Simplified: Levitt at the Falls is gearing up for its fifth summer of free concerts in downtown Sioux Falls. Ahead of opening weekend, here’s a look at how the Levitt has made an impact in that time and what's new this summer.
Why it matters
- The Levitt provides free concerts in a variety of different music styles with the mission of building community through music. This summer, 50 free concerts are scheduled.
- Downtown has also seen a significant economic impact from the Levitt. DTSF, Inc. President Joe Batcheller said downtown saw 40,000 more people visit last summer compared to 2018 before the venue opened.
- This year, the Levitt is ramping up its community partnerships through a number of different cultural events, including hosting the Festival of Cultures, the All My Relatives Music Festival and African Music Day.
"You know that feeling like when you’ve found the perfect gift for somebody you love, and it's the day before Christmas, and you can't wait for them to open it?" Executive Director Nancy Halverson said of the upcoming concert series. "That's how I feel."
Tell me more about the Levitt's history
Plans for Levitt at the Falls date back to 2011. The location was selected a year later, and by 2016 the project had received support from both the city and the Chamber of Commerce.
The outdoor concert venue is a three-way partnership between the city, the local Levitt at the Falls nonprofit and the national Levitt Foundation.
- Levitt at the Falls is one of seven similar venues nationally that’s putting on 40-50 free concerts in 2023, according to the national foundation website.
- There are also a few dozen other venues nationally that host Levitt concerts in venues not operated by Levitt-specific nonprofits.
In its first summer (2019), the Levitt reached about 60,000 people with 30 concerts.
- After pivoting to virtual programming during the pandemic, the Levitt was back with 40 concerts in 2021 and 50 last summer.
- Last year, more than 100,000 people attended Levitt shows.
What’s new this summer?
The lineup of concerts includes 10 different genres of music — and when you take into account opening acts for each show, there’s potential to see 100 different musical artists throughout the course of the summer. Here's a full schedule.
"Every night, there’s going to be a different sort of musical act that you’ll see on the stage, but what we work to make sure is consistent is that these artist share in our mission which is to build community through music," said Rose Ann Hofland, director of communications and community engagement.
Levitt at the falls has also expanded its community partnerships this year and hosting a number of cultural events including:
- The Festival of Cultures in partnership with Lutheran Social Services and the Multi-Cultural Center,
- A weeklong musician Pierce Freelon, in partnership with Augustana University, the Promising Futures Fund and the Juneteenth Festival.
- A July 4th Celebration in partnership with the city, featuring the municipal band,
- The All My Relatives music festival in partnership with the South Dakota State University Wokini Initiative,
- And African Music Day, in partnership with the Kunama Cultural Festival.
How can I support the Levitt?
Hofland said each event needs 12-15 volunteers, and festival/cultural events need more.