The Levitt AMP program is all about building community—through music, through partnerships and through engagement across sectors to help create more thriving and inclusive communities. Among the sectors touched by the Levitt AMP program are local businesses. Today, we’re shining the light on how organizers behind three Levitt AMP Music Series—Fort Smith, Ark., Stevens Point, Wis., and St Johnsbury, Vt.—have leveraged their respective music series to support local businesses and stimulate their creative economies while strengthening connections within their communities.
GRAMMY Award-winning blues sensation Ruthie Foster performs at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks on a recent August evening at the base of the iconic blast furnaces that once powered Bethlehem Steel.
Two Sundays ago, echoes of Ruthie Foster’s smooth blues vocals invited me onto the Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks lawn during on an otherwise quiet evening. Following my 90-minute drive to Bethlehem, Pa., from my hometown of Freehold in New Jersey, my anticipation grew as towering blast furnaces—rusted remnants of Bethlehem Steel, known as “the ruins”—came into view, welcoming me to the historic manufacturing hub-turned-arts campus. As I arrived at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks, I noticed a lush green lawn filled with the energy of a music-loving audience who showed up for the performance despite dark gray clouds and scattered showers earlier in the day. From couples snuggled into folding chairs to families lined up at food and beverage stations, to volunteers galore, the excitement for Foster’s free, live show was palpable.
This summer and fall, Levitt lawns across the country are once again filling with the sounds of free, live music. After a devastating pandemic year that forced us to be apart, Levitt venues and AMP grantees weren’t sure what to expect while planning their concert series, however record-breaking audiences have proven that people are ready to come back together and build community through the power of music. “People are just excited to be back,” said Lisa Wagner, executive director of Levitt Pavilion Dayton. “Greeting one another. Hugging each other. Picking up where they left off in many ways. There has been a real healing experience of what we missed in 2020.”
Healing is exactly what so many of us are needing following the past year. During that challenging time, the Levitt network pivoted to create virtual programming, mobile concerts, pop-up shows and more. These efforts not only helped people feel a sense of connection during a time of great uncertainty and isolation, but also gave artists an opportunity to share their music and brighten otherwise dark and challenging days.
Now that in-person Levitt concerts have returned, read on to learn more about the 2021 Levitt season and how you can experience some of these amazing free concerts, either in-person or virtually. Continue reading →
Along with Levitt AMP grantees, we co-presented 20 virtual concerts over 12 music-filled weeks this summer for the 2020 Levitt AMP Virtual Music Series. The amazing array of artists and spectacular sonic diversity soon left us hungry for more, so last month, we partnered with Levitt AMP grantees once again to present a new twist on the series: REMIX!
Viewers tuned in from far and wide for Episode II of REMIX
Featuring a curated selection of the most memorable musical moments from each concert, REMIX spanned three episodes, each premiering with a Friday night watch party on Facebook. We were thrilled to see people from all corners of the country tune into the broadcast, and loved reading all the comments left by Levitteers during the show! Even if you missed the premiere, you can still experience each episode of REMIX on our Vimeo channel — scroll down to start watching!
This past summer Levitt AMP took on the virtual concert space, and along the way, we got to know each community better through our Spotlight blog series. We’re incredibly inspired by the nonprofits that bring Levitt AMP to life, and we know you will be too—follow the links below to discover the compelling stories behind each Levitt AMP community!
Coal Avenue in Downtown Gallup, New Mexico. Photo courtesy: Cayla Nimmo
Tonight, Southwestern Blues-rocker and Navajo Nation artist Levi Platero performs an all-new livestream virtual concert as part of the Levitt AMP Virtual Music Series! Co-presented by Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District, the nonprofit behind the Levitt AMP Gallup Music Series, Platero is known for his captivating guitar acrobatics and stirring blues originals. Having earned a national following, Platero has a special connection to Gallup as he was born and raised in the neighboring Navajo Nation tribal land. Be sure to tune in tonight at 8pm ET/5pm PT at http://levittamp.org/virtual!
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 →
Sunday is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political accomplishments of women. On this day—and all throughout Women’s History Month (happening now!)—we celebrate the achievements of women around the globe and spread awareness of gender bias and inequality. In this vein, today we’re shining the spotlight on a few fearless females who have used their musical gifts to break barriers and help forge a more just and equitable world. Continue reading →
“Music’s Biggest Night” unfolded this past Sunday even as a cloud of controversy and grief hung over the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles. Performances by artists of all stripes abounded, and by the end of the night, 18-year old pop star Billie Eilish had swept all four of the top-billed categories. Among the class of more than 80 newly minted GRAMMY winners, we’d like to extend a special congratulations to the artists who have previously performed on a Levitt stage: Gary Clark Jr., Mariachi los Camperos, Sarah Watkins & Sarah Jarosz, Patty Griffin, PJ Morton, and Ranky Tanky!
November is National Native American Heritage Month. In 1990, this national month-long observance was created to acknowledge and celebrate the rich histories, diverse cultures and noteworthy contributions of indigenous communities. By leveraging the power of community partnerships and creative placemaking—the integration of arts and culture to engage communities—permanent Levitt venues have had the privilege of collaborating with Native American artists and organizations to help bring indigenous arts and culture into the spotlight. Read on to learn about the inspiring partnerships and performers that have brought indigenous arts to three permanent Levitt venues this past summer.