Author Archives: Nicole McGaffey

Reflecting our mission that all Levitt projects be community-driven, we’re once again opening the grant selection process to YOU! This year, 33 applicants were invited to advance to the online public voting phase and we’re calling on you to help determine which of them will make it into the Top 25. Now through November 20 at 5pm PST, vote for up to five Levitt AMP proposals to help bring your favorite applicants one step closer to transforming an underused public space into a thriving community-wide destination through the power of free, live music. Happy voting!

2019_Kody_West
Tonight, homegrown rising star Kody West is bringing his fresh blend of Texas country, bluegrass and ‘good-for-the-soul’ grooves to Levitt Pavilion Arlington. As the name of West’s 2017 debut album Green suggests, he and his band are young, vibrant and growing quickly. With thoughtful guitar-driven songs and smoky, heartfelt vocals, this quartet of early 20-somethings is emerging as a rising star in the Texas music scene. Continue reading

What is parking day?
Held the third Friday of every September (tomorrow!), Park(ing) Day transforms parking spaces across the globe into enlivened pocket parks or parklets—like succulent gardens, pop-up yoga sessions and dog-filled ‘barklets.’ For one day a year, Park(ing) Day inspires citizens, artists and activists to work together to reimagine urban communities with more open spaces.

Who/what brought this global urbanist holiday to life?
In 2005, San Francisco-based art and design studio Rebar converted a single metered parking space into a temporary mini park in the heart of the city’s downtown. The project was created in response to the fact that, at the time, 70 percent of the city’s public spaces were devoted to private vehicles. The Rebar team selected a parking space in a concrete-heavy area of the city, popped a few coins in the meter, rolled out living grass and added a bench and potted tree. Within minutes, the team saw curious passersby step into the space and interact with one another. “We created an opportunity for social interaction that wasn’t there before,” they remarked in a 2017 Citylab interview.

How do you celebrate?
Rebar’s original installation has gone on to inspire communities across the globe to participate in Park(ing) Day. To join the fun, contact your local American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) chapter to learn how you can get involved and experience a temporary parklet near you.

Happy Park(ing)—send us your parklet pictures!

Reverend Sekou Spotlight header
Tonight, noted activist, theologian, author, documentary filmmaker and musician, Reverend Osagyefo (oh-sah-GG-fo) Uhuru (ooh-WHO-roo) Sekou (SAY-koo) wraps up the 2019 Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series with his Nashville blues band The Freedom Fighters—and next week, they’ll take their fiery fusion down to Chattanooga, Tenn. (9/12) and Berea, Ky. (9/13). Born in St. Louis, and raised in the rural Arkansas Delta, Rev. Sekou’s fervent anthems weave together Arkansas Delta Blues, Memphis soul, 1970s funk and gospel. Drawing upon his background in music, ministry and advocacy, Rev. Sekou preaches high-energy messages of hope and empowerment, steeped in Southern soul. Continue reading


Tomorrow night, living cumbia legend La Sonora Dinamita brings its iconic Colombian rhythms, fiery horn lines and powerhouse vocals to Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles for the fourth time! Known for their historic Latin music taste-making, the group’s contagious tropical beats have helped to popularize cumbia music throughout Latin America and across the globe. Angelenos are in for an unforgettable night of danceable, “dynamite sounds” (as the band’s name loosely translates). In honor of tomorrow’s show, here’s 10 fun facts about this longstanding cumbia supergroup. Continue reading

2019_summer-music-moves-2As summer draws to a close, music-loving moviegoers are invited to celebrate the lasting legacies of two of modern-day music’s most influential artists, The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen. Following a steady flow of music-driven film releases over the past year—from the Oscar-winning music drama, A Star is Born (October 2018); to the foot-stomping Queen celebration, Bohemian Rhapsody (November 2018); to Sir Elton John’s epic musical fantasy biopic, Rocketman (May 2019)—this summer brought the release of Yesterday (June 2019) and Blinded by the Light (August 2019).

Yesterday and Blinded by the Light put music front and center, with each film celebrating the prolific, award-winning catalog of an industry-shaping artist. Told from the fan’s perspective, the films invite audiences to rediscover the work of The Beatles and The Boss alongside its main characters—reminding us all of their musical genius and the universal appeal of their work. Read on to learn more about these two films and the timeless music that inspired them! Continue reading

2019_cha_waTomorrow night, GRAMMY-nominated New Orleans brass band-meets-Mardi Gras Indian outfit Cha Wa brings their funk-laced beats and bass-heavy sousaphone to Levitt Pavilion Westport—just days before they head to Sheboygan, Wis., to close out the 2019 Levitt AMP Sheboygan Music Series next Thursday night! Audiences are in for a vibrant taste of a New Orleans street party. Led by the warm, gritty vocals of lead singer J’Wan Boudreaux, Cha Wa infuses reggae, gospel, funk and old-school R&B into the booming sound of a traditional New Orleans brass band to create high-energy, eclectic fusions that honor the city’s rich Mardi Gras Indian heritage. The band’s name itself, which loosely translates to “we’re comin’ for ya,” is a traditional Mardi Gras Indian rallying cry that’s heard throughout the streets of New Orleans each Mardi Gras.

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2019_Gangstagrass
At the unexpected intersection of hip-hop and bluegrass, you’ll find the genre-busting New York City five-piece, Gangstagrass—who is bringing their fresh musical fusion to Levitt AMP Stevens Point tonight and Levitt AMP Galva this Sunday! Seamlessly weaving together banjo, fiddle and soaring three-part-harmonies with rap vocals and beats, Gangstagrass creates a one-of-a-kind sound Rolling Stone describes as “…the best argument yet for a rap and country music marriage.”

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farahsirajspotlightgraphicsTonight, Levitt AMP Whitesburg will be graced by international Arabic flamenco jazz sensation, Farah Siraj—who’ll light up the stage with entrancing trilingual (Arabic/English/Spanish) fusions of Middle Eastern music, flamenco, jazz, bossa, pop and more. For today’s post, we’re bringing you 10 fun facts about this renowned singer/multi-instrumentalist, whose music serves as a medium for peace and celebration of the global community’s rich diversity.

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FlorBlogHeader
Edgy, versatile and fresh, Latin GRAMMY-winning 2019 Levitt National Tour artist Flor de Toloache is winning the hearts of Levitteers across the nation this summer. Much like the Toloache flower—known for its use in Mexican ‘love potions’—the ladies of Flor De Toloache are casting a spell over Levitt audiences with their soaring bilingual harmonies, playful gritos and magnetic stage presence. With three tour stops under their belt (SteelStacks, Sioux Falls and Dayton), ‘Las Flores’ are headed to Levitt Shell Memphis for their fourth tour stop this Friday and will wrap up the week with a Levitt Pavilion Arlington performance on Saturday (click here to check out all 2019 Levitt National Tour stops). August will bring them to Levitt Pavilion Denver and closing out the tour at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles, capping off a tour that brought them to seven Levitt stages coast to coast as part of this year’s Levitt National Tour. In addition to their Levitt National Tour performances, the ladies of Flor de Toloache will grace Levitt AMP stages in Carson City, Nev., and Woonsocket, R.I. this summer. Continue reading