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Severe weather grounds Levitation

Friday, April 29, 2016 by Austin Monitor

Travis County Commissioners Court giveth, and Mother Nature taketh away. This year’s iteration of Levitation, the three-day music and camping festival formerly known as Psyche Fest, has been canceled due to severe weather. The event was slated to be held this weekend at Carson Creek Ranch, a venue along the Colorado River just on the outskirts of East Austin. It was only the second major event to traverse the county’s new mass-gathering permitting policy and had thus appeared on several recent Commissioners Court agendas dating back to early March. Initially, it seemed that a variance requested by festival organizers to have some performances extend beyond the new amplified music curfews might not be granted, but no strong opposition from neighbors materialized. However, once the court initially approved the conditional permit, County Judge Sarah Eckhardt kept attaching it to agenda after agenda just in case any reason arose to re-examine the issue. It was finally cleared this past Tuesday. In a statement on the festival’s website, Levitation staff called the decision to cancel the festival – which was ultimately made by newly appointed Fire Marshal Anthony Callaway – “heartbreaking.” Travis County Emergency Services issued a statement that elaborated on the reasons for canceling the event. “The 2015 Levitation Festival included severe weather warnings, but the festival went on as planned. The difference between 2015 and 2016 is the severity of the predicted storms, which are forecasted to include high wind, large hail and tornado warnings, combined with high water levels along the Colorado River from recent heavy rain and flooding.” Given the toll that 2016 has taken on beloved musical icons, we can’t help but agree that keeping Levitation headliner Brian Wilson out of harm’s way is the best decision.

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