Blind Boys of Alabama, Crystal Bowersox & More Highlight Opening Weekend of Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks’ Summer Concert Series
BETHLEHEM, PA—GRAMMY-winning gospel and blues legends Blind Boys of Alabama, American Idol’s Crystal Bowersox, indie rockers Jukebox the Ghost, the GRAMMY-nominated Lost Bayou Ramblers and bluegrass group The Railsplitters highlight the opening weekend (May 26-30) of the 2016 Levitt Pavilion Summer Concert Series at SteelStacks. The series, which takes place at the base of the iconic blast furnaces on the site, will offer more than 50 free concerts for the region Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., through Sept. 10; the complete concert series lineup will be announced later this spring.
On May 28, the Levitt Pavilion welcomes the Blind Boys of Alabama. This legendary group boasts five GRAMMY Awards, four GMA Dove Awards and more than seven decades of performing, including trips to the White House to play for three presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. They have collaborated with artists as diverse as Peter Gabriel, Willie Nelson, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Mavis Staples, Ben Harper and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Singer-songwriter Crystal Bowersox, the 2010 runner-up on American Idol, takes the stage May 27. Called “raw, natural talent” by Shania Twain, Bowersox released her debut album, Farmer’s Daughter, in 2010, with the recording peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart. Prior to her Levitt Pavilion show, Bowersox will provide a unique music-in-education experience for Donegan and Fountain Hill Elementary School students. As part of the Bethlehem Area School District’s Field Day, students from the two schools will visit the Levitt for a sound check, talk and Q&A session with the artist.
Bringing indie vibes to the Levitt Pavilion stage May 29 is Jukebox the Ghost. This three-man band has toured with Ingrid Michaelson; opened for notable artists like Jack’s Mannequin, Motion City Soundtrack and Barenaked Ladies; and appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.
On May 30, GRAMMY nominees Lost Bayou Ramblers will bring their Cajun sounds to SteelStacks. In addition to international tours through France and Sweden, the band has collaborated with artists ranging from Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano to Scarlett Johansson. In 2012, the group contributed to the score of the Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
The 2016 Levitt Summer Concert Series kicks off May 26 with The Railsplitters, an adventurous quintet from Colorado that is redefining the genre of bluegrass. Putting a pop twist on foot-tapping fiddling and complex harmonies, this group won “Best New Band” at the 2013 Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Festival. In 2015, they released their second album, “The Faster It Goes,” after a successful Kickstarter campaign that netted them $10,000 to fund the recording.
The free Levitt Pavilion Summer Concert Series is made possible thanks to the support of PPL; Beck Packaging; Boyle Construction; Kevitch, Chung & Jan Aesthetic Surgery Associates; QNB Bank; South Italy Imports; Wegmans Bethlehem; Service Electric Cable TV & Communications and WDIY Public Radio. Funding for the series is also provided by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation. To stay on top of all the summer concert series announcements, follow @steelstacks, like facebook.com/levittsteelstacks or visit www.levittsteelstacks.org.