Crescent Ballroom holds series of outdoor concerts through May

The Crescent Ballroom, located at Second Avenue and Van Buren Street, has hosted a series of outdoor concerts that will conclude in May. (Thomas Hawthorne/DD)

The Crescent Ballroom of downtown Phoenix has started a series of outdoor concerts that will run through May.

Located at Second Avenue and Van Buren Street, the Crescent Ballroom hosts live musical performances every week, but this is the first time it has held concerts outdoors.

Owner Charlie Levy began the concert series to take advantage of the outdoor space.

“I thought it’d be a fun environment to see a show,” Levy said.

So far there have been three concerts in the last six months, featuring performances from bands like Modest Mouse, Levy said. The staff might serve alcohol depending on the event, Levy added.

“It’s something that you just have to have a feeling about through dealing with concerts and promoting acts,” he said.

The concerts might be helping business, Levy said, but not tremendously. However, the concerts are good for downtown Phoenix and the music community, he said.

The last scheduled concert is planned for May 18, Levy said. The Crescent Ballroom’s online calendar advertises “Los Dias De La Crescent” that night, with performances from several entertainers, such as the Kongos and Black Carl.

There will not be any concerts during the summer, and Levy couldn’t say if the Crescent will have more in the future.

“We might never do any more,” he said, adding that it’s hard for him to say at this time. “We might do one; we might do two. We haven’t planned anything beyond the May 18 show.”

Levy has not needed a permit for the concerts because the neighborhood does not require one, he said. The concerts have all ended around 11 p.m.

“No one lives near us, so we haven’t had any problems,” Levy said.

Tricia Gomes, a planner with the city of Phoenix, said that the rules vary by district. The Crescent Ballroom and other venues in the downtown area are allowed to have outdoor performances on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays without needing a permit.

“All throughout the city, there’s just different requirements,” Gomes said.

John Largay founded the McDowell Mountain Music Festival 10 years ago. He has worked with the Crescent Ballroom in planning after-party performances when the curfew ended for his concerts at Margaret T. Hance Park.

The concerts benefit the Crescent Ballroom because they can accommodate a large audience, Largay said. The outdoor performances can also benefit the downtown area.

However, he added that for live music to truly thrive in the area, the Crescent Ballroom needs to develop synergy with other venues and outlets. McDowell Mountain Music Festival has helped, but more needs to grow to develop live music, Largay said.

“I don’t think Crescent can stand alone,” he said, though he could not name other downtown venues that would be able to help.

For Levy, the process for bringing people to the concerts is very simple.

“The number one thing is safety,” Levy said. “Number two is that the patrons have a great time. Number three is the artists enjoying themselves.”

“It’s as simple as one-two-three,” he said.

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