Entries Tagged 'Levitt Pavilion' ↓

UPDATE: Levitt Sioux Falls had a stellar 2022 season, still wondering what happened in 2021

UPDATE: I wanted to note that ALL the arts non-profits in Sioux Falls that receive city taxpayer funding should be giving the public their full financials each year. I was told today that the Pavilion hasn’t done this for a long time. One of the reasons is that they are rumored to have millions in endowment and savings (not under the city umbrella but under the management company) which means if the management company was ever terminated they would take the money with them.

I will admit, putting on 50 FREE outdoor concerts in SoDak and not having one single cancellation is quite an accomplishment. I also enjoyed seeing Lee Rocker from the Stray Cats (pics below) for the finale.

But after wrapping up a successful 2022 season, the Levitt has yet to tell us the financials from last year’s season. I find this even more ironic considering the Director of Levitt, Nancy Halverson ripped the city council a new one at the last meeting (they deserved it) for wanting to contract the Pavilion to do an arts study and running the municipal duties of the arts in Sioux Falls. Nancy stated that it was a huge conflict of interest since the Pavilion already receives arts funding from taxpayers. It is. But has that ever stopped the Pavilion before?

First off, government needs to stay out of the planning and implementation of arts programming in the city and just cut the checks.

Secondly, it is easy to complain about different organizations when you have hardly been transparent.

ALL of the arts programs and arts non-profits we have partnerships with should do a very public presentation of their annual reports in a very timely manner.

Is there any reason why we have never seen a 2021 annual report from the Levitt? It’s almost October 2022.

While they all want taxpayer money, they seem to struggle with telling us how that money is being spent. I’m all for my tax dollars going towards the arts and I have had incredible experiences at the Levitt, who have a dedicated staff that goes above and beyond, and a director that knows her sh!t!

If any thing, they ALL have conflicts of interest if they can’t tell us the financials.

The brother and sisterhood we have with our arts community is essential, but that love and trust comes from telling us where our money is going towards. It’s NOT a heavy lift.

Levitt’s closing concert will be the best of the season

The Stray Cats are one of my favorite bands, and having the bass player for the closing show is killer. Of all the shows this season, this is one not to miss.

The greatest rockabilly song ever written;

Armed Guard Church Service at Levitt

I have noticed that the Levitt has been renting(?) to several churches over the past year. There is usually some kind of church service or religious event held on Sundays at the Levitt.

I guess if they are paying rent to use the public facility, I don’t see an issue with it.

Where I got alarmed was when riding my bike around the event today I saw several armed private security officers(5). Most of them were openly carrying a handgun in a public space at a church service!

If you think you need to attend church services with armed guards, maybe you are attending the wrong church?

Innoskate Sioux Falls!

This is a great event for Sioux Falls, and I would like to thank Nancy Halverson from the Levitt for organizing the event. Tons of skate demonstrations, talks, art, food, and MUSIC!

Sioux Falls Levitt has yet to release 2021 financials

While they prepare to start their season next Friday, the Levitt has yet to release their financials, tax return or annual report from last year.

A couple of weeks ago a city official told me that the Levitt has NOT completed the tax filings and audit yet. Kind of odd how you can budget for another season without knowing how you did in 2021?

These financial statements are important because the Levitt receives public funding through the parks department, they also manage the booking of the stage for non-Levitt concerts (mostly church services) and they are a non-profit.

I am also curious what kind of money the Levitt raises through donations and other fees. There have been some wild claims made that if it were not for the private sale of alcoholic beverages at the concerts the Levitt couldn’t survive financially. Hogwash.

The Levitt has multiple funding sources. In fact they could probably raise even more money by charging a wrist band fee and cooler fee for people who wanted to bring their own adult beverages while still maintaining liquor sales from the private provider (you would only allow beer and wine in cans or plastic bottles to those who bring their own).

We will see if their annual report magically appears next Thursday 🙂

Levitt FREE Concert Series is Stellar

I have made it about half way thru my personal review of the bands playing the Levitt this year, and the lineup is chucked full of great Blues, Ethnic, Country, Rock, Local and Contemporary. 50 SHOWS! ALL FREE! Plus Lee Rocker closes it out!

Besides our Parks and Bike Trail, the Levitt is one of the best taxpayer investments in this city! Now if they would let us bring our own beer* and ban pets**, it would be even better 🙂

*Last year an individual alcoholic beverage was $7. It will be interesting to see if that gets raised to $8 this year. While the beverage sales do help the Levitt with contributions, I think it has been overinflated. I am waiting for the financials from 2021 to see what that percentage is. Even if we allowed people to bring their own beer and wine (no liquor) they could still keep the bar and maybe even have a cooler fee you would have to pay to receive 21+ armbands.

**My biggest concern about pets has always been about the well being of the pets. The crowd and noise can cause anxiety (I’ve witnessed many close dog fights) it is often to hot and what I see the most of is them pooping and peeing all over the lawn, and I have witnessed many people walk thru it. Can people just leave their pets at home for a couple of hours without dragging them around like some trophy everywhere? Unless it is a service dog, leave them at home. PLEASE! JazzFest always had a ban on pets, and it worked great!

