by Ryan Smith
Gem and Glenn Hotvet, the co-owner couple behind San Antonio's scrappy, beloved art space K23, will venture to Arneson River Theater next fall for a new psychedelic music festival they're calling "Pysch Del Rio."
The fest is not only a welcome addition to SA's burgeoning music landscape, but also a major development for one of the city's grooviest art and music hubs. Founded in June 2014, K23 began as an art gallery focused on showing and curating selections from local visual artists. At first, concerts were sporadic. But it seems Gem and Glenn eventually developed a talent for booking high quality national touring bands to play alongside local talent, while also crafting a unique performance space with special lighting, art, and projections for each show.
All of which is to say that a downtown music festival put on by K23's proprietors is just the kind of weird, outside-the-box event this city could use more of. While the organizers haven't yet teased their lineup, consider the broad spectrum of genres hosted by the Hotvets, from Golden Dawn Arkestra's exotic amalgamation of cosmic jazz-fusion to the ferocious fuzz of Destruction Unit and the chill, tropical psych sounds of Boogarins. K23's calendar is a spectrum of strange, outside-the-mainstream art and sound, a reflection of the DIY drive and community-oriented ethos behind the space.
K23 starts its inaugural psych fest at the perfect time, too. This past year, severe weather put a stop to Austin's Levitation festival (formerly known as Austin Psych Fest), canceling widely-anticipated performances by Brian Wilson, Animal Collective and Melody's Echo Chamber. Levitation organizers have already announced that they're taking a hiatus in 2017 as they regroup and plan for a comeback the following year.
It had appeared Texas would go not one but two years without a major psychedelic music festival – that is, until now. That's part of what makes the prospect of Psych Del Rio so intriguing. Beyond filling a void in San Antonio, the festival has the potential to make an even bigger splash.