Levitt Pavilion

About Us

The Levitt Dayton Mission

Building community through music, one free concert at a time.

Levitt Pavilion Dayton’s goal is to provide access to the performing arts for all and transform a neglected green space into a thriving meeting ground for the region.

Levitt’s primary goals are to:

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Build community and social interaction among people of all ages and backgrounds
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Provide free, high-quality concerts for our community to enjoy
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Increase quality of life for all citizens in the region
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Create vibrancy in downtown Dayton to assist in revitalization activities

Free Concerts Create Community

Levitt Pavilion Dayton brings people of all ages and backgrounds together to experience free high-caliber concerts and celebrate a shared sense of community. You can hear all types of genres of music at the Levitt Pavilion without having to invest in an expensive ticket. According to Pollstar, the average ticket price for a concert is $92. This often makes it impossible for a family to experience live entertainment. In 2021 the Levitt Pavilion provided $6.3 million in free programming to the community.

Equally important is the increased sense of community pride that the Levitt Pavilion Dayton generates. Outside of the free concert season, the venue is available for use by non-profits and other community groups for concerts, recitals, weddings, graduations, and other events. This further drives people to the area from throughout the metropolitan region.

Our Impact

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free concerts
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People in attendance at free concerts
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community gatherings
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people in attendance at free concerts & community gatherings
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economic impact on the surrounding area (based on 1/3 of audiences spending $60 the night of the concert)
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in programming gifted to the community (based on 2019  pollstar avg concert ticket at $92.42)

Our Values

Levitt Dayton is committed to building community through the power of music, one free concert at a time by presenting a minimum of 50 concerts, and we strive to be a strong partner in the community through education outreach with artists, music camp for youth, and outreach through pop-up concerts. Levitt Dayton promotes the delivery of free live music, making it accessible for the entire Miami Valley region. We acknowledge the importance of gender expression and identity, age, culture, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, physical ability, learning style, religion, occupation, nationality, immigration status, and socioeconomic status, and we celebrate the profound effect they have on creating a vibrant community. Promoting diversity, equity, access, and inclusion are core to the mission of Levitt Dayton.

Catalyst for Revitalization

Levitt Pavilion Dayton is an exciting, creative placemaking project. It is an anchor destination that breathes new energy into the downtown core, strengthening the social fabric of our city and driving further investment and redevelopment in our downtown.

Because of this, there are transformational projects underway that surround Levitt Pavilion Dayton. The newly revitalized Dayton Arcade sits to the northwest of Levitt Pavilion Dayton. According to their website, “The Arcade is a collaborative center of big thinkers, dreamers, and doers. Anchored by The Hub Powered by PNC, we are an incubator for unique ideas and opportunities to put Dayton at the forefront of tomorrow’s big innovations.” Along those same lines, the Levitt was a catalyst for the development of the Fire Blocks District.

“The Levitt Pavilion played an important roll in our decision to revitalize the Fire Blocks District which is an urban neighborhood adjacent to the pavilion that will include loft apartments, creative office space, restaurants, bars, and cafés. We believe the Levitt Pavilion will play an integral part in the success of this developing urban community and the resurgence of downtown Dayton and the Fire Blocks District.”
– Alexius Dorsey, CEO – The Windsor Companies
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The History Of Levitt

The Levitt Pavilion in Dayton is part of a national network of outdoor Levitt music venues and Levitt AMP concert sites dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of communities in America through free, live music in public spaces. Presenting high-caliber talent and a broad array of music genres and cultural programming, Levitt venues are welcoming, inclusive destinations where families, friends and neighbors of all ages and backgrounds come together. Learn more at Levitt Foundation: www.levitt.org
1920s
The son of struggling immigrant parents, Mortimer Levitt grew up in Brooklyn. His father worked as a street vendor at the elite Luna Park of Coney Island. Lured by the dazzling attractions, Mortimer often joined his father at the park. Unable to afford admission to rides or shows, Mortimer would stand outside the gates of ticketed concerts. Listening to these performances surrounded by the beauty of Luna Park was magical to him and sparked his lifelong love affair with outdoor music.
1940s
Annemarie Gratzinger, affectionately known as “Mimi,” was raised in Vienne, Austria, where her childhood was filled with opera and other musical experiences. She met Mortimer in New York City in the mid-1940s while working in Museum Collections at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
1948
They married in 1948 and together, Mortimer and Mimi became philanthropists supporting youth music programs, performing arts organizations, and educational institutes.
1970s
In the early 1970s, residents of Westport, CT, wanted to build an outdoor stage to create a gathering space for their community. The town donated its problematic landfill site, located in the middle of Westport along the Saugatuck River, and a fund drive ensued. As summer residents of Westport, Mortimer and Mimi were approached to support the project. They ultimately became the campaign’s largest private contributors, prompting the town to name its new pavilion after them.
1974
In 1974, the first Levitt Pavilion was born. Carrying memories of his childhood, Mortimer was passionately committed that performances at the pavilion be presented at no charge. He was extremely proud that admission was always free. Everyone was welcome to walk under the Coney Island-inspired arch, sit on the lawn and enjoy concerts at the Levitt Pavilion.
1999
In 1999, the continuing success of the Levitt Pavilion in Westport inspired Mortimer to lay the groundwork for a national network of Levitt venues, so communities across the country could come together through the shared experience of free concerts under the stars. When Mortimer was 90, he sold his company (which included 70 custom shop retail branches nationwide) and transferred the proceeds to the Mortimer Levitt Foundation for the purpose of helping communities across America establish their own Levitt venues. He soon passed on the reigns of the Foundation to his daughter, Liz Levitt Hirsch, to oversee its venture philanthropy program.
2005
Mortimer passed in 2005 at the age of 98.
2012
In 2012, the Foundation was renamed the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation in honor of Mimi’s contributions to philanthropy and advancing the Levitt mission.
2016
In 2016, a group of Daytonians who were familiar with the Levitt Pavilions and the AMP series decided to research whether Dayton could host the AMP series. After experiencing the Levitt Shell in Memphis, they believed a signature pavilion would be a good fit for our region. With the support from the City of Dayton, they applied to the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation to become a Levitt Pavilion city. Our Friends of Levitt Pavilion Dayton Board was established and spent two years raising $5 million to make this placemaking project a reality. Due to the outpouring community support, they were able to raise the dollars needed quickly; the fastest fundraising period in the Levitt Pavilion family.
2017
Levitt Dayton broke ground with a concert – the Levitt National Tour with The Suffers – at Dave Hall Plaza.
2018
January 2018

Construction began on the Levitt Pavilion Dayton.

2018
August 9, 2018

Levitt Pavilion Dayton opened with its first concert featuring Gina Chavez.

2022
Today

The Levitt Pavilion Dayton is entering its fifth season. It brings people of all ages and backgrounds together to connect through the power of free live music.