It’s the 10th anniversary of Levitt Shell, and Memphis is on our minds! To celebrate, we’re looking back on our “Meet The Artist” video, featuring four-time GRAMMY-winning artist and 2014 Levitt Shell performer, Booker T. Jones, best known for the band Booker T. & the M.G.’s. Jones was born and raised in Memphis as a musical prodigy – by age 18 he had already written the instrumental for “Green Onions,” which would become a massive radio hit in 1962 and spur the success of both his band and his solo career. Soon he was writing songs for Otis Redding and Eddie Floyd, all while attending Indiana University. He and his band won their first GRAMMY in 1995 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance thanks to their song “Cruisin’”. In 2007, Jones won the coveted Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY Award. In this video, we had the honor of speaking with the legend himself, learning a little more about his career-spanning connection to the Levitt Shell.
As born and bred Angelenos, Mayra Vega and Aaron Garcia can’t get enough of the unique and eclectic musical offerings of Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles in MacArthur Park. Every night is a new experience; whether it’s jazz and blues, cumbia, or even country music, Aaron and Mayra can rely on Levitt LA’s high-quality programming to enjoy the music they love and know, while expanding their horizons.
As a longtime Lehigh Valley resident, Levitt SteelStacks Board Member, Tito Negron, has experienced firsthand the transformation of Bethlehem, Pa.’s iconic, larger-than-life blast furnaces: from powerful steel-makers to devastating eyesores to pinnacles of the awe-inspiring backdrop to Levitt SteelStacks.
Growing up, Negron’s father used to work at Bethlehem Steel, which at its height was the country’s second largest steel producer, employing 30,000 workers. When the company closed in the early 2000s, Negron’s family was one of the many who had to move elsewhere in search of new employment opportunities. Today, Negron has returned to his hometown, where he is raising a family of his own.
In this Faces of Levitt video, Negron and his wife, Amy, explain why having access to a rich variety of free, live music is so important for their family. “To expose the kids to so many different kinds of music, weekly, is absolutely priceless,” says Amy. Levitt lawns provide clean and safe places where family members of all ages can enjoy free, live music. With Levitt SteelStacks in their backyard, the Negron family plans to call Bethlehem home for years to come!
In this Faces of Levitt video, longtime Bethlehem resident and Levitt SteelStacks volunteer Jeff Brodhead shares how going to free Levitt concerts and witnessing the revitalization of Bethlehem’s south side inspired him to get involved. “The music here is just wonderful,” says Brodhead. “Once you come here once, you’re coming back again.”
Be sure to thank your local Levitt volunteers this concert season, which starts in just a few months! And if you’re interested in volunteering with your local Levitt venue, each Friends of Levitt nonprofit has opportunities available during both the concert season and throughout the year. Click here to find out more!
The national network of Levitt venues presents 300+ free concerts a year— but that’s just one part of our mission.
Passionate about creative placemaking, the Levitt program reclaims underused public spaces—like crime-ridden parks and neglected bandshells—and turns them into thriving music destinations for all.
Take Levitt SteelStacks. Once a part of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, it became a toxic brownfield once the plant shuttered in the early 2000s. Partnering with local stakeholders, Levitt Pavilions helped transform the site into a focal point of the ArtsQuest complex, and since opening in 2011, Levitt SteelStacks has breathed new life into a depressed part of Lehigh Valley. Continue reading
There’s a lot of movin’ and shakin’ at Levitt concerts. At any given show you’re bound to spot heads bobbing, toes tapping and, of course, some dancing divas (and divos) transforming any stretch of lawn they can find into their own personal dance floors. Young Jack Tracy would definitely be in this last category. Continue reading
No, those blast furnaces aren’t just for show—although they certainly make an impression! In this Faces of Levitt feature, watch father and son audience members Bill and Joseph Deegan discuss the transformation of one of the nation’s largest brownfields into Levitt SteelStacks, a thriving arts and cultural campus that has won numerous design awards since its rehabilitation.
“I don’t think we could have asked for anything more than the Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks,” says Joseph. “I think it really brought a start to the revitalization of the South Side.”
Behind every great show at the Levitt is an equally great audio engineer like John Rupp. John is the man behind the control board night after night at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks in Bethlehem, Pa., ensuring that the concerts sound their best.
“The most rewarding thing about my job,” John says, smiling, “is watching people have a good time.” When he’s not at the Levitt, John is on the road touring in one of his many bands.
Learn more about John in this new Faces of Levitt video!
One of the reasons Levitt concerts are so special is that people from all backgrounds find a place on the Levitt lawn. So it’s not surprising that among the fans at a Levitt Los Angeles concert is Lucha Libre wrestling champion, Blue Fish. Continue reading
Jack Tracy is learning to ride his bike in the same park where he sees free, live kid’s concerts all summer long.
Jack and his mom, Natalie, live within walking distance of Pasadena’s Memorial Park, home to Levitt Pavilion Pasadena. “This park is a huge reason why we’re in this neighborhood,” says Natalie. “I never thought we’d find that in a city for our child.” Continue reading