Levitt Pavilion’s stage unfolds like a silvery jewel box, its three open sides facing a massive green that has hosted thousands of music fans since 2017. Most of them didn’t pay a dime to get in. The nonprofit organization’s hundreds of free, high-quality concerts over the years have made it an all-ages mecca in Denver’s competitive music scene, as well as a gathering place in Ruby Hill that neighbors have embraced despite the noise and traffic complications.

With more than 40 free shows this season, and only 10 that charge for tickets, Levitt has built trust and audiences through a highly unusual mix of adventurous bookings, public and private funding, constant neighborhood-tending, and casual vibes that belie the passion of its music-freak staff. It has also led the way for the Levitt national network, which includes that operate as Levitt Pavilions, 32 free-concert series partners in rural areas (or Levitt Amps), and a trio of Levitt Vibe concerts (city-based series), all spread evenly across the U.S.

Levitt Denver, in particular, offers a lesson in bridge-building and a model for arts nonprofits defying existential challenges in the post-pandemic era. Levitt leaders have helped push the Colorado Independent Venue Association’s public funding and advocacy, created mentorship programs, and were among the first to champion diverse, post-pandemic revenue streams with rentals, fundraisers and the occasional big-ticket show. “Denver is a big and still-growing market.

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