Taryn Graham

Nov. 29, 2016

The Levitt Shell continued it’s fall season on Sept. 17 with a concert from the New Breed Brass Band in front of a large crowd, which was just another example of how successful the concerts have been.

The free concerts started on Sept. 3 and continue through the end of October at the shell located in Midtown’s Overton Park.

“We have a big season ahead of us,” said Pitts. “The fall concert series is going extremely well. We have more talented local artists than we have ever had before, and the weekly turnout is amazing.”

“The Levitt Shell thrives to provide Memphians with a good time,” said Levitt Shell executive director Amy Pitts.

Pitts, who was assigned as executive director this past year, is excited about the recent renovations that have been made to the Levitt Shell.

“This year alone has seen major accomplishments,” says Pitts. “We have raised $4 million dollars for facility renovations that will go towards new light installations, a more well-rounded backstage area and a wider variety of crowd amenities.”

The Levitt Shell had it’s grand opening nearly 80 years ago in 1936 when it was named The Orchestra Shell. The Orchestra Shell was welcomed with open arms by the midtown residence as concert goers enjoyed music from Memphis locals.

Now, after 80 years and a reopening in 2008, the shell is still going strong with no plans to stop.

Among the artists to perform during the fall concert series include North Mississippi Allstars, Civil Twilight and Delta Rae

Music legend Mavis Staples will headline the annual two-night benefit concert, “Stars in the Shell” on Oct. 15. The benefit concert will also feature St. Paul and The Broken Bones.

The final weekend of The Levitt Shell concert series will feature artists Balkan Beat Box, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Eleanor Tallie.

After the many years of having the Levitt Shell in their backyard, the midtown community is as pleased as ever with the growth of the concert series.

“Every year it just gets better and better,” said James Johnson, 10 year midtown resident. “I hated when the shell was closed down. It just didn’t feel right having that beautiful structure just sit there and go to waste”

Johnson says that after gong to The Levitt Shell’s concerts for years he cannot choose just one night as his particular favorite.

“I truly enjoy all of the concerts,” said Johnson. “At first I was curious as to how great the concerts would be due to the fact that they are free of charge. However, I quickly lost that frame of mind after my first concert at The Levitt Shell. Everyone is just so talented.”

Amy Jones, a 5-year midtown resident, is surprised by the success of the Levitt Shell.

“I’ve always loved the Levitt Shell ever since is started back, but I was not sure about how long the success would last,” said Jones. “I was more so concerned about the funding than anything. However, I’m happy to see that everything is working out.”

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