Entries Tagged 'Levitt Pavilion' ↓

Levitt is a true gift to the community!

Yes, the Levitt has some kinks to work out, but it seemed on Saturday night they already fixed one of them (putting the wristband stand next to the beverage stand). They still need to work on the bike rack situation though.

Other than that, the most amazing thing I saw both nights was community coming together. Unlike the Pavilion or Denty or even the Midco Aquatic Center, you can go to the Levitt without a ticket and possibly see 30 concerts this year and 50 next year FOR FREE! The great part about it is, if you don’t like the act, you can leave and not feel cheated.

As for parking, I think there was plenty. I saw people walking to the event from 6th street and 8th street, and there seemed to be plenty of parking in the Raven lot. There isn’t a parking issue. I also think the Levitt volunteers did a great job of directing traffic and parking in the area.

As for the music, both nights were fantastic, especially last night. The band that performed was world class, and I enjoyed meeting them and chatting with them after the show. It was funny because I told three of the members that their trumpet player hits the notes perfectly (she is with the baby in the picture below) they laughed and joked with her saying something like “We told you so!”

I also got to meet the daughter of the Levitt founders, I got shoved into a photo with her to (God knows where that will show up!)

I think the crowds will get more diverse once more people realize the events are free (they will even borrow you a lawn chair!)

While I would still like to see BYOB, I think the adult beverage handlers (JJ’s) did a good job!

I would like to personally thank first the taxpayers of Sioux Falls for this amazing financial support and gift, like I often say some of the best things in SF are free to use, like the bike trail.

I would also like to thank the vision of Tom Dempster and Jennifer and Joe Kirby, and lastly all the hard work Nancy Halverson put in, Levitt SF really was lucky to bring her back and have her run this organization.

SIDENOTE: Please Sioux Falls, I know the previous Mayor started this trend, but it needs to end, especially now that we have a Graphic Designer as Mayor, STOP USING ALL CAPS HELVETICA ON PUBLIC BUILDINGS!


First Night of Levitt was Fantastic!

Click to enlarge photo

If I had to take an educated guess it was around 2,000 people. The Levitt organization was very helpful with lawn chairs, and there was plenty of room for everyone. The sound system was also almost perfect, it wasn’t too loud and it was very clear. We will see how tonight’s concert goes, fantastic band;

A couple of observations though;

• There was NO temporary bike racks and people seem to pile their bikes together or chain them together.

• People (especially women) were praising the restrooms.

• The concerts end right at 9 PM sharp. I think they should adjust the time to 10 PM on Friday and Saturdays. The sun was just going down at 9 and it would have been cool to watch the music for another hour.

• The drink ticket situation is strange. The tickets are only good for the day of the event and they quit selling at 8:30 PM. So if you have any tickets left, you are screwed. On a positive note though, the selection was really good for beer, etc. But in a strange move they put the wristband station on the west side of the park and the drink line on the east side. I guess they make you exercise for your beer.

Also, on my ride home, I took this strange photo behind Slumshine. Unrelated.

UPDATE: The Levitt has NO permanent bike racks. ZILCH!

UPDATE: I went past the Levitt tonight and still no temporary bike racks. (there is an ice machine for the entertainers though). Ironically on the east side of the restrooms there is a large swath that you could have put in at least 30-50 racks, instead they put landscaping. Even if temp racks show up, I am not sure where they could put them. As for ADA parking, I think they are designating the area south of the stage in the city owned lot.

Bathrooms. Check. Expensive sodding and landscaping. Check. Food trucks and beer. Check. Sound system. Check. Sponsorships. Check. Lack of parking. Check.

So you would think an organization that has been complaining about parking by the Levitt would provide bike racks. There isn’t any permanent ones at the location and temporary ones haven’t arrived as of tonight. There isn’t even any trees or other structures to chain your bike to (we could drill a few holes in the Munson plaque and use that).

You would think when we are trying to promote walkability downtown and the use of other forms of transportation to get to events we would have a bike rack?!

Wonder who was the genius that left that out of the plans?

I will say this, the next time I hear anyone from Levitt or the City bitch about the lack of parking at the Levitt I will (not so gently) remind them to install bike racks.

