“If you build it, they will come.”
This notion of entrepreneurship alluded to in “A Field of Dreams” drives successful individuals to push the envelope and explore new avenues to express their creativity. For the Levitate Surf Shop, first established over 10 years ago in Marshfield, Mass., the Levitate Music and Arts Festival was the next step in exploring the theme of community among the surf and skating community.
In 2013, the Levitate Festival was introduced as a means of a 10th anniversary party for the brand featuring the likes of The Wailers and Stick Figure. However, as interest grew, the festival expanded into a two-day festival and thousands of musically, like-minded fans traveled to the Marshfield Fairgrounds to catch some of the best talent in the reggae, jam and folk music scenes.
Entering its fifth year, the Levitate brand had its work set out before them as they unraveled the massive plans for unprecedented sold out, two-day festival featuring 23 different bands on three different stages. For the small town of 25,000, no one would expect that nearly the same number of individuals would pack into the town each day to catch the likes of Dispatch, Ziggy Marley and returning veterans, Stick Figure.
On July 8, concert-goers were greeted with the whimsical atmosphere and care-free attitude that has become the staple of the festivals. However, as confusion mounted regarding the expanded area, many were left waiting in long lines for basic amenities such as beer and water.
While the lack of preparation began to show some cracks, the music was the glue that brought the day together with rolicking performances by Providence folkers Deer Tick and jam band Umphrey’s McGee, who delighted fans with a heartracing two sets filled with hits, including a cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly” for good measure.
As for musical peaks, The Revivalists poured their hearts out on the stage and delivered a exhilarating hour set that had frontman David Shaw holding hands and belting the chorus to hits such as “Wish I Knew You” and “Keep Going.”
Boston-based band, Dispatch, closed out the festival with a stop on their “America, Location 12” tour in support of their latest record. The 17-song set featured a healthy mix of both old and new and showcased a spirit of genuinity that represented the blessing of bassist Pete Francis, who opted out of this tour in order to cope with his mental health.
By the time Sunday came around, many fans who had traveled from afar were eager to see how the Levitate brand would send off the festival and to their surprise, it lifted off like a rocket into the stratosphere. Ziggy Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, headlined the final evening with a set that paid homage to both his tenured career as well as the music of his father.
With the likes of Twiddle, Trevor Hall and Lake Street Dive sprinkling their magic throughout the day with prolific sets, it was surprisingly rising Boston band, Ripe, that delivered the set of the day with an irresistible energetic live show that had people from the rails, all the way to the back of the field, getting “down with the darkside.”
But as the sun set on Sunday evening, it was time for everyone to retire back to their homes and judging by the copious amounts of smiling faces leaving the Fairgrounds, it’s safe to say that Levitate is here to stay as the staple festival of Massachusetts.