Before and after photos of the public space home to Levitt AMP Middlesboro concerts
Once a vacant gravel lot in the middle of town surrounded by decaying infrastructure, “Performance Park” in downtown Middlesboro, Ky. is now a lush green space with a state-of-the art stage built by local volunteers through a donation. For the past five summers, it’s been home to the Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series, which has delivered free, live music under the stars to thousands of people in the community on Thursday nights.
Southern Avenue performing at Levitt AMP Middlesboro in 2019
Although live concerts won’t return to Levitt AMP Middlesboro until 2021 due to COVID-19, the series is bringing music to the community virtually for the first time ever tonight as part of the 2020 Levitt AMP Virtual Music Series! Featuring an all-new performance from GRAMMY-nominated Memphis blues group Southern Avenue, the show premieres at 8pm EDT / 5pm PDT. Following a thrilling show at Levitt AMP Middlesboro last summer, Southern Avenue is sure to bring a polished, energetic performance to the digital space.
Tonight, the Levitt AMP Virtual Music Series continues with a throwback to one of the most memorable nights of Levitt AMP Carson City’s 2019 season. Tune in to enjoy full concert footage of Tribal Celtic powerhouse The Wicked Tinkers delivering an exhilarating performance to more than 3,000 concertgoers from The Change Companies stage at the Brewery Arts Center. The virtual show celebrates Carson City’s communal effort to save a community treasure and transform an underused downtown into a thriving arts destination.
What a difference five years can make
Nestled just minutes from world famous Lake Tahoe, bustling Reno, historic Virginia City and the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range, Carson City has aptly been described as “the centerpoint of your Nevada experience.” Boasting exciting new opportunities for residents to work, play and connect, it’s no surprise that the city’s population of more than 55,000 is growing larger and more diverse. Five years ago, walking down Main Street in Nevada’s capital city would have felt like a different street altogether. The city had just started work on the last leg of a new freeway linking Reno and Carson City. This new stretch of road would go on to increase regional and national traffic flow, and decrease through-traffic congestion through the heart of downtown Carson City. This pivotal infrastructure change laid the groundwork for Carson City’s historic downtown to become a more visitor and resident-friendly destination. With significant changes underway, the City had also just approved redevelopment plans for the downtown area, but the arts were not yet a part of the revitalization strategy.
Historic photo of Carson Brewing Company; Courtesy of Nevada Historical Society
For the past five summers, Thursday nights in the town of Sheboygan, Wis., have become synonymous with community and free, live music under the setting sun. “It’s this feel-good moment of coming together, as everyone knows that’s the night of the Levitt AMP Sheboygan Music Series!” says Angela Ramey of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC), the nonprofit behind Levitt AMP Sheboygan.
And so it’s fitting that tonight, Thursday June 25, marks Levitt AMP Sheboygan’s entry into the 2020 Levitt AMP Virtual Music Series with the exhilarating brass and street funk fusion of Chicago-based LowDown Brass Band, plus an opening set by Florida-based R&B soul artist CeCe Teneal. The concert, recorded live last summer during the Levitt AMP Sheboygan Music Series, was a natural choice for Ramey and her fellow Levitt AMP Sheboygan organizers. “It was such a joyful and uplifting night of music that was truly a shared experience between the artists and our audience,” explained Ramey. “There was something for everybody.”
Levitt loves musicians.
They nourish our souls, fuel our imaginations and get us movin’ and groovin’. Whether in person or virtually, musicians—like Levitt—bring people together of all ages and backgrounds, creating moments of joy and shared connection for us all. Continue reading
This summer, Levitt AMP communities coast to coast are bringing the joy of free, live music straight to you with the Levitt AMP Virtual Music Series! The 20-concert series co-presented by the Levitt Foundation launches tonight at 8pm EDT/5pm PDT with a one-of-a-kind evening curated, produced and presented by the Levitt AMP Galva team. The virtual show will include intimate performances and interviews with acclaimed homegrown artists Chicago Farmer and Edward David Anderson, along with footage from a newly released mini-documentary about the Levitt AMP Galva Music Series—giving viewers a taste of what makes the rural town of Galva, Ill., such a vibrant place to call ‘home’ and why supporting the area’s creative economy is so vital.
A community-driven effort, decades in the making
Nestled in Northwest Illinois, the 2,500-person community of Galva is one of many small rural communities that make up Henry County. Once home to an utopian-esque Swedish settlement, this historic and culturally-rich county has been shaped by agriculture, industry, Swedish artisan craft traditions, and, more recently…live music.
Bringing free, live music to Galva became a reality in 2018 with the inaugural Levitt AMP Galva Music Series, yet this community-wide effort has been decades in the making. For the past 30 years, the dedicated volunteers of the Galva Arts Council (GAC)—many of whom are still active—have worked together to position art as a community-building tool and have built a culture of volunteerism, laying the groundwork for the Levitt AMP Music Series to succeed. With robust experience rallying support for community arts experiences, like the launch of the GAC’s Coffeehouse Music Series in 1992, series organizer and Henry County native John Taylor saw the GAC as a natural fit to lead the Levitt AMP effort. Continue reading
Left to right: Wildermiss, Charlie Wood, Carson McHone
May is here, and with it another round of virtual concerts from permanent Levitt venues! Following a full day of live-streaming during #GivingTuesdayNow, another fantastic batch of shows is on the horizon — read on to discover the artists Levitt venues are bringing to your screen this month. Continue reading
Musical instruments are a fantastic way to channel your creative energy while staying at home, but they’re most enjoyable (both for you and, ahem, those you live with) when you actually know how to play them. If you’ve been noodling around on that dusty guitar or keyboard for a few weeks, now is the perfect time to start taking lessons. Ads for celebrity-taught music classes on platforms like Masterclass have been highly visible across the internet lately, but there’s also a wealth of musical knowledge right in your community: local musicians! In addition to enriching your musical knowledge, taking lessons from a local artist is also an excellent way to support their wellbeing.
Left to right: Esme Patterson, Jenny and the Mexicats, Brainstory
Across the country, permanent Levitt venues and Levitt AMP grantees are taking to social media to broadcast virtual concerts you can enjoy from home. While we all miss the in-person concert experience, these streams allow us to transcend the confines of geography and experience live music together in an entirely new way. We’ll continue to update this list of virtual Levitt concerts as more are added. Happy virtual concertgoing! Continue reading
Even in times of looming uncertainty, music has the power to relieve stress, improve our cognition and help us feel happy. It’s easy to take these benefits for granted, but now more than ever, it’s vital to recognize the people who make it possible: musicians.
Across the country, concerts, tours, and festivals have been postponed or cancelled, leaving many musicians facing a devastating financial reality. On average, live events account for about 70% of an artist’s income — up from about a third in the 1990s — making the current situation especially dire. Just as communities come together to enjoy music, we can also come together to support artists and show how much we value their music. Here are some things you can do right now to help.
The 2020 GRAMMY nominations are in, and 17 artists who have performed on Levitt stages in the past are up for awards! There’s a lot to be excited about among this crop of nominees — Tank and the Bangas, who performed at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles and Levitt AMP Chattanooga in 2017, are competing in the prestigious category of Best New Artist alongside the likes of Lizzo and Billy Eilish, and Gary Clark Jr., who performed at Levitt Shell Memphis in 2011, scored four nominations for his monolithic rock album This Land. Read on for a full list of past Levitt performers in contention for 2020 GRAMMY Awards, and catch the ceremony on January 26, 2020!