Weekend Picts • June 1, 2019

Another shot of the Arc phase I being placed

Got to go into the Pavilion galleries for free on Saturday (the only time I go) the piece below was the best. The Pavilion also had a huge fail and instead of having their FREE concert outside on Main they moved it inside and hardly anyone attended. Apparently they wanted to celebrate 20 years but didn’t want any extra expense of having equipment outside. Lame.

There is a great view of the prison from the Levitt Stage. I wonder how many performers will ask about the castle on the hill?

Levitt getting closer . . .

Is the Levitt banking on a parking ramp at Sioux Steel site?

Someone forwarded this email to me today that was apparently sent to the city council last week AFTER the Levitt’s director gave a presentation to the city council at last Tuesday’s informational;

First Name


Last Name



Parking for Levitt at the Falls


Dear Council Members, During my presentation to the council on Tuesday, Councilor Stehly asked if I felt the 2700 identified free parking spaces were adequate for our expected attendance at Levitt at the Falls. As parking has been the primary concern I have heard from residents, I was hesitant to go too far in answering Ms Stehly in such a public forum. However, I am following up to voice my concern. This summer we are hosting 30 concerts, with an average expected attendance of 1500-3000 people per concert. I am concerned that parking will be an issue and see additional challenges as we grow to 50 concerts each summer beginning in the spring of 2020. I am working closely with Lloyd Companies and am delighted to know that they hope to add a parking facility within their new Sioux Steel Development. I hope that you will do what you can to lend your support to this much-needed facility to make our downtown more easily accessible to all. Thank you for your service to our community!

My first concern is that a director of a local non-profit that receives a ton of public funds doesn’t see the need to share this information at a public meeting, well at least she found it necessary to share it with them in an email.

Secondly, I don’t see 1,500-3000 people at these events. I wish it were true, but my guess is it will be closer to 300-500 people until people get a feel for what kind of concerts these are. I also don’t understand the cries for parking. There is plenty of parking, and I also think people can use resources like Lyft/Uber, the Trolley to shuttle them from central downtown or even better ride your bike or walk. Ironically, as someone pointed out to me the other day, the Walker parking study indicated that the best place to build a new parking ramp wasn’t at the current controversial site but in the spot just South of the Levitt where Raven is tearing down an old building. What a concept!

Lastly, I’m annoyed that the Sioux Steel development is using a Non-Profit to leverage for a TIF to build a parking ramp. I can hear the arguments already if the expected 3,000 a night don’t show, “People said they would come, but couldn’t find any parking.” Oh, poppycock. Isn’t it amazing that 40-50,000 people show up for parades downtown like Parade of Lights and St. Patty’s or the Sidewalk Arts Festival and find plenty of parking, but now all of sudden we can’t find parking for a couple thousand?

The fix is in folks.

This disappoints me even more since I am supportive of the Levitt and am excited about the first year’s lineup. Now I hear they are being used as a pawn in a multi-million dollar corporate welfare tax scheme. Doesn’t anyone in this town fight fair anymore?

Levitt Announces 2019 Concert Series

I still have to do some more research on the bands, but some really stand out (I bolded the bands I have either seen or heard before). Jonathan Byrd is fantastic. I’m really excited about the series and will try to attend most of the concerts. This is a very good thing for Sioux Falls. Hopefully in 2020 we can BYOB. As I have told councilors it is just a matter of changing city ordinance to allow BYOB at Falls Park West (which really isn’t a part of Falls Park, though they keep claiming it is).

UPDATE: I started linking some YT vids of the bands. Lots of great stuff and it’s all FREE!

Americana Series

Sponsored by CorTrust Bank

Rock Series

Sponsored by First PREMIER Bank

Women of Song Series 

Sponsored by Avera

World Music Series

Sponsored by MetaBank

The Family Series 

Sponsored by an anonymous donor supporting Therapy Dogs International

UPDATE: The Real Reason Levitt won’t allow BYOB? Greed & Elitism.

So now the truth comes out as to why the Levitt won’t allow you to bring your own beer to shows, GREED & Consumption control;

“And once their wristband is empty, they won’t be able to get any more,” Slattery said. “We’re establishing a pricing model that’s going to be affordable, but it’s also going to exercise a system of portion control. It’s one of the biggest concerns people have is people drinking too much and things getting out of control. We’re beverage-service professionals, and we can monitor and maintain a level of professionalism about the adult-beverage service.”

