The Levitt Shell’s eleventh concert series is well underway and had an exciting start on May 30th; the performance drew in a crowd of over 7,000 people spread throughout Overton Park to enjoy The North Mississippi Allstars.
With a rich history of opera shows starting in the 1930s, Elvis’s debut concert in 1954, and a few fights to keep it around, the Levitt Shell is undoubtedly a staple of the Memphis music scene past and present. In 2008, the Midtown venue reopened with the promise of providing 50 free concerts per year featuring local, national, and international musicians. A decade later, the Shell has added a number of exciting new features like the new ShellEats bar and ShellShop merchandise store. Its core mission of building community through free music and education makes The Levitt Shell a perfect platform for finding common ground in a diverse crowd.
The Levitt Shell’s 2019 summer series is jam-packed with awesome artists from all over the globe with unique styles and sounds. We asked Cindy Cogbill, the Levitt Shell’s programming director, to share with us what goes into the booking process and which upcoming shows she is most excited for. Before joining the Levitt Shell’s team, Cindy was already invested in the global music industry; she spent years organizing music conferences and working festivals in all corners of the world. Her love for Memphis shines through her hard work to build community through music and entertainment.
“This year’s line-up is so exciting as it is probably our most diverse yet in terms of genres, culture, and age.”
Cindy began this series’ search for performers in November of last year in order to stay true to the Shell’s goal of continually expanding the variety of their performances. Planning these amazing shows is certainly not an easy task, but Cindy describes The Levitt Shell’s curation as “the most fun and rewarding process ever.” You can expect a summer of free live music ranging from reggae to folk, to R&B.
Here are a few of Cindy’s picks for shows you do not want to miss:
June 13 – OSOG: an acoustic, Americana band from Tel-Aviv, Israel. “Super high energy and a mountain of talent.”
July 6 – Orquesta Akokán: “A big band of Havana’s top musicians both young and old, joining forces with some of the most creative and spirited talents of New York’s Latin music scene.”
July 13 – John Paul White: American singer-songwriter who was formerly a member of the Grammy-winning duo, The Civil Wars.
July 21 – Devon Gilfillian: “He has the same manager as Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, so there is a fun Memphis connection to him.”