Heralded by fans and press alike as one of the best festival lineups of the year, 2016 brought the most diverse programming in the festival’s history, topped off with Brian Wilson celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, Ween, Animal Collective, Flying Lotus, Slowdive, Caribou, Sleep, Courtney Barnett, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Arcs, Lee Scratch Perry, Ty Segall, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Black Mountain and many more.
In addition to psychedelic rock heavyweights and artists that fit the traditional “Psych Fest”, the 2016 lineup further expanded the sonic spectrum of the festival with the metal / drone legend trifecta of Sleep, Sunn O))) and Boris, along with experimental / electronic artists like Animal Collective, Caribou, Flying Lotus, Nicolas Jaar and Oneohtrix Point Never. Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo were both scheduled to appear, along with present day indie rockers like Courtney Barnett and Parquet Courts. The festival’s continued focus on bringing international talent to the festival was well represented, with artists and music from every corner of the globe. The Reverberation Appreciation Society also continued their mission of highlighting developing artists, and giving new artists a place to showcase their talents.
Unfortunately Levitation 2016, our 9th annual in Austin TX, was cancelled due to severe weather. On the afternoon of Thursday April 28th, just one day before the festival, festival organizers met with Travis County officials who had a dire message: the festival would have to be cancelled. Due to recent flooding and heavy rains, the Colorado river was at capacity, and the forecast was to bring additional rain over the weekend. The rain would be brought by a fast moving storm system that was guaranteed to bring hail, rain, dangerous winds, and the possibility of tornadoes. Ultimately, the call was made to cancel the festival for the safety of festival patrons.
The Austin music community scrambled to contact venues to book the displaced artists and salvage what they could of the lineup. These Flood Relief shows were booked at The Mohawk, The Historic Scoot Inn, Barracuda, Empire Garage & Control Room and other Austin venues, with $5 tickets going to charity. These mid size venues could never hold all festival attendees, but it guaranteed that at least some of the festival goers would see some of the artists they had travelled so far to see. Shows were organized and scheduled all over the city, with some artists playing as many as three shows.
Despite the cancellation, Levitation artists put on amazing performances for fans. While it was certainly not the weekend anyone expected the music and art community that is Levitation persevered and made the best of things.