Metal wasn’t the only thing that took center stage—punk also had a moment at Levitation this year. As part of Third Man’s showcase, Detroit rock veterans Easy Action, featuring members of legendary hardcore band Negative Approach, gave Hotel Vegas a blistering take on Stooges-esque raw boogie, as hooky as it was unpolished. One of the best performances happened on the venue’s patio: it featured Flipper, with the Jesus Lizard’s David Yow, who’s also the ex-vocalist of the seminal Austin punk band Scratch Acid, on vocals. Flipper’s turgid, grinding punk isn’t exactly party music, and that’s where Yow comes in, throwing around his abrasive charm—and having them perform in Austin again has been a long time coming. “We had them at Fun Fun Fun twice and they had to cancel, we had them at Barracuda with Pissed Jeans and they had to cancel, so the fourth time’s a charm,” says Johnny Sarkis, who assists in booking and artist relations for Levitation. “The energy was amazing, and David Yow fronting that band is fucking perfect.”

With a spike in heavy sounds and in its second year as a multi-venue setup across Austin’s downtown and the east side (following a 2016 cancellation due to severe weather at its former home, Carson Creek Ranch), Levitation looked a lot more like Chaos in Tejas, the long-deceased punk and metal festival that ran in the city from 2005 until 2013. (When I ran into Chaos founder Timmy Hefner outside Mohawk Sunday night, he was, appropriately, wearing a Grateful Dead sweatshirt.) Chaos was also head of the curve in getting moshers into electronic music, booking Oneohtrix Point Never before Daniel Lopatin was sending songs to Usher and scoring Adam Sandler films, and giving a platform for locals like S U R V I V E pre-Stranger Things breakout. Levitation’s booking has carried that part of Chaos’s spirit forward this year. Toronto’s TR/ST, whose cheery synth-pop belies a very goth darkness, on Thursday proved to be strong competition the same night Power Trip and High on Fire were playing, drawing as many metalheads and punks as dancers. For someone as steeped in electronic movements as local label Holodeck Records head Adam Jones (also of S U R V I V E and whose Troller played the fest this year), he digs it.

Levitation also reflects a cultural shift that Chaos helped build, with punks taking extremity and hard beats into other lanes. “There was a turn ten years ago when maybe the underground punk scene had their limit as far as innovation,” says Jones. “All of a sudden I saw a lot of people only concerned with punk and metal show open up to Container, or ‘maybe I do like Pharmakon,’ and that’s great.”

The psychedelic festival isn’t losing its identity lately by booking heavier bands—diversifying the genres of music it brings forward, in addition to the people that play it, is the way forward. Jumping around from Torche to John Cale to Flipper across several venues, and capping off the night with Beak>’s dub-trip-hop in a single Saturday, is a kind of cross-genre mashup that rarely happens anymore. It was thrilling and varied, like the SXSWs of old. “You go to these festivals in Europe and it’s all over the map stylistically, and it’s great to see American festivals embracing that diversity,” Matz says. “You can like Flipper and Explosions in the Sky and The Black Angels and Jay-Z. It’s allowed. It probably should happen,” Sarkis says. “How many reverb-y, Velvet Underground-sounding [bands] do you want to see for three days? It’s amazing for a while, but breaking it up, letting people see Flipper who want to see Flipper, is pretty important.”

Levitation has come a long way since its first edition at the Red Barn, a venue off Burnet Road that’s now home to pricey apartments next to expensive Neapolitan pizza and high-end ice cream. (No shade to Bufalina Due and Lick, but still.) The festival has grown, but it needs to evolve even more. Jones said he wants more hard bass music in the fest—let’s get that in there. All the metal shows were sold out—keep that up! There were no hip-hop or rap artists to speak of on the bill—there’s another way it can grow. Hell, if Travis Scott wants to lend some of his Astroworld muscle to Levitation sometime, the festival could be even more fun.