Tag Archives: charlie levy

Top 5 Arizona Music Festivals (Spring-Summer 2012)

Viva PHX music festival features 20 venues

Viva PHX, a music festival going for its second round on March 14, will host more than 90 bands in 20 different venues in the downtown Phoenix area.

“The music is the No. 1 thing,” said Charlie Levy, creator of Viva PHX. “No. 2 is the experience.  If any of these bands don’t mean anything to you, you’re going to have a crazy great time.”

Usual music festivals have two stages and if you don’t know who is playing, then you don’t enjoy yourself, Levy said. But at Viva PHX, there are 20 venues playing at the same time.

“I want people to walk by a venue and poke their head in it and hopefully see the best show they’ve seen all year,” he said.

Three blocks of Monroe Street will be closed off for a giant block party with food trucks, vendors, artists and a Lucha Libre wresting stage in the dead center of it.

It’s a lot of small venues, but intimate ones like Grace Chapel, Phoenix Masonic Temple and the basement of the Orpheum Theatre, Levy said,  which most of Phoenix probably doesn’t know exists.

“That’s why we want to keep it around 8,000 like last year, to keep it crowded but not overwhelming,” he said.

Levy said he can’t wait for people to enter Grace Chapel, part of that burned-down 100-year-old abbey on Monroe Street and seeing flamenco. “That’s fun for me,” he said.

Wild Ones (a band Levy raved about), Best Coast, Coolio, Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World and Arizona locals are the type of artists being featured this year. Levy said he also brought in bands from Mexico and Tucson to recreate those world music venues at South by Southwest.

“We kind of went for really great artists and not necessarily for flavor of the day,” Levy said, comparing Viva PHX to Pot of Gold and other music festivals in the Phoenix area at the same time.

A Spotify playlist is on the site to share music from the artists performing at Viva PHX and for the audience to discover them.  “You don’t have to be the biggest music nerd to enjoy this festival,” Levy said.

Viva PHX was planned in three months last year, but more time did not make it easier because it had to be better, Levy said. “As long as the people keep wanting it, it’ll keep happening,” he said.

crescent ballroom

Crescent Ballroom – More Than Just Music And Munchies

Crescent Ballroom extends its hours to accommodate the downtown lunch-hour crowd

Don’t let the size of this venue fool you. It’s a triple-threat host to seven nights of live music and a full-service bar, as well as two well-known chefs in its kitchen. And — it’s no longer limiting itself as a Downtown Phoenix happy hour hot spot and music joint. Crescent Ballroom is extending its hours and its demographic — opening up for lunch.

Opened in October 2011, owner Charlie Levy transformed the F.L. Hart Garage into the live music venue it is today, hosting a wide range of local and national musicians and artists. But it isn’t just the music that customers are walking, biking and light railing to experience; the food has become quite the headliner, too.

Levy joined forces with Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco, and Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco, to create Cocina 10 with its locally-sourced menu comprised of what they call “Mexican-accented road food,” featuring common finger foods with a border-inspired twist.

“Even if they don’t come for a show or they’re taking a chance on a band, I always hope they enjoy the experience and the food,” Levy says. “I want them to enjoy their meal and think it’s exceptional and at a fair price, and that they enjoy the atmosphere.”

And they have, and they do.

“We kept getting feedback from customers who kept asking why the hours were so limited and why we were only open at night,” Levy says.

In April, Crescent Ballroom opened its doors during the lunch hour, starting at 11 a.m., appealing especially to the business crowd on their lunch break, Levy adds. Cocina 10 will continue to have the same menu operated by Bianco and Robson.

Crescent Ballroom is open daily with a diverse range of live music in the lounge — always free. For more information about Crescent, to view its menu or its events calendar, visit crescentphx.com.

Crescent Ballroom
308 N. 2nd Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85003
(602) 716-2222

Crescent Ballroom

Musicians Begin Howling At The Crescent Ballroom

For those looking to drink and dance rather than drink and drive, consider the Crescent Ballroom, located off the Van Buren and Central Ave. light rail stop in downtown Phoenix — also walking distance from Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix Campus.

Owner Charlie Levy considers the location ideal himself. “Opening up my own music venue is something I’ve always wanted to do, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this place that I thought ‘this is it.’ ”

Along with the crowd-friendly location, the ballroom, which can accommodate about 500 people, has historical significance that ultimately hooked Levy. The 7,000 sq. foot space, built in 1917, was once the F.L Hart Garage for cars along the Dixie Overland Highway, America’s only coast-to-coast highway, now known as U.S. Highway 80. This building has been here to watch Phoenix transform from a farm-heavy community to a pavement-heavy metropolis.

Although Levy is originally from Louisiana, he himself has watched Phoenix transform before his very eyes; he says it’s “unbelievable” how exponentially Phoenix is growing.

While attending ASU, Levy started his work in the field as a concert director for the student government and then briefly left school to work as a production assistant and talent buyer for a local production company, the Evening Star. He left the Evening Star to go back to school, and has since ventured on his own, leading to the creation of the Crescent.Crescent Ballroom

Crescent hosts local favorites such as Black Carl and Courtney Marie Andrews, as well as a variety of nationally known singers/songwriters in every genre, including Deer Tick (indie-folk), Rachael Yamagata (blues-rock) and Das Racist (alt. hip-hop). And Crescent Ballroom doesn’t have a booking policy.

“We love good music and host a wide range of singers and songwriters, from R&B to pop — there’s something for everyone,” Levy says.

The concert hall does not stand alone, however. There is also a lounge with full-bar service and free, live music everyday, as well as the option to order food from its restaurant, Cocina 10.

Cocina 10 is located within the ballroom, and while the menu is still in progress, the cuisine will be “Mexican-accented road food,” Levy says. He assembled his two favorite chefs from the Valley, Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco and Doug Robson of Gallo Blanco, and he also teamed up with Tucker Woodbury, owner of the Rocking Horse and the Vig in Arcadia, to make the Crescent all it could be. Woodbury has had a long-time background in night life and eateries, especially in the Phoenix area.

Levy’s goal? “To have a place for people to come and enjoy live music, and for the artists to also have a great night and experience.”

For more information and for a calendar of upcoming concerts, visit the Crescent Ballroom’s website.

[stextbox id=”grey”]

If  You Go: Crescent Ballroom

308 N. 2nd Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Parking is $5; exact change is a must.