Denver’s new outdoor amphitheater Levitt Pavilion opened its gates last Thursday night in Ruby Hill Park. The venue was born out of the creation of The Friends of Levitt Pavilion Denver (FLPD), which is an a 501c(3) non-profit, and their primary mission is to build community through music. Levitt Pavilion will be hosting over 50 free concerts per year, as well as select ticketed events. Last Thursday’s opening night was filled with a ribbon cutting, speeches, and for the first time: music. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams and Andy Thomas’ Dust Heart took the stage and filled the grounds with tunes. Free shows are already booked through September for Levitt’s 2017 schedule, alongside some ticketed events including 311, Josh Abbott Band, and Cody Johnson.
Levitt Pavilion’s Community Outreach Director, Andy Thomas chatted with BolderBeat recently, and gave us some amazing insight on how Levitt Pavilion came to be and what we can expect from this venue throughout the summer, and for years to come. Read on:
How does Denver’s Levitt Pavilion compare to the other Levitt venues across the country?
The Levitt Foundation helps get all the venues started, but each cities’ venue operate as a separate non-profit. We all book free music; we all book family accessible music with diverse genres. We all try to make sure there is a low socioeconomic barrier for people trying to find and connect with local arts and music. We [Denver] are different in the way that we have a new venue- some of the older Levitts are refurbished bandshells and buildings. We are really lucky in that Denver’s venue is a brand new, state-of-the-art facility. We have a lot of advantages in creating our pavilion based on knowing how people want to experience music and how bands want to play music.
How do you think Levitt Pavilion Denver compares to the other outdoor venues in Colorado like Red Rocks, Fiddlers Green, or Botanic Gardens?
Every venue has its specialty. However, we are more centrally located and a mostly free outdoor concert experience. There is a bike trail and a lot of people in the neighborhood that can walk here. We hope we help offer a experience that may be a little easier of a commute, where people don’t necessarily have to make a day out of it.
Will the venue always be open seating?
We will bring in chairs for certain shows that may include an older audience demographic.
Do you have a ratio of how many local artists you will be booking versus national acts each year?
I don’t know about the ratio, but we do have local openers on every show, as well as a Colorado Music Series that features Colorado-based artists exclusively. So maybe a little over 50%.
How do you feel Levitt Pavilion will hold up in terms of being competitive enough to book alongside other local promoters/venues in town?
We are not trying to directly compete with anyone. If people want to do that with us, that's understandable because we are a new entity and were booking quality bands that other people would want to book. We have no interest in getting in a shooting match with anybody. We are a nonprofit at its core, and we have a very specific mission, and that's bringing community to music. That mission can’t succeed if we are distracted by what competitors are doing. We have a great relationship with a lot of independent promoters in town. We truly want to make sure we can bring the best artists we can to the venue.
Top three things that concertgoers should bring to a Levitt show?
BYOB (Bring your own blanket)
Open attitude (For artists you may have not heard of before)
Snacks (All of the snacks. Check our website for guidelines of what you can bring onto the grounds)
All photos per Joel Rekiel with BLDGBLKS Music Company. All videos and embedded tracks per the artist credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.