This year’s Levitate Music & Arts Festival will take place on July 7th and 8th in the beautiful seaside town of Marshfield, MA, with a musically diverse lineup of nationally touring headliners, including Trey Anastasio Band, Slightly Stoopid, The Head and the Heart, Stephen Marley, Rebelution, Greensky Bluegrass, Turkuaz, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Twiddle and more. (Purchase tickets here.)

Levitate is showing the festival scene the sheer power of the terms grassroots and community. The festival actively features locally grown music acts, local businesses, and breweries and is paving the way for the festival scene to be more environmentally sustainable. With simple green concepts—including no plastic bags, limited single-use plastic, reusable water and beer cups, single stream recycling, and the expansion of the Germination Station (which educates both children and adults about growing your own food, plant and soil health, etc.)—Levitate is taking the ethos of building a better, healthier, and environmentally friendlier community to the next level and proving that when a community comes together, great things can be accomplished on a global scale

We caught up with festival founder Dan Hassett to discuss this year’s lineup, the festival’s eco-friendly measure, and how the support of the local contingent has contributed to the overall success of Levitate Music & Arts Festival. Check out what he had to say below.

Live For Live Music: Levitate Music & Arts Festival began as the 10-year celebration of the surf and skate shop in Marshfield. Given its immense success in just a few short years, what deserves the credit for the major growth of the event?

Dan Hassett: Quality music and keeping it local. It’s an event I can genuinely stand behind and recommend to anybody. There are good people behind the event—my wife Jess, our staff, friends, family, partners, and everybody we hire and work with, as well as the town and the Fairgrounds—are all of the same mindset of having fun with the event and keeping it simple. It’s very refreshing and the fans appreciate it.

L4LM: With a grassroots festival, it seems crucial to have support from the local community. How important has that been in the success of Levitate?

DH: We’ve been fortunate to be able to make the event increasingly local on the ground level as it has expanded, and we have tremendous local support. We’re bringing national headliners to our hometown, but at the same time, we’re increasingly able to use the event to prop up and support other local businesses and vendors. We have more local bands on the event this year than ever before, and we’re really excited to have our first “HomeGrown Beer Tent” this year, which will feature eight of our favorite local beers, including our friends at Cisco Brewers, and local startups Stellwagen Brewery and Untold Brewery, with more to be revealed soon.

The Head and the Heart – All We Ever Knew (Live from Brick Lane, London)

[Video: The Head and the Heart]

L4LM: Top to bottom, this is a solid and well-rounded lineup. Anytime you can have Trey on the bill, you’re doing something right. How did it all come together for you this year, and what acts are you really stoked about?

DH: Thank you, we appreciate that! Trey has been on our minds since we started the event in 2013. Once he was in, we felt great and had a blast curating the rest of the lineup. There’s not a single act that I’m not excited about on this lineup, but beyond Trey, it’s cool to have Stick Figure on board. They’re friends of ours and have done the event each year and helped it grow—and now they’re exploding nationwide, and it’s great to see.

Slightly Stoopid, of course. The Head and the Heart is going to be massive. Lake Street Dive is an act I’m personally proud to have on the bill. I know for a fact that my wife and I will still be going to see them in 30 to 40 years. They’re a timeless act from our generation that has undeniable quality. Then, of course, the bands from our direct area—The Elovators, The Quins, Quadrafunk. These guys are leading the local scene, and I’m excited to see them crush it in front of thousands of fans.

Trey Anastasio Band “Push On ‘Til The Day” – LOCKN’ Festival 2016

[via LOCKN’ Music Festival]

L4LM: Outside of the music, what are some things that should be on people’s radars at the fest this year?

DH: We’re continuing to push our sustainability movement on site—no plastic bags, limited single-use plastic, reusable water and beer cups, single-stream recycling, etc. The town of Marshfield is currently in a debate about banning single-use plastic, so we’re using our event to show other businesses that this is the future, it is doable on a large scale, and if you’re standing against it, then you are on the wrong side of history.

In addition, we’re excited to roll out our HomeGrown Beer area, expanded local vendors, revamped yoga area, and kids area. I can’t name all the great things on site, but I want to note that we’re greatly expanding our Germination Station, which is an area hosted by our friend Peter Scavongelli at Every Bloomin’ Thing that teaches kids and adults about plants, soil, and growing your own food. Kids get a chance to learn how to plant seeds, replant tomato plants, touch worms— he kind of stuff that kids should be doing. It’s a very simple concept that is in line with the ethos of the event and Levitate as a whole, and it’s a great opportunity to use the event as a tool to have a positive impact on future generations.

Slightly Stoopid with Bob Weir & Karl Denson – “Franklin’s Tower”

[Video: Slightly Stoopid]

L4LM: Tell us a little about your own background and some live music experiences that got you involved in the scene.

DH: My dad was always blasting the Grateful Dead, Steel Pulse, Neil Young, and endless great music from every decade. I distinctly remember waking up to all this music blasting in our family kitchen in Hanover on a regular basis or sitting in the back of his car with his music blasting on road trips. As I got older, I’ve gone through phases of listening to all kinds of music, including a lot of punk rock in my teens (which I still love).

When my wife, Jess, and I started the Levitate Music & Arts Festival, I looked back at my dad’s music tastes and recognized that there was a timeless quality that served as a common denominator across all his music, regardless of genre. Now, I look for acts that have this same timeless quality, regardless of their popularity. I believe that bands with that quality will be successful and provide a great show for the fans, and I truly believe that within our lineups each year are the future Neil Youngs and Jerry Garcias.

L4LM: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat, Dan. Best of luck at this year’s festival, and keep doing what you’re doing!

Tickets for Levitate Music & Arts Festival are currently on-sale and can be purchased here. For event updates and additional information, join the Facebook Event page. For those interested in camping options, here is more info.

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