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Levitation Fest Returns With A Triumphant Weekend of Shows

Levitation Fest Returns With A Triumphant Weekend of Shows


If you are a music fan in Austin, it’s a near impossibility that you have gone these last couple years without being exposed to the rumor mill of the tortured/triumphant saga of Levitation Fest. Cancelled because of weather in 2016, less than 24 hours before gates were to open, the festival took a year off in 2017 with many thinking it would never return.  The beginning of the comeback story began when 2018’s lineup was released, and it became evident that the festival was aiming for a complete return to former glory, not some spurious money-grab.  The redemptive arc was completed this weekend, when thousands of psych rock fans descended on a handful of downtown venues for a truly mesmerizing and immersive festival experience.




While it may seem cliché when describing an event as having ‘something for everyone’, Levitation verifiably checked all the boxes on different music genres and music tastes.  From the spacey shoegaze of Slowdive, to the industrial metal of Ministry, attendees were not forced into a homogenized lineup.  While hipster-god, Ty Segall, and eternally touring, Thee Oh Sees, were somewhat ‘expected’, surprise bookings like Electric Wizard, Panda Bear, and Dan Deacon gave the festival a distinct edge.  The best performances of the weekend could be found in the sets of Ariel Pink, Windhand, and Chelsea Wolfe. The festival owners, The Black Angels, put on a riveting Sunday night show at Stubbs to close out their resurgent pet project.


Local Acts


Major music festivals can sometimes only include local bands as slot-fillers, but Levitation makes sure to highlight a slew of Austin bands. Christian Bland, a local Austinite himself, has a good grasp on which groups to include in the festival, and he did not disappoint this year. A Giant Dog, Golden Dawn Arkestra, and Holy Wave all had epic showcases that brought out their local fan-base. However it was the music veterans in the Octopus Project and SURVIVE that proved to host the most exhilarating showcases for the local contingent. Levitation continues to serve as a pedestal for Austin bands to increase their national exposure.




Levitation, previously called Psych Fest, had to adapt from the weather-vulnerable Carson Creek Ranch to a location with less liability.  The solution would lie within eight music venues that would host their own individual showcases under the umbrella of the Levitation festival.  While the bohemian vibe of Carson Creek Ranch was certainly missed, the individual micro-cultures within each venue brought a different backdrop of its own unique appeal. Mobility was limited and individual tickets had to be bought, but you also didn’t need to drive twenty minutes or deal with sound bleeding over from other stages.  At the end of the day, it’s the people who make the atmosphere, and while the physical location may have changed, the same crowd that had been showing up for the last ten years continued to attend, guaranteeing a vibe that continues to thrive through Levitation’s different permutations.




Published: May 05, 2018 |

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