Remember Bruce Halverson? He decided to run for mayor in 2006 when incumbent Dave Munson dropped out of the race because he violated city charter by approving a 100% cost overrun on Phillips to the Falls without council approval. Than when the city council chickened out and didn’t file charges against Munson, he decided to run for re-election. The Halverson camp WAS NOT happy about the switcheroo.

So when the Halversons left about a decade ago, it was no surprise after being burned.

Bruce’s wife, Nancy now will run the Levitt. Nancy Halverson had a great reputation before leaving Sioux Falls in support of the local arts scene. I think she will do a great job, just try to keep Bruce out of local politics, it has gotten much worse over the past 10 years.

Looks like $10 for 3 bones festival is over;

“The entertainment landscape has continued to expand over recent years with the opening of Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, The District and soon to be Levitt Shell,” Torkildson said. “SMG is refocusing its resources and efforts to managing and producing events in the venues it manages in Sioux Falls.”

I find it interesting that they would cancel this event right after getting a new contract to help manage Canaries Stadium. Makes you wonder what revenues are really like for SMG in Sioux Falls, or what they are seeing for projections.

I have been hearing rumors over the past couple of months that both CityFest (used to be LifeLight) and JazzFest may be on the chopping blocks also. I haven’t had anyone confirm that yet with me, but I do know that LifeLight as an organization has been liquidating some assets and Rob Joyce is retiring from the Jazz and Blues Society.

While I could give two-sh*ts about Ribfest or LifeLight, killing JazzFest would be very detrimental to summer entertainment. Even if they have to just scale back for a couple of years to one day, I think that would be better than trying to bring it back later. Obviously there is going to be a shift to have more outdoor festivals downtown at the Levitt, which is awesome, but Yankton Trails was a perfect venue for JazzFest. I was told at one time that JazzFest attendees are around 40% out of town (not sure what last year’s numbers were) but many stay for the entire event at local hotels and campgrounds. The economic impact of JF is pretty big when you consider all the city has to do is provide a city park for about a week they we already pay to maintain anyway.

Let’s hope for the best!

Well, if you were at the Levitt presentation last night for YPN (Young Professionals Network – Chamber) you would have had to be deaf not to know about the 50 concerts.

It was mentioned about a dozen times in the intro video, and afterwards the speakers kept bringing it up.

Trust me, I think this is fantastic, if it was realistic. Remember, that is 3-4 concerts per week, and unless those concerts are going to be on weeknights, they will conflict with a ton of other live music and other events outdoors downtown in the summer. Five to seven years ago, I would have said no way, but if you look at the calendar of events this summer for DT, you would be hard pressed not to find something going on both Friday and Saturday.

One person in attendance asked the question and the response was, “We promised we wouldn’t interfere with JazzFest and the Pavilion.” Uh, okay. What about all the other DT events and private promoters in the city? I take real issue with using my tax dollars to compete with private business.

Besides the 50 (professional) concerts a year dream/scheme, I just don’t buy we are going to be getting all of this for FREE. The city will have to kick in a butt-load of money. So why not just build the amphitheater and use if for the city without the ties to Levitt? Not only could we save money, we might even break even on the grounds with rental fees?

There is also the fact they are peddling we will be able to bring our own coolers (with beer in them). I’ll believe it when I see it. Like many things in life folks, nothing is for free.

Let’s face it, as I mentioned last night at the event, we don’t have many choices with the brownfield. Funny part is when I asked the presenters (very nicely) to explain what a brownfield was and why we are using it for an amphitheater the speaker said this, “Uh, that’s more of city question, they know more about it, I know there is 6″ of clay, uh, but we get 50 free concerts . . .” he never really explained it to the crowd. I wasn’t trying to get anyone into trouble, I just wanted the crowd to understand why this location was being used. But I guess you are not supposed to bring those things up at a fundraiser.

Thanks for Warren for finding this article from 2015 outlining what the Levitt Foundation will contribute to a project in Dayton;

Levitt would contribute 10 percent of the construction costs, or up to $500,000, followed by half the operating costs the first year. The annual contribution would decline thereafter. It’s hoped the pavilion could open as soon as July 2017.

Operating a Levitt pavilion costs about $500,000 annually. The foundation provides $500,000 in seed funding for construction and capital expenses and support resources. The foundation said it provides $1 million in the first five years of the pavilion’s operation.

After that, the foundation will provide about $150,000 annually in ongoing operational support to a nonprofit group formed to oversee the venue.

This is what has often puzzled me about the promises of the Levitt Foundation. Fifty Free ‘Professional’ concerts within basically a 4 month time period. Forget about the time frame in how you are going to get that many acts packed into that time frame, or that you are going to get 50 ‘professional’ acts to come to Sioux Falls to play, for a moment, let’s pretend that is achievable.

The bigger question is how is this going to be paid for? Remember, these are free concerts, similar to JazzFest. While I have a rough idea what JazzFest costs to put on, you have to remember, besides sponsors, advertisers, vendors, and the city chipping in services, the majority of the event if paid for by beer sales. Will Levitt have adult beverage sales at concerts? Will vendors have to pay a fee to sell their goods? I just don’t know how we are going to be able to maintain such a high level of concerts at the Levitt without digging into the city budget and having a major subsidy each year.

Something the city council needs to chew on before going full boar on this.