Since opening in downtown Dayton in 2018, the Levitt Pavilion has fulfilled its mission and made good on its promise to bring people together and build community through the shared experience of music, said Madeline Hart, the organization’s director of marketing and communications.
“At the last concert of the season, we saw people hugging goodbye, almost grieving the end of the season, hugging staff and wishing us well until next time,” Hart said. “Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday (during the warmer weather months) we see folks from every walk of life dancing together.”
The Levitt Pavilion Dayton is located at 134 S. Main St., on what has long been known as Dave Hall Plaza, between Fourth and Fifth streets. The pavilion hosted its final free concert of the year on Saturday, Sept. 16.
Supporters say the 2023 season was another success, given that the Levitt’s free concerts attracted sizable crowds, with quite a few shows bringing out 4,000 to 6,000 audience members. The average attendance was over 1,600.
The largest concert this year was the Dayton Funk All-Stars, on Sept. 9, which drew more than 6,800 people.
The pavilion’s largest shows ever include the Ohio Players in 2021 (10,000 visitors) and Lakeside in 2022 (8,700 visitors). The Levitt hosts 40 to 50 free concerts every year, featuring a wide range of musical artists and genres.
After six seasons, the outdoor music venue has developed a loyal following of music-lovers and fun-seekers from the Dayton region and beyond.
Audience surveys found that pavilion visitors came from 125 unique zip codes in 2023, up from 116 in 2022, Hart said.
And that’s just the free concert series. The pavilion is rented out for special events, and the property serves as a park space the rest of the time.
Hart said the Levitt not only brings people downtown, it pumps money into the urban center.
Surveys show that about one-third of Levitt visitors spend about $60 in the downtown area before and after shows, which had an estimated economic impact of about $1.5 million this year alone.
Many people have called the Levitt “downtown’s living room.” Supporters cited audience members from diverse backgrounds having met and developed relationships at the venue, creating experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have.