Category Archives: The Levitt Effect

Levitt venues

Pictured from L to R (top row): Levitt Pavilion Arlington; Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles; Levitt Shell Memphis; (bottom row): Levitt Pavilion Pasadena; Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks; Levitt Pavilion Westport.

Across the country, another spectacular season of Levitt concerts has come to a close, and we’re once again celebrating the undeniable power of free, live music to bring people together of all ages and backgrounds, creating stronger communities. Watch your favorite Levitt venue in action!

You may ask, who brings the Levitt program to life, year after year? Your local Friends of Levitt nonprofit, that’s who! Each Friends of Levitt manages, programs and fundraises for the 50 free concerts every year. This is an impressive feat when you consider the sheer number of acclaimed artists presented on a Levitt stage featuring a range of music genres; the first-rate production crews and state-of-the-art sound and lighting; as well as the additional programming and activities realized through local partnerships to create unforgettable evenings of free music under the stars. Rounding out the experience are the passionate volunteers whose friendly smiles and enthusiasm embody that warm sense of community found on Levitt lawns.

And yet the Friends of Levitt nonprofit is only part of the equation. Equally important is the community of supporters—audience members who donate on the lawn, businesses sponsoring shows, grants from foundations, and local family and individual donors—whose generous contributions ensure the free music continues each year at their Levitt venue. Continue reading

Mimi and Liz for Blog

Mimi Levitt and Liz Levitt Hirsch at the reopening of Levitt Westport, 2014

In many parts of the country, the name “Levitt” has become synonymous with “free outdoor concerts,” “revitalized spaces” and “citywide destinations” open to all. And for good reason—in 2015, more than 400 Levitt concerts will be presented in 16 cities, bringing the joy of free, live music to hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds across America, ensuring access to the arts and strengthening communities in the process. America’s largest free outdoor concert series is made possible, in part, by the generous philanthropy and forward-thinking vision of the Levitt family—the late Mortimer Levitt (1907-2005), whose humble beginnings inspired his lifelong love affair with free music under the stars, his wife Annemarie “Mimi” Levitt, and daughter Liz Levitt Hirsch. Since Mortimer’s passing in 2005, Mimi and Liz have taken the reins of their private family foundation, the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, and have led it with aplomb, honoring Mortimer’s legacy while directing more than $18 million in grants to support the core Levitt program of outdoor music venues presenting free concert series, along with other meaningful projects that invigorate communities through the arts. Continue reading

Levitt-AMP-Header_smallWith the first Levitt AMP Music Series launching soon, we’re thrilled to announce our new Levitt AMP website, your destination for all things Levitt AMP—from concert schedules to artist biographies to information about the unique places where each concert series will take place.

Which brings us to the topic of today’s post: place. Some people are born to a place. Others create it. The winners of the 2015 Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards fall into this second category. They are creators and activators, transforming underused sites—like a neglected horse farm in Lafayette, La., and abandoned railroad tracks in Cleveland, Miss.—into lively, music-filled community hubs as part of the inaugural Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series. Continue reading

Wedding bells, Peeps and everything in between

Levitt_Effect_Collage_alt_USE THISWith the excitement of the 2014 Levitt concert season winding down, you might find yourself wondering what becomes of that stretch of lawn you spent so many nights picnicking and dancing upon. As it turns out, quite a lot happens after the season ends!

Below are some fun and unexpected ways Levitt venues are being used both during and following the concert seasons, illustrating their role as year-round destinations.

Circles of life
We all know Levitt concerts are great places for dates. What’s more romantic than listening to incredible music on a warm summer evening under the stars? So it was only a matter of time before a Levitt Pavilion became the site of not just dates but an actual marriage ceremony! This past summer, Michele Frazier and Louis Cyr, a Texas couple who had their first date at Levitt Arlington, chose to return to the place where the magic started and tie the knot at the Levitt.