When will Levitt share its financials?

While Levitt was very quick to tell us attendance this past season (Thank You!) they have yet to share the financials with us.

Here’s what I would like to know;

What was the budget for Levitt in 2021?

Salaries
Promotion/marketing
Artists Fees
Equipment Rental
Other

I would like to know where the money came from;

Individual donations
Corporate sponsorships
National Foundation donation
City of Sioux Falls funding
Rental Fees
Alcohol sales (what did Levitt receive and the percentage)
Special grants, etc.

There has been a lot of smoke blowing (not by the Levitt employees) by ‘other’ sponsors of Levitt about how much they give to the Foundation. It would be really good to know the actual numbers. Hopefully Director Halverson will be presenting those numbers to the public soon.

This is what ALL Levitt Concerts should look like

I was a little surprised yesterday with all the rain that the Levitt concert was NOT cancelled but to start at a later time. The opening act played until 8 and the headliner played to almost 10 PM. It has been my opinion that the concerts should ALL go from 7:30-10 PM on Friday and Saturday nights. As you can see from the pictures, this is what a night time outdoor concert should look like with stage lights. The sound was also cranked up towards the end. I can honestly say, this is the first time I stood in front of the stage and the music was loud. The band, The Foxies are a pop punk band that pulls influences from Green Day, The Cure, Blondie, No Doubt (the lead singer voice and dance moves remind you of Gwen Stefani) and you even hear the Clash, The Smiths and ‘X’ in their songs.

The only unfortunate part of the show was half of it was in the rain (I watched live stream until the rain ended and showed up in person) this also limited the crowd to about 30 people. But the performers treated this like any other show and rocked their asses off.

I have often said it is ‘the little things’ that can make the Levitt better;

• Start the shows at 7:30 PM on Friday and Saturdays

• Turn up the volume

• Allow people to bring their own beer and wine

• Ban pets

The city council has the power to make all 4 things above happen, if they just had the courage to do it (which they don’t).

Levitt, this one doesn’t go to 11

I finally figured out what the city, or should I say a developer, has requested as a reasonable decibel level for the Levitt. The story I was told is that the Levitt’s decibel level has to read 90 or below by the South Entrance of the Cascade Apartment building/complex, which I find to be an interesting boundary considering the level determined by city ordinance should affect the whole area. I have argued to the do nothing city council, who have literally done nothing about the decibel levels downtown (especially when it comes to trains, planes and motorcycles) that they need to be increased, at least on the Levitt grounds which is a publicly owned park. It is NOT the taxpayers fault or problem that a developer who takes massive amounts of welfare TIFs from the city built apartments across the street from a live outdoor music venue. If I were the Levitt, I would crank it up, and if the private developer doesn’t like it, they can sue the city and we can cancel their TIF. I would also suggest the next time they build an apartment building in a noisy DT area, they need to insulate the windows and walls.


I will say though last night at the Levitt I was pleasantly surprised, the volume was perfect, so they must be experimenting with the Spinal Tap amps after all.

This reminds me of the other issue with Levitt, selling alcohol in a park that by city ordinance bans alcohol. I have told the city council that this is silly and they should just lift the ban, let their be private sales AND let people bring their own. But like I said, when it comes to our city council doing things that benefit the public in general like noise levels and alcohol ordinances they put on the cruise control, look into their laps and do nothing.

Also folks, I am pleading with you to leave your dogs at home. They don’t want to be sitting in the heat and it is not good for their physical or mental health and as an audience member, I really get tired of them pooping and peeing around me. I still think the Levitt in coordination with the City Council should ban pets from the premises, or at least have an area for people that are too dumb to not bring their freaking dog everywhere.

Levitt returns with some interesting adjustments

As you can see from the pictures, it was a packed house which was awesome, and the weather was fantastic.

Two things that stuck out was the very long line for drinks, because in 2019 the lines were not bad at all. I found out when I got up there that drinks went from $5 in 2019 to $7 and you could no longer buy drink tickets, so you have to run your card or pay cash every time you go get a drink which I’m sure delays the line. The bartender told me though, I could have a tab. I asked why there was NO tickets, and he said something about a ‘city decision’. I’m not sure what that is about, because if it has anything to do with underage drinking, there is nothing stopping people from buying drinks for minors. I think they just want to slow the line so there is less intoxication. I also think they should allow people to bring at least their own beer and wine, but I will stay away from that rant.

My 2nd surprise was the sound. While the quality was fine, the volume was at about the same level as your grandma’s turn table. The volume has been turned down quite a bit since 2019. I have no doubt it has to do with Downtown’s ridiculous decibel levels and people complaining about the music after they decided to live across the street from a band shell. I guess all the trains running through downtown don’t have to follow those rules, but a Jazz Band does. I wonder what the sound level was at The Alliance last night at the Martin Zellar concert our Supreme Leader was attending?

I have thought for a long time the fun police in Sioux Falls would find a way to hinder the Levitt. As I told a friend today, ‘If it doesn’t have to do with youth sports, church or dogs it is NOT a priority in Sioux Falls and the fun police will find a way to kill it.’