If you haven’t been to Dayton’s newest outdoor music venue yet, you are missing out.
Rising national stars and hometown favorites are on the lineup for the inaugural season of free concerts downtown. Performers so far have included Gina Chavez, Paul Thorn and the Blind Boys of Alabama and Sol Driven Train, among others.
This week’s shows include a mix of local and national faves, including a kids music show parents are guaranteed to love and a Hometown Heroes celebration.
Recommended for you
Recommended for you
Recommended for you
6 BEST LEVITT PAVILION HACKS
Here are 6 things you should do when visiting Levitt Pavilion, a state-of-the-art venue that debuted Aug. 9 at Dave Hall Plaza in downtown Dayton:
• Bring in lawn chairs or/and blankets
• Carry in your alcohol and other beverages (no glass)
• Bring along leashed, well-behaved dogs
• Take advantage of indoor restrooms when nature calls
• Bring in outside food (Heck, Wagner said you can have a fancy picnic if you want.)
• Shake their bodies on the dance floor
“You can even dance where you are seated and no one is going to yell at you,” said Lisa Wagner, the executive director of Levitt Pavilion Dayton. “We are on a slope.”
Lawn seating will be able to accommodate as many as 5,000 people.
The outdoor amphitheater located adjacent to Crown Plaza hotel will offer a total of 34 free concerts this season, continuing through Oct. 7 by a list of musicians known locally, nationally and internationally, playing a range of music that includes jazz, rock, blues, folk, R&B, country, pop, world and children’s music.
There’s one thing people will not need for the 34 shows set to be staged at the public park through early October: tickets.
There will be some fundraising events next year, but each of this year’s 34 shows are free.
“It is fun to be able to say you don’t need tickets,” Wagner said.
Her office has fielded emails and phone calls about upcoming shows from music fans who live as far away as Georgia.
GRAND OPENING WEEK A BIG HIT
This season kicked off with multi-ethnic Latin pop songstress Gina Chavez on Aug. 9.
Organizers plan to have at least 50 free concerts next year and each year that follows.
The Levitt Pavilion Dayton fundraising efforts have been lead by the nonprofit Friends of Levitt Pavilion Dayton and supported by the city of Dayton and the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation.
Wagner said the pavilion follows the foundation’s principle of bringing the community together through music.
Friends of Levitt Pavilion Dayton raised $5 million for the pavilion in about two years.
WHERE TO PARK
Concertgoers are encouraged to park on surrounding streets free after 6 p.m. or at the Oregon District Garage (previously known as the Transportation Garage) located nearby at 101 E. Fifth St.
That garage’s parking is $1 after 6 p.m.
“Montgomery County will also open up its (Reibold) garage to us,” Wagner said.
That garage is located near the corners of Fifth and Main streets.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Food will be available for purchase from food trucks during concerts and there will be beer and wine.
Wagner said downtown businesses plan to take advantage of the expected influx of people.
Third Perk Coffeehouse and Wine Bar, 46 E. Fifth St. near the Reibold Building garage, plans to sell single serving $5 plastic bulbs of wine and carry and go picnic packages to those heading to the concerts.
The picnic packs will include wine, sandwich wraps and other goodies for $10 each.
Juanita Darden-Jones, Third Perk’s owner and an advocate for downtown, has high hopes for the exposure and foot traffic possibilities the pavilion has for her businesses and those that surround it.
“I am really excited to see how the community embraces it,” she said. “Not just for my business, but how it brings people together downtown.”
Third Perk will offer seating on its patio before, during and after concerts, Darden-Jones said.
Other business are also in getting in the act.
Wagner said Crafted and Cured, 531 Wayne Ave. in the Oregon District, for instance, will be selling crowlers of beer (32 ounce cans of beer) and artisan meat and cheese cones.
Downtown Dayton Partnership Executive Director Sandy Gudorf said downtown and Oregon District restaurants and brewpubs will be open for those hoping to grab a drink or a meal before or after the concerts.
She said the pavilion will be an economic boon for downtown Dayton, which has experienced steady growth in recent years.
It is an amenity that will help breweries, pubs and restaurants and will offer even more things for visitors and residents to experience, she said.
“It is about bringing more people downtown and getting them out exploring,” Gudorf said. “We are a community of small businesses. Venues like this draw people into (our) businesses. We see this as a unique opportunity, an economic driver to help our downtown businesses.”