On a very different note, Levitt Arlington was also the site of a recent memorial service for a beloved local high school teacher. As a place where he and his family had always enjoyed spending time together, the Levitt was the most meaningful place to celebrate the life of this music lover taken too soon. As Cathy O’Neal, Communications Director at Levitt Arlington, explained, “It really struck home to us that this is such a big part of people’s lives now, not just where they come to hear a concert.” Continue reading

Levitt AMP Your City Grant AwardsOnline public voting process to select top 20 finalists

Calling all small to mid-sized cities across the country: America’s largest free outdoor concert series is about to get even larger, and the spotlight is on you!

Starting in 2015, Levitt’s national program of 300 free concerts across the country will increase to 400, thanks to an exciting, new matching grant opportunity—the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards. In addition to 100 more free concerts, Levitt AMP will broaden the geographic impact of the Levitt program by focusing on small and mid-sized cities. And in another first, the public will get to decide which 20 cities make it to the finals round through an online voting process to take place next fall. So get ready to rally your colleagues, friends and family members to vote and bring the joy of free, live music to your city! Continue reading

A sketch of the new Levitt Pavilion Houston at Willow Waterhole Conservation Reserve.

A sketch of the new Levitt Pavilion Houston at Willow Waterhole Conservation Reserve.

Levitt venue to open in 2021

Levitt’s vision for an America filled with thriving public spaces is one step closer to reality with recently announced plans to bring the Levitt program to Houston!

Houstonians will soon have a unique place in their city to experience free music under the stars. Levitt Pavilion Houston will be the first Levitt venue on a site dedicated to natural resource conservation. The new music venue will be part of the city’s 280-acre Willow Waterhole Conservation Reserve, a public park that provides needed flood relief, offers recreational amenities and, with the establishment of the Levitt program, will provide free access to the performing arts for all. Continue reading

Stellar performances, enthusiastic crowds made for an unforgettable year!

It may be fall, but we’re still thinking about the free concerts that filled the warm, evening air at the six Levitt venues across America. The 2013 season was packed with surprises, sing-alongs and stars both of the celestial and musical variety, celebrating the arts and community from coast-to-coast.

New performers, longer seasons, Levitt favorites and exciting events made for record-breaking attendance and the best season yet. With too many must-see concerts to mention, here are some of the highlights from 2013!

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The Playing for Change touring band.

The Playing For Change touring band will be appearing at six Levitt locations across America.

We’re thrilled to announce that the acclaimed World music group Playing For Change will headline the first-ever Levitt National Tour. Taking place over a three-week period next summer, the National Tour will stop at six Levitt locations—five existing venues (Arlington, Bethlehem, Los Angeles, Memphis and Pasadena) and one in the works (Denver). In addition to the concerts, the Tour will feature pre-concert conversations with the artists and drum circles, inviting the entire audience to participate.

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Levitt’s vision for an America filled with thriving public spaces is one step closer to becoming a reality with recently announced plans to bring the Levitt program to Denver!

A new Levitt Pavilion will be opening in Denver's Ruby Hill Park in 2016!The new Levitt Denver, located in the city’s expansive, 83-acre Ruby Hill Park just minutes from downtown, will be the seventh Levitt performance venue across the nation, joining the cities of Los Angeles; Memphis; Arlington, Texas; Bethlehem, Pa.; Pasadena, Calif.; and Westport, Conn. As part of the Levitt network, Levitt Denver will present 50 free concerts annually in a state-of-the-art outdoor venue open to all, featuring acclaimed, emerging talent to award-winning artists in a diverse range of music genres. The welcoming open lawn setting will be perfect for lawn chairs and picnics. Construction is expected to break ground in 2015, with free concerts to begin wowing Denverites in spring 2016. Continue reading

Levitt has the perfect recipe for summer fun

Nothing says “summer” like evenings filled with free, live music in a beautiful outdoor setting. Add yummy picnics with friends and family, then shake it up with dancing on an inviting, green lawn, and you’ve got the makings of an unforgettable summer. That’s exactly what six Levitt venues are serving up across America as Levitt Pavilions 2013 season datesthey launch their 2013 seasons of 300+ free concerts celebrating community, culture and the arts!

It all starts this week with a full slate of all-star performers—including artists new to Levitt stages and returning favorites—plus even more exciting special events and activities, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together in Levitt cities across the country.

Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect this summer at Levitt venues across the nation!
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