The year 2020 – and the first few months of its successor, for that matter – weren’t on most people’s “Things I Fully Expected” Bingo card. The pandemic crippled many organizations, venues, bars and restaurants with mandated closures or capacity limitations that prevented viable operations. Then came Texas’ Stormageddon.
In her freshman year as executive director of the Levitt Pavilion Arlington, Letatia Teykl was forced into a role she had never anticipated.
“Suddenly, I wasn’t booking artists and planning concerts; I was canceling performances and pushing dates out while our country grappled with the outbreak of COVID,” says Teykl. “What I quickly realized was being flexible to the changing circumstances was essential in our response.”
Teykl quickly crafted a plan of action to honor commitments to artists and sponsors alike with the blessing of the Levitt Pavilion board and guidance from Arlington’s Fire Chief.
“Our mission is free live music and giving a platform to artists,” says Teykl. “We never lost sight of that.”
With concert after concert canceled by most venues, the Levitt Pavilion Arlington emerged as a leader among the eight Levitt locations nationally (Bethlehem, Pa., Dayton, Ohio, Denver, Los Angeles, Memphis, Tenn., Sioux Falls, S.D. and Westport, Conn.). First, Teykl began booking artists to livestream only; and then as soon as conditions allowed, the Levitt Pavilion staff sectioned off the lawn to provide safe, socially distanced squares for families and friends to listen to live music in open air.
Across the United States, music venues were mostly ignored by initial federal financial assistance. Music venues such as the Levitt Pavilion acted as catalysts for revitalization. NIVA, the National Independent Venue Association, is behind the bipartisan Save Our Stages Act. With the passing of the Save Our Stages Act, the Small Business Administration will establish the framework on how to divvy out the $15 billion in relief for grants to help with payroll, rent, utilities and PPE. The permanent closure of music venues and sociable spaces could further damage the tourism and hospitality industries.
“Cultural arts, live music and festivals are an important part of being a successful tourism destination,” says Ron Price, President and CEO of Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau.
According to NIVA, for every $1 spent on a concert, it generates $12 in economic activity.
“A community’s vibrancy is enhanced with the recurring concerts and events produced by music venues such as the Levitt Pavilion,” adds Mayor Jeff Williams.
Reporting on 2020 by the numbers, Teykl is proud of the role the Levitt Pavilion played in the Texas music industry’s ecosystem.
- 63 artist contracts were honored for a total of 48 performances
- 28 weeks of music livestreamed
- 43 live performances on the stage
- Concerts garnered 300,000 views by music lovers in 41 countries
- 20 nights with live music on the Levitt stage with audiences on the lawn
“2021 will continue to present challenges as evidenced by the unprecedented cold weather and power outages,” Teykl says. “But the Levitt Pavilion will lead the charge on adapting and reinventing ways to showcase music talent to North Texas.”
For more: levittpavilionarlington.org