So in other words the best way to keep lower income people from attending these events is to 1) not allow them to bring their own alcohol and 2) limit the consumption. Like there is consumption control at German Fest or Hot Harley Farts 🙂

JJ’s also will share profits from beverage sales with the Levitt nonprofit.

So instead of just contracting with a bar manager for labor costs at a flat fee so Levitt can retain most of the profits, it seems JJ’s will be doing quite well also from this arrangement. Another reason we can’t allow people to bring their own beer, it would mess up their sales. It’s always about the businesses and not the patrons.

I knew all along the Falls Park alcohol ban was a BS argument since they allow drinking in that area with special licenses. It would be a simple ordinance change to allow people to BYOB. You just designate an area and require wrist bans. But as usual the snobs and yuppies have to ruin it for us grunts because someone has to make money.

I tell you what, if I have to go thru some kind of security to watch a free concert in a public park, there will be Hell to pay. It looks like the Levitt will be turning out to be like the Denty, we all have to pay to maintain it,  but some of us are not good enough to use it unless we pony up more money. At least they used bricks on the exterior, one less thing we have to fix in a couple of years.

UPDATE: According to the SF Parks Board Agenda today, Lloyd Companies will be sponsoring the ‘GRASS’ at Levitt for $10K a year over 5 years. I wish I had a ‘GRASS’ sponsor in High School, but that is another story . . .

They are going to put a nifty cement pad in the middle of the park. If we keep getting donations at this rate at Levitt, we should rename it ‘Sponsorship Park’. We could get every Tom, Dick and Harry in Sioux Falls to put up a sign, banner or cement pad. So cool.

Sioux Falls City Council meeting highlights

Besides the fact that two housing proposals got approved that have serious drainage issues, there were some other highlights.

The SFFD got their contract renewal with a caveat that if a firefighter is ALS (Advanced Life Support) trained and may have to use those skills they get an extra $1 an hour. While I don’t have an issue with that, it goes back to my argument that we continue to subsidize the private ambulance service more and more. We might as well be researching a public option.

During public input, John Cunningham brought up the fact that Noem should reimburse the city for police security during her VERY private event featuring President Trump. I came up shortly after him and agreed. Trump’s NON public event cost SF taxpayers $29K.

I also talked about the Levitt’s decision to NOT allow people to bring their own beer to the FREE concerts that are subsidized by the taxpayers. The Levitt said they will allow people to bring coolers with their own food and pop but NOT beer. They are putting out an RFP to find a beer and wine vendor for concerts as well as providing food trucks (which I think is fine) but they should also allow people to bring their own beer. I even suggested that even if you bring your own you will need to get an ID bracelet proving you are old enough to drink.

My bigger issue with this is that the Levitt and the Parks department made this decision without public or council input. I have been asking about it for over a year and been getting the runaround. Now I know why.

Some of the other Levitt’s across the country ALLOW concert goers to bring their own beer. Isn’t that the whole point of having a free community concert so you are not required to purchase something at the event? In Sioux Falls, we always have to try to get people coming or going. I think this should be a public decision, not a decision that is made behind closed doors.

Out of the 7 currently operating, 4 allow BYOB and sell on site, 3 Sell Alcohol on site, but NO outside alcohol and LA bans alcohol all together in the park.


Arlington, TX – Allows own Alcohol, no glass

Memphis, TN – Allows own Alcohol, no glass

Dayton, OH – Allows own Alcohol, no glass

Westport, CN – Allows own Alcohol, no glass

Denver, CO – Allows NO outside Alcohol but can purchase on site

Bethlehem, PA – Allows NO outside Alcohol but can purchase on site

Los Angeles, CA – NO ALCOHOL

What is going on at the Levitt shell construction site?

A South DaCola foot soldier told me last night that they have access to the 4th floor patios of the Phillips Lofts facing east, which overlooks the construction grounds of the Levitt. They said recently there has been some curious drainage of the grounds and ‘oily like’ substances being drained from the property.

I have NO idea what this would be.

I do know that the main reason why NO development has happened on the East side of Phillips to the Falls is because of the years of contamination on that land, and that in order to even use it as a park they had to cover some of the contaminated earth. I almost wonder if they are doing more extensive cleanup?