Throughout the month of October, locals in San Jose, California are getting a taste of what’s to come in the city’s historic St. James Park with the launch of the Fall 2022 Levitt Concert Series, a free, all ages, community celebration of concerts presented by the nonprofit Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose. As planning for the new, state-of-the art outdoor performance venue continues, friends, families and neighbors are coming together from all parts of the city for the free shows featuring a broad range of musical styles and cultural expression.
“By doing these concerts, the San Jose audience is getting to know the types of music, the look and feel, and can ideally experience the magic of a [Levitt] lawn,” said Fil Maresca, board chair of Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose. “The weather’s been gorgeous, the attendance has been good, and the music’s excellent,” he added.
Across the country, Levitt venues are celebrated community destinations that inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to come together through the power of free, live music. Formed in 2016, Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose is a nonprofit with a mission to build community through free, family-friendly, high-quality live music shows and performances. The Fall Concert Series, which began earlier this month and continues on Sundays through October 30th from 3–6:30pm, features top local and national artists, and offers residents a preview of Levitt Pavilion San Jose’s future programming that will reflect the city’s rich cultural diversity.
This Sunday features reggaeton Latin folk-inspired singer-songwriter La Doña (Oct. 23), followed by feisty funk-rock band Orgōne (Oct. 30). Previous performances in the series have included jazz hip hop musician José James, who blended sounds across various genres, Brooklyn-rooted band Antibalas, hailed by The Guardian as “one of the world’s finest Afrobeat bands,” and Asian-American rapper Lyrics Born, who brought a unique mixture of funk and hip hop to the crowd.
Maresca highlighted the fantastic reception from the community saying, “We have between 300 to 500 people every week…people spreading out their blankets, talking to their neighbors, getting up and dancing…the energy’s been really great.”
St. James Park, dating back to the 1800s and surrounded by cultural landmarks, is a symbolic focal point of downtown San Jose that has also experienced its share of ups and downs over the years. As part of a City-led Master Plan to revitalize the park and create a safe and inclusive gathering space for all, the Levitt Pavilion and its annual program of 50 free concerts will inspire residents to return to St. James Park, fostering a sense of belonging and community pride. In addition to the construction of a state-of-the art bandshell and upgraded grassy lawn accommodating up to 5,000 people, parkgoers will also enjoy upgraded amenities including a picnic area, café, playground, dog park and public restrooms.
The Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose nonprofit is laying the groundwork to build a culturally resonant venue fueled by community partnerships engaging a range of stakeholders. According to Maresca, Levitt San Jose is prioritizing connection to community and inclusivity, and is listening to the “heartbeat of the community” in order to showcase the myriad talents and cultural diversity of local performers, as well as regional and national talent. This reflects the Levitt Foundation’s commitment to supporting communities to create a welcoming space that provides an equitable, healthy and thriving future for all.
The Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose nonprofit includes a cross section of the community who are passionate about music, community building, and the promise of a more vibrant St. James Park—a goal in line with the city’s Master Plan. Levitt Pavilion San Jose is a three-way public/private partnership between the Friends of Levitt San Jose nonprofit, the city, and the Levitt Foundation. Built on a model of sustainability, the Levitt Foundation will provide seed funding for the capital campaign as well as ongoing, annual general operating support and resources for the nonprofit to maximize impact in the community both through and beyond the free music series. Levitt San Jose also enjoys access to the national Levitt network of nonprofits in towns and cities across the U.S. to share best practices, exchange knowledge and ideas, and deepen the impact within their community through dialogue, toolkits, trainings, and program frameworks.
Looking to get involved with Levitt San Jose? Visit levittsanjose.org or @levittsanjose on Instagram and Twitter and @levittpavilionSJ on Facebook for details about the series and how to get involved!