“Welcome to Mud Fest,” a young fan with a British accent said as crowds marched along the trail from Levitation Fest’s campground to the main entrance at about 5 p.m. Friday afternoon. There was no avoiding the condition of the grounds at Carson Creek Ranch, indeed, but both organizers and concertgoers seemed to be taking the approach that the show must go on.
Austin band Hollow Trees kicked off the fest in the Levitation Tent at about 4:45 p.m., an hour after Friday’s scheduled starting time with local group Sungod. Their 3;45 p.m. set on the main Reverberation Stage was a scratch, as was a scheduled 4:15 set by California group White Manna on the Elevation Stage, which has been moved up from its usual creekside location to eliminate any risk of rising creek levels endangering the performers and audience.
Large patches of mulch were spread liberally across the grounds but couldn’t cover all of the mud and standing water, which made for difficult entry to the Levitation Tent stage:
Grassy areas and the patches of mulch allowed for easier passage in some spots, making things not too treacherous on Friday afternoon. It remains to be seen, however, what the grounds will be like with heavier traffic on the weekend, especially if more rain falls. As of early Friday evening, skies were overcast but precipitation was holding off as more festgoers arrived in anticipation of Friday headliners Spiritualized and Tame Impala.
The wet weather doesn’t seem to have deterred campers much, judging from the dozens of tents set up across the camping area just to the east of the concert grounds.