By Dominic Garcia

DENVER (CBS4) – A year after opening in Denver’s Ruby Hill neighborhood, the Levitt Pavilion is going strong and keeping its promise to be a venue focused on local artists.

(credit: CBS)

Murry Mercier and Michael John McKee are in the band Strange Americans. They’ve performed at the pavilion twice and say it’s an experience unlike any other.

CBS4’s Dominic Garcia interviews Murry Mercier and Michael John McKee. (credit: CBS)

“To have such a big stage, to give artists an opportunity to play on a stage they might not have performed on before with a large sound system and a full light rig and cameras on you… it’s a different experience, and it’s awesome,” Mercier told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.

(credit: CBS)

The venue features lawn seating, while using the natural topography of Ruby Hill Park, an air stage with state-of-the-art sound and lighting, a backstage office, performer dressing rooms, public art, and an outdoor concession area. Every year the venue offers 50 free concerts and local bands always open.

Murray and Michael say the venue treats local acts just like they would a headliner.

(credit: CBS)

“They put just as much effort into a local band, from advertising, bringing in the food trucks, to production value and promoting the show as much as they would a national act. That makes an artist feel really valued in the community,” said Mercier.

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The venue also gives bands exposure. The shows are recorded and air on Denver 8, the city’s TV station.

“So that’s kind of cool for us because then we have another piece of media we can show other music industry folks. Like hey, we’re a legitimate band, this is what we sound like on this size stage,” Michael John McKee told CBS4.

LINK: Levitt Pavilion Denver

Dominic Garcia anchors CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and reports for CBS4 News at 10 p.m. Connect with the Denver native on Twitter @cbs4dom & on Facebook.