As I promised on Friday, I’ll be showcasing people who work in live music on my blog to support them during this difficult situation in the industry. Many of these people are now without work and trying to survive until we get a green light to restart the tour busses and trucks and turn on the lights on stage again. In the meanwhile, I want to bring some light into this blackout by sharing their stories and opening up the behind-the-scenes to people interested in a career in live music.
I want to start with a role that is not necessarily that known in the live music scene. When people think about live music, the first roles that come to mind are usually the ones of a roadie, stagehand, sound engineer, lighting director, production manager, tour manager, or some other more hands-on or technical role seen at shows. Nevertheless, the person I’m about to introduce has a very vital role in making free, community-based concerts organized by a non-profit organization successful for all parties involved.
I had the privilege to work with Allegra last summer when I was interning as part of the production team at Levitt Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles. Her work includes a lot of reaching out and collaborating with local partners, vendors, and sponsors to ensure community-wide engagement at the open-for-all summer shows organized at the venue. Our work crossed mostly when I made sure, while stage managing, that she was on and off stage on time, either emceeing the shows herself or bringing partners and sponsors on stage to speak about their commitment to the community. Here’s her story.
Please tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do at Levitt.
As Director of Community Relations & Partnerships I am someone who communicates with local residents, community partners, vendors, youth workers, sponsors and audience members to build relationships. This helps us have a successful concert season and a positive local presence after the season is over. The work is also part of our ongoing outreach efforts, from the mainstream to the grassroots we do our best to get the word out. I also help run the Community Advisory Council who meets year round to offer feedback, ideas and support on how we do our work. This role also includes fundraising and development so that we are fiscally sustainable.
A typical concert day looks like guiding the incredible Outreach team on activating the lawn area with activities and resources, engaging youth workers, collecting donations, and breaking down after each show. This role also serves a key connection with our audience members. I also wanted to mention the significance of where we are, MacArthur Park is a place in Los Angeles with a rich and complex history and identity. What we are doing with the 50 concerts is part of placemaking efforts to help local cultural diversity thrive and is a way to reframe public safety.
What have you done before and how did you end up working at Levitt?
Prior to working at the Levitt I was part of various citywide efforts and organizations related to arts, culture, human services, social justice and youth development. Most of my experience is in the non-profit sector and being involved with volunteer efforts. I’m also an avid lover of music, festivals and cultural celebrations. Los Angeles offers so many ways to learn and connect with people from all over the world and different backgrounds. I am excited to be back in the Westlake/MacArthur Park area since I was part of the Levitt Pavilion LA Community Advisory Council in 2008. It is funny how life can bring us full circle sometimes, so when I saw the job opportunity I went for it!
What’s the best thing about your work?
Some of the best things about the work is the opportunity to connect with people in a way that is uplifting. We also get to meet such a wide spectrum of people from the area and those who are also music lovers. I also think what we are doing is amazing because we are creating access to live music and information for free. This area of Los Angeles faces challenges in terms of crime, a housing crisis and poverty so the very act of bringing joy and resources to the people inspires me each time to give the highest quality experience possible. I also enjoy being part of such a dedicated, creative and driven team who value each other and the work.
What’s the biggest challenge in your work?
There are a few challenges in this type of work. We are always running against time, there are simply not enough hours in the day/performance to accomplish all we would like to! There is also the act of balancing the needs and wants of all who are participating such as vendors, sponsors, production team, performers, neighbors, donors, staff, community partners, audience members, and so many who are key to making each event successful. I appreciate the creative tension that comes with each day we are on the lawn because it shows me people are invested and want to see the best quality possible.
What would you like to say to a person who wants to do what you do?
For someone who is interested in this type of career I’d like to share that you have to come from a place of love for the work. I see what we do as an offering in every sense of the physical and experiential manifestation. Being open to feedback constantly builds our resilience and offers us an opportunity to grow. I’d also recommend being patient and not being afraid to advocate for yourself. Take time to learn various histories to have context of how you move through and with a given community. It is also key to understand the dynamics of power and privilege, especially where we are as a country and world politically. To me the very act of producing events that are free and open to all demonstrates a major shift towards ‘collective care.’ So many people share how happy they are after experiencing live music. We have a lot of healing and connection to offer with this work.
Feel free to promote yourself and your services, how people can find you on social media, etc.
Let’s stay connected and thank you Erika as you continue kicking ass 🙂❤️
Who or what role would you like to see showcased on my blog next?