Previously known as Austin Psych Fest, Austin’s alternative music festival, Levitation, is back on April 29-May 1 for its eighth year at Carson Creek Ranch. Inspired by “The Free Festival Movement” of the 1960’s, The Reverberation Appreciation Society created the indie festival in 2008 in Austin. Levitation has since expanded internationally and pioneered a distinct psychedelic echo.
The Levitation lineup often showcases underground and experimental artists, and illuminates counter-culture lifestyles–but what makes the 2016 experience any more brilliant than previous years? Why is the eighth anniversary of Levitation just as important as the prior engagements? Here’s four captivating reasons as to why your attendance to Levitation is more important than it has ever been.
4. IMPRESSIVE LOCAL TALENT
Lately, the local music scene in Austin has been thriving, as success rates for artists have recently accelerated, so has support and sustainability. Levitation is a musical manifestation of “Keep Austin Weird,” as it righteously includes Austin bands and producers like Bayonne, Christian Bland And The Revelators and Golden Dawn Arkestra. Neighborhood talent is quite often overlooked, as music lovers focus primarily on national triumph instead of on a local level. Levitation Fest gives our friends–our hometown heroes, the recognition and stage time they rightfully deserve.
3. 2016 IS THE YEAR FOR MUSICAL DISCOVERY
As we are in the inaugural months of festival season, lineups are dropping all over the nation, from Texas to New York City, and everywhere in between. Some fans are so caught up in the incredible talent and festival headliners from 2015, they are deeming 2016 a dud–a music festival nightmare. One of America’s most popular music festivals, Bonnaroo, admired for its positive energy and spiritual benefits, has received serious scrutiny for having a “bad lineup.” Some folks in Austin are even staying in this spring break, avoiding SXSW for the lack of high profile celebrities. Fortunately, the silver lining to the “bad lineup” situation is more like a pot of gold for music enthusiasts. Festival lineups that include unfamiliar artists, allow for an organic, investigative experience. Levitation is full of undiscovered men and women who are trying to convey their message to us. Do not be discouraged by underground bands or experimental artists, instead, embrace the unknown and help make 2015 wish it was as unique as 2016.
2. YOU HAVE ABOUT THREE MORE YEARS UNTIL LEVITATION REALLY MAKES IT BIG
Everyone hates the feeling of seeing your favorite song, become all of societies favorite song. We fear our “cool music” will sell out to KISS FM, or that our favorite vinyl record will be showcased in a window display at Urban Outfitters– God forbid. And we really hate it when our secretly awesome, wildly mellow music festivals get more attention than they used to. This is not to say Levitation Fest will “sell out” in a couple years to some sleazy corporation (because it wont), rather that the festival is going to start drawing the attention of fans whose musical consciousness was calcified by a Coachella complex. Soon, people are going to realize that real “coolness” is not an unhinged, postal rave. Soon they will realize that great music is spawned in mindful, obscure environments like Levitation. So get down to the river this April so you can say, “I told you so.”
1. FLYING LOTUS
Although FLYLO reigns the most “mainstream” on the 2016 Levitation lineup, his artistic influence is inspiring, to say the least. Steven Ellison, under the alias Flying Lotus is an experimental, psychedelic/electronic producer who most recently played a key role in Kendrick Lamar‘s monumental To Pimp A Butterfly via instrumentals. He also collaborates heavily as a behind-the-scenes-visionary with Earl Sweatshirt and Chance The Rapper. His position, just outside of the limelight allows him serious flexibility as a performer; he often teases, scares and interacts with his crowds. He was even spotted mid-set at Houston’s Day For Night Festival sparking a bleezy, illegally passed his way from a front row fan. FLYLO has a second alias, Captain Murphy, a dark, intellectual rapper with beautifully twisted lyrics, “I live my life like I’m Bruce Wayne, in bittersweet pain.” Captain Murphy always drops bars when FLYLO takes a step back from his visually phenomenal, 3D, electronic set. Experiencing Flying Lotus is something I recommend to all live music junkies, and something I have done twice. His charisma puts a psychoactive spell on you–It’s a show you won’t stop talking about for years.