In this episode of Festival Pass Stories our host Pat Tully and his guest, Chris Zacher, Levitt Pavilion Denver, COVID-19 and the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA).
Chris Zacher is the Founder and Executive Director of the Levitt Pavilion Denver, a non-profit organization established to grow a community through music. Located in Ruby Hilly park, just Southwest of downtown, the Levitt Pavilion Denver free concert series is the most popular event held at the amphitheater. With a maximum capacity of 7,500, Levitt Pavilion puts on 50 free, high-quality live concerts annually. Levitt Pavilion Denver focuses on bringing together community, family, friends and neighbors of all ages and backgrounds by making live music free and accessible to everyone.
One of the staples of live music in Denver is the summer concert series, City Park Jazz Festival. After Chris joined the City Park Jazz Festival group in 2006 the group began to reimagine what the event could be in order to increase attendance. In 2006, the attendance of City Park Jazz With Chris’s help, in two years time the attendance at the ten week festival increased from 500 people a week to 12,000 people a week.
In 2013, Chris was recognized by the Denver Business Journal as one of Denver’s “Forty Under 40” for his commitment and leadership to Denver’s nonprofit community. He was named one of the Four Most Influential People in Denver Entertainment in 2014 by AXS.com. In 2015, Chris was given the inaugural Cultural Leadership Award from the Colorado Business Committee for nation, and international recognition from multiple prestigious organizations, including; Pollstar, Billboard, Westword and 5280 Magazine.
Pat and Chris discuss COVID-19, the future of events and what the security measures for major venues will look like moving forward. Chris serves as Co-Captain for the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) in Colorado and is a member of the Arapahoe Community College Music Audio Technology Advisory Committee. NIVA is an organization representing over 2,000 independent venues and small and medium stages in all 50 states. Nationally they are working on a “Restart Act” with Congress which would provide additional funding for small and medium businesses most affected by COVID, including businesses in the arts & entertainment industry. In addition, they are putting together an Emergency Relief Fund to save as many venues across the United States as possible.
**About Chris Zacher: **
Chris is a champion for accessible live music for all. He is credited with the sustainability and overwhelming popularity of City Park Jazz Festival, serving as Vice President and President from 2006-2014.
In 2012, Chris founded Levitt Pavilion Denver. In addition to serving as the Executive Director of Levitt Pavilion Denver Chris is a lecturer at the University Of Colorado Denver (UCD) working in the College of Arts and Media (C.A.M) in the Music and Entertainment Industry Studies program.
Chris changed career paths from accounting and finance to the music industry and has a vast amount of experience in accounting, budgeting, crisis management, contracting, community outreach, public speaking, and fundraising.
**You can find Chris Zacher on: **
Check out the hashtag #saveourstages on social media to find out more about fundraising opportunities to help NIVA.
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