Levings Park, 1420 S. Pierpont Ave., Rockford, is a regional destination park that provides unique recreational experiences with two entertainment series that run each summer, West Rock Wake Park, fishing, playgrounds, and shelters to utilize for special events. Music, arts, and culture are easy to find almost every Sunday during the summer at Levings Park thanks to the free Live at Levings and Domingos en el Parque entertainment series.

For nearly 40 years, these two summer staples have had to utilize Park District showmobiles, which had minimal performance space and production. Last summer, Hard Rock Casino Rockford, Ringland-Johnson Construction, and the Rockford Park District unveiled plans for a permanent concert venue, which included a concrete stage, beautiful cedar structure, and a durable metal roof along with upgraded lighting and sound equipment.

“This stage is not just a platform for entertainment but a catalyst for change, bridging divides, and fostering connections within the community. Through the power of art and expression, we come together as one, celebrating diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. This stage will be a beacon of hope and a testament to the transformative power of coming together. It will be a symbol of solidarity,” said Rockford Park District Operations Director David Spencer.

The new outdoor concert venue, known as Levings Unity Pavilion is officially open. The Rockford Park District held a naming contest on social media within the last month asking the community for an official name. “Hard Rock Casino Rockford is honored to be a part of this historic program at Levings Park.

The Sounds of Summer series has a rich 30+ year history, and we are pitching in to help make the next 30 years even better. Our commitment to the Rockford Park District, this project, and this community has been 100% since day one,” said Geno Iafrate, President of Hard Rock Casino Rockford.

Levings Unity Pavilion Fast Facts:

• 807-square-foot stage and timber structure

• Two 165-square-foot dressing rooms, each with air conditioning and heat

• Stage is completely accessible

Costs for architecture, engineering, and construction were funded thanks to Ringland-Johnson Construction and Hard Rock Casino Rockford. “This is so very exciting! I recall meeting with the casino leadership four years ago, discussing our joint support for the Rockford Park District in a meaningful way. It has been very near and dear to me personally. This is the largest community donation Ringland-Johnson has ever made, and it is wonderful that it has come full circle with today’s dedication and musical celebration,” said Brent Johnson, Chairman/CEO of Ringland-Johnson Construction.

In 2019, the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners approved a resolution of support for the proposed Hard Rock Casino in Rockford. The District was also named a philanthropy partner for Hard Rock Casino Rockford because of the District’s commitment to improve the quality of life for all citizens and to unite our diverse community through the power of play and music. Hard Rock Casino Rockford is all in on investing in area youth, and this partnership will provide financial resources to support areas that citizens deemed top priorities, such as neighborhood parks and youth programs, along with arts and cultural programming.

About Live at Levings

Live at Levings started in 1986, from an idea by Elbert Jordan. Live at Levings is a talent showcase featuring a variety of musicians, singers, dancers, poets, and much more. Elbert coordinated the venue for 17 years until award-winning soul jazz saxophonist Harlan Jefferson became director of the Levings Talent Showcase. It’s an opportunity for local aspiring artists to take their performance to the stage and develop their skills. It also provides cultural, educational, recreational, and leadership development experiences through the arts.

“We’ve been wanting something like this for years. With the help of Hard Rock Casino Rockford and Ringland-Johnson Construction, we are taking Levings Showcase to a whole different level. Music is a universal language that always puts a smile on people’s faces. If you ever think about music therapy, think about Live at Levings,” said Harlan Jefferson, Live at Levings Showcase Director.

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