A 7,500-person amphitheater on Santa Fe will host 50 free shows a year

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While Ruby Hill Park is a popular sledding spot during the winter months, starting June 2016 the park (near South Platte River Drive and West Florida Avenue) will be home to fifty free concerts a year. Work will begin on the 7,500-person Levitt Pavilion next spring.

"Our entire mission is to build a community through music and by providing free access to music," says Chris Zacher, executive director of Levitt Pavilion Denver.

With six Levitt music venues around the country in cities like Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Memphis (each of which are housed in refurbished '50s-era band shells), the Denver venue will be the seventh Levitt location in nation, and Houston is slated to open in 2017. Zacher says the goal is to have thirty Levitt outdoor music venues open in the next twenty years, and all other future venues will be brand new, built from the ground up.

"The goal is to have enough of these so we can route bands nationally," Zacher says. "We only deal with emerging artists. We're not playing in the same pit with AEG or Live Nation. That's not our purpose. We're a not-for-profit model."

According to the organization's website, "Levitt Pavilions is a national nonprofit that exists to strengthen the social fabric of America." It's the only national network of outdoor music venues presenting the largest free concert series in America. Each Levitt venue is managed and programmed by a local Friends of Levitt Pavilion nonprofit organization with support from the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation.

Zacher says the organization generally goes in cites with a population of more than 1 million that under-utilized park spaces or public spaces in the urban core. "They come to the city and put together a public-private partnership to build these concert venues to increase access to the arts," he adds.

Zacher says they've partnered with City of Denver, who are paying $2 million, and Levitt Pavilion Denver will be raising an addition $2 million for the project. One event to raise funds for the project is the Sounds of Levitt Benefit Gala at Ruby Hill Park on Tuesday, July 1 with a cocktail reception, dinner and music by Ark Life and Alpha Schoolmarm Orchestra. While tickets are $150, Zacher says every dollar will go back into the facility and making sure it gets built on time. Playing for Change, a band whose members are from various parts of the world and who are trying to increase access to the arts through the communities that they visit, will play a free show at the park on Wednesday, July 2. Both events start at 5 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.

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Levitt Pavilion Denver

Ruby Hill Park, Denver, CO

Category: Music

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20 comments
Keith Olsen
Keith Olsen

Access?? Parking?? Crime riddled neighborhood?? That should go over well. The KKK used to hold their rallies at Ruby Hill during the 1920's. That tradition is certainly less than inspiring.

Candie Bernard
Candie Bernard

I love this idea. Above, it says next year and in the article it says 2016. Does anyone know which is accurate?

Rob Jennings
Rob Jennings

Free shows are the wave of the future but you have to execute a strong fundraising program to sustain. Over time these things can peter out if not managed properly. I hope they're not being too overly ambitious.

Diana Chadwick
Diana Chadwick

Totally blows... Ruby Hill park is about to be trampled and the roads around it are in no way designed for this volume... and no real parking. So much for the small intimate groups, kids, families, not to mention the softball and baseball players that enjoy this park. Shame Denver. Shame.

Joshua Tangye
Joshua Tangye

Nasty. Next to the river? Anybody smell that?

Busy S.
Busy S.

"going to hosting..."

Hayley Richardson
Hayley Richardson

You are probably thinking of the amphitheater in Santa fe new mexico. It's amazing but now closed.

Kristine Apodaca
Kristine Apodaca

Is it the Paolo Solieri? (sp?). I saw the Ramones there.

Guest
Guest

At least we can play volleyball for free over here...

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