Levitation 2016 is a three day music festival curated and organized by The Reverberation Appreciation Society and produced in Austin, TX with Transmission Events and a host of local event professionals, artists and friends. Information about tickets can be found here. While there are many reasons to love this festival, we've highlighted fifteen.

 

(1) The Location

The unique atmosphere of Levitation owes much to its bucolic venue. Carson Creek Ranch is located along the banks of the Colorado River and features many large trees from which you can swing, rest in a hammock or enjoy the numerous art installations. A natural amphitheater is set into the banks overlooking the river and, at night, swirling lights are projected onto the trees across the water. It's magical, trippy and a perfect setting for psych music.

Austin Psych Fest 2014

Levitation 2015

 


(2) The People

Those who attend Levitation are there for the music. You see far fewer cell phones held aloft during sets and you don't have to worry about being surrounded by a crowd of talkers. It's a great experience for those who love live music and it's a great experience for the artists, who genuinely appreciate the chance to play for rapt audiophiles.

Thee Oh Sees Levitation 2015

 

(3) Brian Wilson performs Pet Sounds
Saturday, April 30 @ 9:35 pm, Reverberation Stage

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, universally heralded as one of the greatest albums of all time. After retiring from touring with the Beach Boys in January 1965, Brian Wilson took up residence in his studio to explore new production techniques and develop his arranging skills. Spurred on by the success of the Beatle's Rubber Soul, an album released without a single, Wilson gained confidence in his plan to create a concept album that should be viewed holistically. Pet Sounds is an exploration of his psyche as much as it is an exploration of sound and space. The album is one of the first great psychedelic rock masterpieces and has influenced uncountable musicians, including the Beatles, who said Sargent Peppers was an effort to best Pet Sounds.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, Capitol/UMe will release special expanded editions of the recorded masterpiece, as well as a range of exclusive Pet Sounds merchandise. Available now for preorder, Pet Sounds (50th Anniversary Edition) will be released worldwide on June 10 in several configurations, including a 4CD/Blu-ray Audio collectors edition presented in a hardbound book, featuring the remastered original album in stereo and mono, plus hi res stereo, mono, instrumental, and 5.1 surround mixes, session outtakes, alternate mixes, and previously unreleased live recordings; a 2CD and digital deluxe edition pairing the remastered album in stereo and mono with highlights from the collectors edition’s additional tracks; and remastered, 180-gram LP editions of the album in mono and stereo with faithfully replicated original artwork.

 

(4) Courtney Barnett
Saturday, April 30 @ 6:05 pm, Reverberation Stage

Our favorite new songwriter of the past decade, Barnett's wry and intelligent lyrics call to mind Stephen Malkmus at his best. Those words, delivered with a deadpan delivery, are paired with music that ranges from folksy-pop to epic, guitar-crunching garage rock.


(5) Slowdive
Friday, April 29 @ 11:25 pm, Reverberation Stage

Slowdive released the seminal shoegaze album, Souvlaki, in 1993. Two years later, Britpop was on the rise and they'd abandoned those dreamy guitar textures for keyboard loops. Shorty after that, they disbanded. Slowdive never really received their proper due in the 90's. Only with time have critics come to appreciate the band's expansive, beautiful soundscapes.

Fast forward twenty years and Slowdive returned in glorious fashion for Primavera Sound Festival to raucus cheers and adamant praise. They last played a Texas date (Dallas) in 1993 and this is their first trip to Austin, so it is a big deal for lovers of shoegaze!




(6) Ty Segall & The Muggers
Sunday, May 1 @ 7:30 pm, Reverberation Stage

The highly prolific garage-psych kingpin returns to Levitation on the heels of his loosest and weirdest album to date, 'Emotional Mugger'. If his band, The Muggers, look familiar, its because Ty has assembled an all-star cast featuring Mikal Cronin, King Tuff, Dale Crover of the Melvins, Cory Hanson and Evan Burrows of Wand, Charles Moothart of Fuzz/Ty Segall Band, and Emmett Kelly, who has toured with Bonnie "Prince" Billy. Their shows are fun, frenetic and over the top. In other words, the perfect way to welcome the night on Sunday.

