With the rapid growth in the popularity of psych rock, thanks to bands like The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Black Angels, this years edition of the Austin Psych Fest at the end of April is set up for it's biggest year. The Texas based festival is scheduled for April 26 - 28 at Carson Creek Ranch, five minutes from downtown Austin. Over the years, this independent festival has grown from a small word-of-mouth event to an internationally acclaimed, full weekend event that attracts attendees from all over the world. The lineup features dozens of bands, including Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Deerhunter, The Raveonettes, The Black Angels and Warpaint. As if the regular lineup wasn't enough, this years kickoff party includes the likes of Metz, Odanis Odanis, A Place To Bury Strangers and Allah-Las among others. (the full schedule is available here.)
The first edition of the Austin Psych Fest was a showcase event during South By Southwest in 2008. The event was a hit and has evolved into an annual event, growing in size each year. Because of the increased popularity of the festival, this will be the first year they've used an outdoor venue and three stages.
"When it all started, we were pretty happy to just throw a party and create a little scene under the umbrella of SXSW. But after the second year, we had decided that the festival could be on it's own weekend.", said festival curator Rob Fitzpatrick.
This year, the festival is expanding to three stages, which affords organizers the opportunity to add visual elements to the event, as described by Rob FItzpatrick.
"We've ended up creating a third stage this year that will be in a large tent. But we're using the extra stage time to expand the multimedia aspect of the festival, bringing in some short films and other surprises. That's really the next step for us - doing things better, not necessarily bigger. We've always wanted the festival to be a really amazing visual experience, complimenting the audio experience. It feels like we're finally at the point where we can bring in the people and resources to bring that to fruition.".
The Reverberation Appreciation Society (who's name is in homage to "Reverberation" by the 13th Floor Elevators.) formed in 2009 when Fitzpatrick, Christian Bland, Alex Maas and Oswald James realized that they wanted to do more than just a SXSW showcase. They began a record label, based in Austin and made plans to grow Austin Psych Fest to a stand-alone event. Their label has released albums by The Vacant Lots, Elephant Stone and the first installment of the label's new European psych compilation series, The Reverb Conspiracy, with contributions from Dead Skeletons, Sonic Jesus, Black Lizard, The Electric Koolaid Company, The Lucid Dream, and more.
Christian and Alex from The Black Angels are still involved in the festival and their enthusiasm for this years' event speaks volumes about its' quality.
"We are very excited about this years line up. I can't believe we have the bands we do either. Rob really did a great job this year booking this thing.", said Alex Maas, lead singer of The Black Angels. Alex and Christian Bland of the band are a part of The Reverberation Appreciation Society, who put together the festival.
From left to right, Austin Psych Fest founders Oswald James, Rob Fitzpatrick, Christian Bland and Alex Maas
Tickets are available here.