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Firework finale at the Bowl
Photograph: Courtesy of Margaret Napier/Flickr

The Hollywood Bowl will indeed have a summer season—including free shows for frontline workers

The LA Phil, Pink, Thundercat, Flying Lotus and La Santa Cecilia top the initial announcements.

By
Michael Juliano
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It’s really not summer in L.A. without a bottle of wine and dollar bench seats at the Hollywood Bowl. And after a particularly tough year, boy are we glad to hear that summer as we used to know it looks to be coming back in 2021.

The Hollywood Bowl is reopening for a more-or-less regular season this summer, and so too is the Ford, which the LA Phil programs as well. “My friends, we have missed you, and we cannot wait to share music in person again,” said Los Angeles Philharmonic music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel in a statement.

At the Bowl, things kick off with four free concerts for healthcare workers, first responders and essential workers: two concerts from Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil (May 15, 22); a set from L.A.’s own cumbia-meets-bossa-nova band La Santa Cecilia (June 26); and local bassist extraordinaire Thundercat and avant-hip-hop producer Flying Lotus (June 12), both of whom were slated for the canceled 2020 season. In addition, the Bowl has also added a screening of the upcoming documentary P!nk: All I Know So Far (May 17), with an appearance from the singer herself. The first three of those free shows come thanks to a sponsorship by Kaiser Permanente.

Then, beginning in July, the Bowl will stage 14 weeks of concerts, including the annual July 4th Fireworks Spectacular. Similarly, the Ford will open in late July for a 15-week run—and the first six shows will be free to the public. Look for the full season lineups to drop on May 11 for the Bowl and May 25 for the Ford.

The Bowl will initially be able to seat 4,000 concertgoers (just under a quarter of its capacity) when shows kick off in May, and it expects to increase capacity as the summer goes on. The limited capacity is in line with the recent guidelines for outdoor performances, but given that California aims to do away with the tier system entirely by June 15, we’d expect to see a more typical Bowl experience for much of the summer.

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