Levitt Pavilion’s second season of 50 free concerts begins this week

The New Respects kick things off on Thursday, May 30

Levitt Pavilion is back with a summer full of free music starting this week.

The second season featuring 50 free shows begins with the New Respects from Nashville on Thursday, May 30.

>> 50 free concerts in Dayton this summer

“It has been really exciting to see how our community is embracing it,” said Lisa Wagner, executive director for Friends of Levitt Pavilion Dayton. “The success of our first season is completely attributed to the community coming together. We had 26,000 people on the lawn for 33 concerts and that was in 59 days. This is going to be our first full season. Our commitment going forward is a minimum of 50 free concerts every summer for our community.”


Despite the shortened first season, according to a University of Dayton study, Levitt Pavilion had a positive economic impact on downtown Dayton.

>> How to make the most of your Levitt Pavilion experience

“Taking a very conservative average with one-third of the audience, we found they’re spending $20 a night within a six-block radius,” Wagner said. “For a full season of 16 weekends, that came out to be $248,256.”


Expanded to a one-mile radius, the estimated figure was $335,360. Using that basis, the study determined $60 per night for 16 weekends equates to $744,744 for a six-block radius and $1,006,056 for a one-mile radius.

“Those numbers surprised us,” Wagner said. “They said the typical number was $60 for a third of the audience, so $20 is very conservative. This year we’re doing 51 concerts and we had an average of 1,000 people on the lawn. If you extrapolate that out, it really gets to be an exciting number for people who are developing and we’re being seen as a catalyst for that.”

The new season, which runs through Sept. 26, continues its first weekend of programming with Reyna and the Rubi Girls on Friday, May 31, and Son Del Caribe on Saturday, June. 1.

Upcoming concerts run the gamut from jazz-flavored hip-hop act Sidewalk Chalk on June 15 and the Dayton Funk All-Stars on June 29 to Celtic group Socks in the Frying Pan on July 25, local bluegrass outfit the Repeating Arms on Aug. 16 and blues-rocker Eric Jerardi on Sept. 5.

“We were very intentional in our first year to be diverse in our programming across seven different genres,” Wagner said. “We learned there is growth in some of those genres. We paid attention and saw the lawn was very full on nights we had blues, R&B and funk so those genres have expanded in terms of the artists we have. What’s new for 2019 is we’re exploring reggae, gospel and classical music.

“What sets us apart from some of the other venues is we’re doing more of the emerging, up-and-coming artists,” Wagner added. “We have some well-known acts sprinkled in there, but the niche we want to serve is about connecting. It’s about connecting artists to new audiences, connecting people on the lawn to one another and connecting sponsors to new audiences and constituents.”


May 30: The New Respects

May 31: Reyna and the Rubi Girls

June 1: Son Del Caribe

June 6: Ruthie Foster

June 7: The Slackers

June 8: Canaan Cox

June 13: AJ Croce

June 14: Carillon Brass

June 15: Sidewalk Chalk

June 16: Okee Dokee Brothers

June 20: Horse Feathers

June 21: Flor De Toloache

June 22: Matt Beilis

June 27: The Accidentals

June 28: Randy Villars Band

June 29: Dayton Funk All-Stars

July 11: Hannah Gill

July 12: Dave Greer's Classic Jazz Stompers

July 13: The Right Now

July 18: Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle

July 19: Mojoflo

July 20: Paige Beller & Kyleen Downes

July 21: Movie Night: "The Greatest Showman" Sing Along at dusk

July 25: Socks in the Frying Pan

July 26: Angela Perley

July 27: Kevin Burt

Aug. 1: Royal Wood

Aug. 2: Ernie Johnson From Detroit

Aug. 3: Keith Harrison

Aug. 8: Vanessa Collier

Aug. 9: Discover Classical's Young Talent Search

Aug. 10: Sharon Lane and the Guilty Pleasures

Aug. 15: House of Hamill

Aug. 16: The Repeating Arms

Aug. 17: Parsonfield

Aug. 18: Michael & the Rockness Monsters

Aug. 22: Quiana Lynell

Aug. 23: Spirit of Freedom

Aug. 24: Moira and Human Cannonball

Aug. 29: Jah Soul

Aug. 30: Making Movies

Aug. 31: Tonya Baker

Sept. 5: Eric Jerardi Band

Sept. 6: The Sanae-Braxton Collaborative

Sept. 7: Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band

Sept. 12: Deva Mahal

Sept. 13: HuDost

Sept. 14: Casee Allen

Sept. 15: Gustafer Yellowgold

Sept. 19: World House Choir

Sept. 20: TBA

Sept. 21: Noah Wotherspoon


Who: The New Respects

Where: Levitt Pavilion, South Main Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, Dayton

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 30

Cost: Free

More info: www.levittdayton.org

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