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Preview: Levitate Music Festival 2018

Levitate…more than just music!

It’s that enchanted time of the year that we all know and love… Festival Season!

Incredible music, out of this world food, extraordinary people, spell-binding dancing, blissful peace, and oodles of love – all in place for one mythical weekend a year. One of the best festivals on the East Coast is the Levitate Music and Arts Festival (LMAF), held at the historic Marshfield Fairgrounds in Marshfield, Massachusetts. The 6th generation continues its great tradition of being more than just another music festival the weekend of July 7th and 8th.  While most fests are geared towards music, LMAF is so much more than its 3 stages and 22 music. Coming off its first sold-out weekend in 2017, this environmentally-friendly festival is powered by family and community with a heap of devotion and a sprinkle of magic. Yay! Pitch my tent, crack open the cooler, open up the mind, and turn up the music.

The Levitate Music and Arts Festival
was born from the mind of Dan Hassett, co-founder of the festival and founder of Levitate, a surf/skate shop and apparel line located in Marshfield. The inaugural festival in 2013 was intended as a ten-year anniversary celebration for employees, families, and the local community. It was a huge success, beyond everyone’s wildest dreams, and evolved from a one-day celebration into a weekend-long, spiritual, life-changing experience for tens of thousands.  One of the missions of Levitate is “to lift up and grow its surrounding communities” and judging by the local and national response, they have achieved their mission and more!

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LMAF is 100% grassroots, meaning the entire community is involved, supports, and benefits from its participation. Billed as the largest Grassroots Festival on the East Coast, from all accounts it lives up to its name. All vendors, including businesses, artists, food trucks, and breweries are locally sourced including a new for 2018 Home Grown Beer Tent. Half of the bands on the schedule are from the local music scene. By keeping it “local”, LMAF reduces the environmental impact, also known as the “carbon footprint”, to the area compared to other festivals. For examples, by booking local bands it means less travel and gas. The carbon footprint of the fest is further reduced by not allowing plastic bags, selling reusable drink cups at a very modest price vs beer cups, and keeping single-use plastic (such as water bottles) to a minimum. You can greatly reduce your carbon footprint at home simply by shopping with canvas bags and not buying single server water bottles. Canvas bags are cool, sturdier, and with a little upfront planning you can reduce your impact on mother earth and its finite resources.

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Of course, since part of the Levitate brand is skating, there is skate park right at the festival where you can throw down some tricks, have some fun, and all the while listening to great music. The other part of the brand, surfing, is not allowed at the festival since there’s no ocean lol, but it is only a 10-minute ride away. Being outside in the sun surfing, skating, or dancing at a festival, it’s important to use sunscreen. Luckily, LMAF provides free (yes, free) sunscreen to everyone from machines dispersed around the grounds of the fest. These little touches – the attention to detail – is one of the reasons that makes this event so special and unique.  

LMAF is a kid-friendly family festival and guests are encouraged to bring their kids to share the experience together.  There are lots of activities, besides the music, scheduled throughout the day for the kids to keep them busy and expand their minds. Besides arts and crafts, one of the most popular kid destinations is the Germination Station. The station educates adults and kids how to grow their own food and why.  What’s cool is at the end of the festival, you get to take home the plants and grow them. One of Levitate’s goals is to lead by example, through education and a hands-on-approach, to achieve sustainability and make the world a better place to live in. They do a great job! This is my kind of festival since it combines two things I love – music and the environment – and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for us this year!

What would a music festival be without the music?  The scheduled lineup of jamband, reggae, blues, funk, bluegrass, and soul artists looks better than ever! The Trey Anastasio Trio are the headliners and personally, I’m stoked. I’ve seen Trey with Phish, TAB, The Dead, but never as a trio and I’m expecting something really special. I’ve have never seen “The Head and the Heart”, “Slightly Stoopid”, “Turkuaz”, “GreenSky Bluegrass”, or “Rebelution” in a live setting, so I’m bursting at the seams to finally experience these bands live.

Lake Street Dive, Twiddle, and Spafford are all amazing bands I’ve seen in recently, who put on spectacular and mesmerizing shows. Robert Randolph and his pedal steel guitar along with his “Family Band” is always a treat to hear and looking forward to this as well.

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Samantha Fish is the one act that, if you never seen or heard of her, will be that “wow” moment.  Her amazing guitar work, sultry vocals, and high energy set, backed by the 6-piece band, will just absolutely blow you away.

To close out the festival, Mihali and Friends Community Jam looks to be one special jam. The incredible   musicians scheduled to perform include: Twiddle frontman Mihali Savoulidis on lead vocals/guitar and bassist Zdenek Gubb; Dopapod’s Rob Compa on guitar and Eli Winderman on keys; Trey Anastasio Trio drummer Russ Lawton; Paul Hoffman from Greensky Bluegrass on mandolin; and the Turkuaz horn section.

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 I’m sure some local musicians and special guests will join in on this mega-jam as well. This set, I predict, will be a feast for the ears and something that you will talk about months later.

For every band/musician you’ve heard or loved, there are thousands that you’ve never heard of. For me, the most magical part of a festival is finding that new music that speaks to you, something that completely blows you away, and are left wanting more. It’s unexpected and absolutely moves you to your core.  There’s no rhyme or reason to it. It can be the lyrics, the rhythm, the energy, or just the look of the lead singer but it is palpable and it’s certainly special. There are so many bands I have never experienced in this lineup so I’m really anticipating finding some new spiritual connections.

With each passing year the number of festivals, on any summer weekend in the North East, increase exponentially every year. There are some that are well known because of name, acts, or lineage. Some are smaller, fly just under the radar, and are hidden gems. The Levitate Music and Arts Festival is that buried  diamond in the rough, combining local and national acts in a beautiful atmosphere with an environmental family theme that is practiced and taught… all at a very affordable price.

Buy your tickets now.  VIP just sold out and I would expect that the festival will sell out soon as well. Come Levitate your Festival experience…you won’t be disappointed. Peace, love, and Music to you all.

Get your tickets! 



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