Levitt Pavilion Denver, the city’s newest music venue
Though Levitt Pavilion Denver will be the seventh in a series of Levitt Pavilions across the country when it opens in Ruby Hill Park on July 20, it will be the largest of them all, not to mention one of a kind in Denver.
With an adjustable capacity that can accommodate as many as 17,000 people, the $7 million, 63,450- square-foot amphitheater will be far and away the largest outdoor music venue in Denver proper, with a maximum capacity more than double that of Red Rocks. (Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater, which seats 18,000, is in Englewood.)
Aesthetic flourishes set it apart
from the competition in less quantifiable ways. “Sky Song,” an interactive art installation, will be dedicated at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, 30 minutes prior to the venue’s first concert. Dreamed up by Denver artists Nick Geurts and Ryan Elmendorf — who collaborated on a 16-foottall metal sculpture of a head and hands emerging from the desert at Burning Man last year — the shiny steel 8-foot structure invites passersby to press any combination of its 33 buttons, which will activate lights on a nearby building facade during a concert and activate bells when all’s quiet.
So, yes, you too can perform at Levitt Pavilion Denver this summer.
The venue will also bring an unprecedented amount of free concerts to its bill: Thirty of its scheduled 35 shows won’t cost you a dime. That includes Thursday’s grand opening concert with Denver’s own Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Halden Wofford & the Hi Beams, and Andy Thomas’ Dust Heart.
It’s an especially busy night for Thomas. The venue’s associate director and the first act to officially grace its stage, Thomas will take on the stresses inherent to both organizer and performer in the hours leading up to the venue’s inaugural show, soundchecking his own set from the stage and then tending to the headliners from the booth.
Thomas, who’s been playing music in Denver for the past 14 years, looks at the evening as a testament to his and the staff’s commitment to the local music scene. That he’ll be opening for Slim Cessna, a band he’s followed for years, is “icing on the cake.”
As an independently booked venue, Levitt isn’t beholden to any one promoter’s bank of artists, which means it will host artists from a wide range of backgrounds. This summer’s season features hiphop (Colorado Springs’ The Reminders), American roots (Whiskey Shivers) and, partially in a nod to Ruby Hill’s largely Hispanic demographic, a sixconcert Latin concert series. From singer-songwriter Ceci Bastida to Mexican ska act Inspector, that lineup is as eclectic as the venue’s programmingat-large.
The pay-to-enter con- certs kick off on Friday, with a double bill: pop reggae group UB40, the musical sommelier that turned Neil Diamond’s cover of “Red Red Wine” into a bonafide hit in the early ’80s, rapper Matisyahu and Raging Fiyah. (Tickets are $25-$75.)
Speaking of wine, the festival’s BYOB advertising actually stands for “bring your own blanket” — there will be beer on sale at the venue ($7 for a 12-ounce craft brew; $12 for a 24-ounce) and a regular rotation of food trucks for concerts. Thursday’s show features four: Pavy’s, Wong Way Veg, Cheesus and Ba-Nom-A-Nom.
Levitt Pavilion Denver, on June 28. The amphitheater, which opens on July 20, took eight months to build.