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 →
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.
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 →
Hold onto your hats—tomorrow night Cleveland, Miss. will be hit by a whirlwind of country, folk and soul when The Memphis Dawls take the Levitt AMP Cleveland stage. Hailing from Memphis, Tenn., these contemporary folk sweethearts made their Levitt debut last year in their hometown with a memorable performance at Levitt Shell.
With a sound that’s part folk, part country and part gospel (and musical mentors like Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt), the Memphis Dawls honor the legacy of folk music while infusing their own contemporary flare. Continue reading →
Here in Los Angeles, we’re looking out our window at some much needed rain. Although rain has a way of putting a damper on many outdoor activities, it sure didn’t stop folks at Levitt Shell from enjoying a fantastic show when the 2015 Levitt National Tour came to town earlier this summer.
We thought we’d use this #musicmoves post to give a shoutout to Black Violin and all the Levitteers who came out for the Levitt National Tour, which stopped in six Levitt locations across the country.Thank you for bringing your energy and enthusiasm to each of Black Violin’s performances, and making the 2015 Levitt National Tour such a success!
Keep sharing your Levitt concert pics on Twitter and Instagram with #musicmoves for your chance to win a $100 iTunes gift card—there will be a winner every month through October 31! See the #musicmoves August winner.
If you happen to be near Memphis, Tenn., this weekend, you’re in for a treat, because The Suffers—who’ve already taken Levitt lawns in Arlington, Texas and Lafayette, La. by storm this season—will be heading to Levitt Shell this Friday night! This ten-piece retro soul band hailing from Houston, Texas, will be serving up a healthy portion of what they call “Gulf Coast Soul.”
In a recent interview, Kam Franklin—the band’s fiery vocalist—explained how the group came to define their sound as “Gulf Coast Soul:” “When I think of the Gulf, I think of good food, humidity, diverse cultures, and this is all reflected in the Suffers. We come from different backgrounds, but it all comes together in our band and we create a gumbo of music. It might not make sense on paper to put a Latin percussionist with a gospel singer with a classically trained saxophonist with a jazz drummer, but for us, it works.” Continue reading →
Growing up with GRAMMY-winning zydeco artist Terrance Simien as her father, Marcella René Simien always knew she wanted to be on stage. By the age of 14, she was performing and touring with her father’s band, appearing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Festival International de Louisiane and the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, among others.
Marcella and Her Lovers performing at the Levitt AMP Lafayette Music Series. Photo by Sara Virginia Yongue.
Looking to kick back, relax and enjoy free live music under the stars this Independence Day weekend? Grab your picnic basket and head to your local Levitt for a celebration music lovers of all ages will enjoy. Continue reading →
This week, Black Violin is heading west, where they will be giving two performances in southern California: Levitt Los Angeles (6/26) and Levitt Pasadena (6/27). So if you’re in the area, come out and join the fun! You don’t want to miss this dynamic duo.
Both shows begin at 8pm. Arrive early, at 7pm, with your violin for a free music workshop led by Black Violin and stick around for a lively post-show Q & A with the artists!
To see more #musicmoves, check out our live feed and be sure to share your own photos on Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win a $100 iTunes gift card!