and his set was less party-rocking than some of his recent performances elsewhere, but his skill level is elite. Even when he requires the audience to think as well as dance, Diplo fans always oblige.

Rifflandia comes to a close today at Royal Athletic Park, with its final day of programming. Sets from KALEO, Herbie Hancock, and Bob Marley’s son, Stephen Marley, are expected to be among the highlights.

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