 


(7) Shabazz Palaces
Friday, April 29 @ 7:05 pm, Levitation Tent

Shabazz Palaces is the brainchild of Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, formerly of Digable Planets, a hip-hop trio who helped us get through our freshman year in college and continue to feature heavily on our personal playlists. Butler is joined in Shabazz Palaces by multi-instrumentalist Tendai Maraire. The duo dwell in an astral plane informed by electronic sounds, mind-bending illusions and the ineffable mysteries of the Universe. They are, in other words, the perfect lead-in for our next artist.


(8) Flying Lotus
Friday, April 29 @ 11:45 pm, Levitation Tent

Flying Lotus is the stage name of Steven Ellison. The experimental multi-genre music producer, elctronic musician, DJ and rapper utilizes all his considerable skills to craft one of the most unique live performances you will experience. Prepare to have your minds blown.


(9) Twin Peaks
Friday, April 29 @ 5:35 pm, Reverberation Stage

One of our favorite live bands, Twin Peaks are releasing their third album, Down In Heaven, on May 13th. The new effort owes as much to the '60s as their prior releases, but promises to be cleaner and less frenetic. According to the band's PR material, Down In Heaven draws particluar influence from the year 1968 and albums released that year like the Kinks’ Village Green Society, Beatles’ White Album, and Rolling Stones’ Beggar’s Banquet.

 


(10) Golden Dawn Arkestra
Friday, April 29 @ 7:45 pm, Elevation Amphitheatre

A psychedelic afrobeat collective from Austin who wear gorgeous costumes and feature a cosmic dance squad? Yes, please! Prepare to be beamed up to the mothership as you dance your ass off.


(11) Israel Nash
Saturday, April 30 @ 3:15 pm, Reverberation Stage

A gifted songwriter, Nash's music reverberates with the awesome and terrifying grandeur of his new home in the Texas hill country outside Austin. Over his last two releases, he's transitioned from Americana into a more classic-rock sound with psychedelic leanings while growing in sophistication as a writer. He's a special talent and you don't want to miss his set.

 

 (12) International Acts

Psychedelic music cuts across linguistic and geographical barriers. Levitation embraces this diversity in a way few other festivals even attempt. For 2016, the fest has lined up:

Boris - Japan
Dungen -Sweden
Imarhan - Tuareg band from Northern Mali
Boogarins - Brazil
Indrajit Banerjee and Gourishankar
Klaus Johann Grobe - Swiss duo who sing exlusively in German
Fantasmes - Puerto Rico
Quraishi - Afghan-American rubab player

 

(13) Animal Collective
Saturday, April 30 @ 11:30 pm, Reverberation Stage

Their new album, Painting With, is their most energetic to date, so expect to do lots of dancing. Panda Bear and Avey Tare have performed at past Levitations/Austin Psych Fests, but this is the first time for Animal Collective as a whole.

 


(14) Parquet Courts
Saturday, April 30 @ 4:35 pm, Reverberation Stage

After the recent release of their third proper album, Human Performance, Parquet Courts have cemented themselves as one of the great modern American bands. With highly intelligent lyrics and offbeat, wildly dynamic songs, Parquet Courts are a sorely needed tonic for a world that is increasingly vapid, anti-intellectual, and scared to address the difficult questions.

 

(15) The Arcs
Friday, April 29 @ 9:55 pm, Reverberation Stage

Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys is one of the hardest working guys in the industry. His latest project, The Arcs, is not bound by the blues rock on which The Black Keys made their mark. Instead, The Arcs revel in genres as diverse as alt-country, soul, delta blues, funk and '70s rock. They're even backed by members of Mariachi Flor de Toloache for part of the live set.