Arlington on Tap

As a 10-year director of the Levitt Pavilion, Patti Diou booked, scheduled and managed more than 500 free concerts, bringing more than a million music fans to downtown Arlington.

Patti Diou

Until now, Diou – the speaker for the upcoming Feb. 11 Arlington on Tap – has seen her role in dealing with often eccentric (and sometimes entitled) performers as being something like a lawyer fretting about attorney-client privileges: Do the job and say nothing.

Through season after season, the first 10 years of the Levitt’s existence, Diou – who retired in late 2019 – has somehow managed to bring in nationally and regionally famed musical performing acts to the downtown venue. With very few glitches.

Stars that are, stars-to-be, stars-that-used-to-be. Including a bucketload of Emmy and Grammy winners.

Are some of them eccentric, maybe even for lack of a better descriptive, weird?

“Oh, heck yes,” Diou says.

Do some of them have peculiar requirements? “All the time,” Diou says. And yet the show goes on. So much so that the Arlington Levitt success is much emulated, studied and replicated across the country.

“For the first time, Diou tells almost all in what promises to be an enlightening and entertaining talk,” says Maggie Campbell, president of Downtown Arlington Management, sponsor of the popular happy-hour-with-a-talk event, which revolves monthly at assorted downtown venues.

For Feb 11, a Tuesday, it will be at Urban Alchemy (403 E. Main St.), from 6 - 8 p.m. RSVP is not required. Arlington Historical Society and Arlington Today Magazine are also sponsors.

Diou will also expound upon the Levitt story, the downtown Pavilion opening in October 2008. The pavilion, located at Center and Abram streets across from City Hall, was a collaboration between the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation, the city, the Tomorrow Foundation and a host of community supporters, the goal being an ambitious one: Bring 50 free concerts a year at a pavilion style venue. Diou was the first director.

Concerts have been eclectic and reflecting of a wide variety of musical tastes and trends.

Over the years, 35 Grammy winners have been Levitt performers – Maren Morris, Asleep at the Wheel, Jimmie Vaughan, Pentatonix, Kenny Loggins, Rick Trevino and others. And there have been numerous Emmy winners, including Aaron Nigel Smith, Biscuit Brothers, David Chicken and Farmer Jason. Diou was there for all of it.

“Along the way we’ve also hosted a variety of very popular local or regional performers, being chosen to perform at the Levitt becoming a sign that as a performer, you’ve arrived,” Diou says.