When festival organizers first confirmed the cancellation of Austin Psych Fest (Levitation) due to extreme weather, my hopes for a fun weekend with my friends were initially dashed. Turns out, that sick twist of fate would result in one of the best trips of my life. Now that I've had a week to process my experience, I can look back and say Levitation getting canceled was the best thing that could have happened.
Here's a fun, flirty listicle to explain why.
We actually talked to fellow music lovers.
Because we were all there for one reason and that reason was suddenly tenuous, we all had something to talk about instantly. And, for once, discussing the weather didn't equate to boring small talk. The thunderclouds (or lack thereof) became the gateway topic for making new friends.
We discovered bands we may have ignored before.
If the festival had gone according to plan, I know exactly who I would have seen perform. Sure, I would have enjoyed the music I'm familiar with, but I wouldn't have been exposed to new bands I can now add to my roster. My list of favorite musicians expanded significantly simply because we bought tickets for whatever shows we could get. And since we had access to a limited number of shows, we gave those acts our full attention.
How else would I have really taken the time to appreciate San Francisco band Cellar Doors or the trippy classic rock sounds of Puerto Rico-based band FANTASMES? I shudder to think what my life would be like had I never heard "Frog It."
We got to see many of our favorite bands perform at small, intimate venues.
Discovering smaller bands didn't prevent us from enjoying a few of our standard favorites. Not seeing all of our top-ranked bands all in one place meant seeing them scattered around the city at smaller, more intimate venues. Instead of parking our butts on one patch of grass to keep our front row spots in a massive field all day, those of use who got tickets found the rescheduled shows to border on pure magic. Seeing Animal Collective at a small concert hall when they normally sell out stadiums was unprecedented and, dare I say, mind-altering.
The struggle to adapt reinforced a sense of community.
As quickly as the bands began hustling to reschedule shows, festival goers got to work to snatch up tickets and trading the ones they were able to get for the ones they wanted. Facing crashing websites and clueless club managers, we all banded together to make things right on our own. That meant collectively shunning scalpers and giving tickets away for free if that meant making someone's weekend. My view toward humanity tends to be pretty pessimistic most days of the week, but witnessing and participating in that level of cooperation got me feeling the love.
It confirmed my power to read the future.
Want to hear something freaky? While prepping and planning for a weekend of Levitation coverage, I couldn't actually picture myself at a music festival. I envisioned packing my bags and flying to Austin, but beyond that, my mind drew a big, fat blank. If you've ever experienced a similar sensation, it is chilling to say the least. Some more intuitive part of my psyche knew there wasn't going to be a straightforward festival for me to experience, though I couldn't have known that at the time. Now I know to trust my gut instinct because I'm basically a gypsy fortune teller.
Maybe this is a sh*tty thing to say, but if it took Levitation getting canceled for me to realize my super power, then the strife and stressed it caused thousands of people was totally worth it.
All kidding aside, I'll be forever grateful to Levitation organizers and Travis County officials for failing so hard in one regard and succeeding in another. My weekend in Austin was one I'll never forget.