The Levitt AMP Fort Smith Music Series will return to Fort Smith May 12 thanks to a grant from the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation. 64.6 Downtown received the grant for the second year, allowing it to bring 10 free, family-friendly concerts to the Riverfront Park in downtown Fort Smith.
The music series, which will continue through July 14, will feature a diverse roster of artists playing along the Arkansas River, said 64.6 Executive Director Talisha Richardson.
The Levitt Foundation awarded 64.6 Downtown a $25,000 second-year matching grant to present the Levitt AMP Fort Smith Music Series. Because it was a second year grant, Fort Smith did not have to go through the nomination and online voting process necessary for the initial grant.
In 2019, Fort Smith was selected as one of 20 towns to receive a $25,000 matching grant to present the first Levitt AMP Fort Smith Music Series. The Levitt’s program of permanent outdoor music venues presents more than 50 free concerts yearly in large metropolitan areas, but these grant awards are specifically designed for smaller cities. The series was supposed to have been held during summer 2020, but was postponed until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The music series is a partnership between 64.6 Downtown and the city of Fort Smith, bringing free, accessible and inclusive music to the community. Through the series, multiple genres of music will be presented including Norteño, Indie rock, jazz, R&B, Neo soul, folk, blues, Americana and a unique combo of bluegrass with hip hop, the 64.6 website states.
“It is an honor to bring the Levitt AMP Fort Smith Music Series to downtown for a second year. The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation provides exceptional support throughout the year to its grantees. Because of this, we can deliver an array of musical and artistic genres to get our community moving, in an inclusive environment listening to live music,” Richardson said.
Choctaw Casino & Resort will join the Dream Alliance Foundation as sponsor for the series, she added.
Prior to last year’s series, the Riverfront Park, 121 Riverfront Drive, had about 16-18 events a year, Richardson said. In 2021, the park had 40 events. She said people were encouraged, as they were last year, to bring their blankets and chairs and set up around the amphitheater. Picnic baskets and pets are allowed.
“This shows that the goal of (the foundation) to activate underused public spaces very much was achieved by this concert series. Not only were people coming to the concert, they were driven to have other events there,” Richardson said.
The concerts will be held every Thursday May 12 through July 14. The park opens at 6 p.m., with the opener taking the stage at 7 p.m. and the headliner at 7:30 p.m. Following are the dates and acts.
May 12: Chris Cameron and Trey Johnson
Cameron blends guitar virtuosity with heartfelt vocals in a way that displays his blues background. Johnson’s focus is blues, roots and Americana.
May 19: Conjunto SinLey
A Hispanic Norteno band, founded in 2007 in Oklahoma, the band performs using the accordion and saxophone as primary melody.
May 26: Anitta Smith
A Fort Smith native, Smith blends gospel and soul music.
June 2: Hudost
The electric folk, world-rock musical duo love collaborating with other artists focusing on social and environmental justice through music, advocacy and art.
June 9: Dawson Hollow
This American indie-folk-rock band composed of five siblings fuses the cinematic colors of pop, nostalgic string elements of Americana and five-part harmonies.
June 16: New Breed Brass Band
This New Orleans Band fuses funk, rock, jazz and hip hop into a custom-made enhancement of the city’s second-line brass band tradition.
June 23: Michael Fields Jr.
Fields, an international recording artist, bassist and producer, can be heard on smooth jazz stations worldwide. His single, “Get Up On It,” peaked at No. 28 on the Smooth Jazz top 100 charts.
June 30: The Claudettes
The Claudettes fuse Chicago piano blues with full throttle energy of rockabilly and punk and the sultriness of 60s soul.
July 7: Gangstagrass
Gangstagrass combines the American traditions of bluegrass, hip-hop and beyond to create a new musical genre.
July 14: Chantae Cann
Cann’s background is rooted in jazz, soul and gospel, reflective in rhythm and hip hop. Her debut release, “Journey to Golden,” landed No. 1 on the iTunes Jazz Charts in 2016.