Levitt Pavilion: About Those Wrist Bands …

Back in the middle of the pandemic — remember those days? — the Levitt Pavilion pivoted like many entertainment venues.

“Pods” — circles drawn on the grass — kept small groups socially distanced from each other. Pre-registration was required. Attendance was capped.

COVID is now in our rear view mirror. Social distancing has gone the way of washing our food and keeping it outside for 48 hours before eating.

But Westport’s premier summertime showcase still requires registration — even for free events. And many shows “sell out.”


“The free-ticket model was one we adopted for some shows even before the pandemic,” say Freda and Carleigh Welsh, the Levitt executive director, and marketing and development director respectively.

Enjoying the Levitt Pavilion lawn. (Photo/Jim Honeycutt)

“Most importantly, it allows us to safely limit capacity. Shows frequently attract capacity crowds — not all, but many — and if, say, we were to attract 2,000 people for the free Calexico show but had to turn away almost half of them, it would not be ideal from any perspective.

“Free ticket distribution has become an integral part of crowd management, as well as providing effective communication with attendees for updates (showtime changes, weather, etc.).”

Other benefits, the Welshes say, include helping people make plans in advance so they can count on attending popular shows with friends.

The Welshes note that tickets are sometimes returned, prior to a show. They are given to the box office and/or a wait list.

“Spontaneity is still in season,” the Welshes add.

“On any given evening, people can still come. If there is space on the lawn, they can check in at the box office.”

(Photo/JC Martin)

ENCORE: The Levitt Pavilion presents over 50 free shows each summer. Information (and free tickets) are available at www.levittpavilion.com. The box office opens 2 hours before showtime.

And the Levitt has just announced 3 new free ticket shows: Julie Williams on July 28, Karina Rykman August 11, and Bailen September 14. Get ’em while they last!

(Over 50 Levitt Pavilion shows are free. “06880” is free too. But — like the Levitt — we rely on residents’ support. Please click here to donate to your hyper-local blog. Thank you!) 

3 responses to “Levitt Pavilion: About Those Wrist Bands …

  1. It has been difficult to go to free events as tickets are always sold out for entire season!. In my opinion it must be everyone grabs tickets soon as they are available, in May? Whether or not they attend is another mattter, blocking others from getting in. I did ask at the box office and they say tickets are used for crowd control. I do not like this system as I need to keep calling to see if anyone canceled! So what I will do next year is sign up for tickets for all events in advance, like everyone else!!!! I like the pre covid days. You can just go! I also was told many ticket holders don’t show and don’t even bother to call so others can get in. It’s just ridiculous

  2. I remember, back in the 70’s, when a show would attract over-flo crowds, the mood became electric with the buzz of humanity. That was the magic. The performance was almost secondary to the experience. I remember the year it opened, it was like an explosion of culture, for a little kid.

  3. I think it would be a good idea to try the old system again. The ticketing system is not working fairly and spontaneity is not an option. Why not give it a try? Please and thank you.

What do you think? Please comment! Remember: All commenters must use full, real names!