Everything you need to know about opening week at Levitt Pavilion

Lisa Wagner has spent good chunks of time talking about what people will be able to do at Levitt Pavilion, a state-of-the-art venue debuting this week at Dave Hall Plaza in downtown Dayton.

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• Bring in lawn chairs or/and blankets

• Carry in your alcohol and other beverages (no glass)

• Bring along leashed, well-behaved dogs

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• 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 Wagner, the executive director of Levitt Pavilion Dayton. “We are on a slope.”

The Levitt Pavilion Dayton will celebrate its opening with a concert on August 9, just a short fourteen months after getting the green light for the project in downtown Dayton. TY GREENLEES / STAFF (Ty Greenlees)

Lawn seating will be able to accommodate as many as 5,000 people.

The outdoor amphitheater located adjacent to Crown Plaza hotel will offer 34 free concerts this week 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.

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This season will kick off 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, with a performance by multi-ethnic Latin pop songstress Gina Chavez.

Two-time Grammy-winning jazz Paul Brown will take the stage 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, as part of a show with Chris Standring.

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.

Gina Chavez will open the first season at Levitt Pavilion on Aug. 9, 2018. CONTRIBUTED (Staff Writer)

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.


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.

RELATED: Interest in Dayton’s new Levitt Pavilion leads to daily requests to buy tickets...which are free

The Levitt Pavilion Dayton will celebrate its opening with a concert on August 9, just a short fourteen months after getting the green light for the project in downtown Dayton. TY GREENLEES / STAFF (Ty Greenlees)


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.

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“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.

Joey Williams, Ben Moore, Jimmy Carter, Ricky McKinnie and Paul Beasley of the Blind Boys of Alabama.

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.

RELATED: Get a peek at new downtown Dayton outdoor music pavilion

“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.”

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