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Levitt PavilionEXPAND
Levitt Pavilion
Jake Cox

Why One Tourist Who Loves Red Rocks Fell for Levitt Pavilion

In our Best of Denver edition, Westword honored Levitt Pavilion as the Best Outdoor Venue in Denver, upending a long and predictable tradition of Red Rocks Amphitheatre winning that award. Some readers weighed in, accusing us of jumping the shark.

But Thomas Clark, a tourist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, agreed that Levitt Pavilion was a real find.

Here's what he wrote:

I just read the Westword article about Levitt Pavilion being the best outdoor venue not named Red Rocks. I live in Pittsburgh, PA and make an annual August road trip to Denver and Red Rocks. Two years ago, I had tickets for moe. and Twiddle there, but the show was cancelled due to a band member’s illness.

A few weeks before the trip, I was researching for something else to do to fill the void left by the cancellation. I found Levitt Pavilion and, that same night, Band Of Heathens was playing a free show there. We had a great time at Levitt and BOH has become a favorite band since seeing them there. The opening band, Blake Brown [and the American Dust Choir], was fantastic, and I had a nice talk with them after their set.

I’ll be back out for the first night of the two Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats shows at Red Rocks (saw them there last year, too).

So far no other show has been booked at Red Rocks that I am interested in, so I’m anxious to see if Levitt Pavilion has a show I’ll want to see during the week that I’m there. See you in August!  

Welcome back to Colorado, Thomas. In the meantime, read on for more of our coverage of Red Rocks and Levitt Pavilion:

Levitt Pavilion beat out Red Rocks Amphitheatre as Denver's Best Outdoor Venue.EXPAND
Levitt Pavilion beat out Red Rocks Amphitheatre as Denver's Best Outdoor Venue.
Joel Rekiel

"See Colorado's Newest Music Venue: Levitt Pavilion"

Relaxing at Levitt Pavilion.
Relaxing at Levitt Pavilion.
Brandon Marshall

"Could Levitt Pavilion's Grand Opening Have Been Grander?"

Levitt PavilionEXPAND
Levitt Pavilion
Jake Cox

"Why Levitt Pavilion Beat Red Rocks as Denver's Best Outdoor Venue"

So why did Levitt beat out Red Rocks? Here's what we wrote:

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Levitt Pavilion brings in big acts, but it hosts many smaller artists, from national touring bands on the brink of success to local outfits who’ve mostly played bars and house shows. The diversity of the past season — with an emphasis on Spanish-language and bilingual bands — makes Levitt a spot for discovering emerging groups as well. If finding out about new music is your passion, there's no better place to do so without shelling out your paycheck...while also taking comfort in the fact that artists are being paid industry standards.

More than fifty of Levitt’s concerts each year are free. Absolutely free. No $49.95 general admission tickets. No sky-high service fees (the paid concerts, booked by Emporium Presents, which was recently purchased by Live Nation, do have service fees, but even paid-concert prices at Levitt are reasonable compared to those at other venues). The nonprofit also hosts fundraisers, local breweries, and food trucks dishing out Denver delicacies. When Levitt's not running shows, it's creating music education programs in schools.

Finally, many of Levitt Pavilion’s crowds are smaller (something the promoters there surely want to change). But the joy of attending those concerts is that there is ample room to move around without getting overwhelmed. Not much compares to enjoying a free concert on a warm summer night on the green expanse that surrounds the Levitt stage.

Which venue do you prefer: Levitt Pavilion or Red Rocks? Let us know your thoughts in a comment or email them to editorial@westword.com.

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