• Donny Willis

With Limited Capacity, the Hollywood Bowl and The Ford will reopen in May.

For the 2021 season, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association has announced that its outdoor concert venues, the Hollywood Bowl and The Ford, will reopen. The LA Phil will host four free concerts for healthcare staff, first responders, and important workers to commemorate the reopening, "as a sign of gratitude for what they have done for Los Angeles during the pandemic."

The Hollywood Bowl will host 14 weeks of concerts beginning in July, including crowd favorites including Fourth of July fireworks, Tchaikovsky Spectacular, and Sing-Along Sound of Music. The Hollywood Bowl will release detailed details on programming, times, and ticketing on May 11 and The Ford on May 25.

The Hollywood Bowl will be able to welcome a limited-capacity crowd of approximately 4,000 when concerts start in May, according to Los Angeles County Public Health guidelines, and expects to ramp up to greater capacity later in the summer as guidelines evolve.

“Now that we are able to offer concerts, even to small crowds, we feel it is our duty as stewards of these two vital venues to welcome audiences back,” says Chad Smith, CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and chair of the David C. Bohnett CEO chair.

Although the Hollywood Bowl can accommodate up to 17,500 people, California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy reopening framework requires venues to restrict capacity in order to reduce COVID exposure. As of today, Los Angeles County is in the orange category, which requires outdoor stadiums to hold fans at 33 percent capacity or 67 percent capacity if all visitors display evidence of complete vaccination or a negative test result within 72 hours of attendance.

“Even if it's a big loss, it'll be appropriate to reopen these venues. Smith tells Billboard, "It's really costly." “But, again, we feel compelled to make this investment because of our loyalty to this community.”

The Los Angeles Philharmonic is a non-profit organization that also runs the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and Kaiser Permanente is helping to underwrite three of the first activities. They will feature Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic (May 15 & 22) performing Beethoven to Marquez, with artists to be confirmed for the third gathering (June 26). Thundercat and Flying Lotus, both from Los Angeles, will perform at the fourth free concert on June 12. The performance on May 15 will be the Bowl's first public performance in 18 months.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared on April 6 that the state would go "beyond" the blueprint tier structure and remove all restrictions on businesses by June 15, citing the state's rapid vaccine rollout. The LA Phil, according to Smith, is constantly adjusting its schedule to accommodate the Governor's announcement.

"Even though the loss is important, it would be appropriate to open these venues. It's exorbitantly priced "Smith told Billboard about it. "But, again, we feel compelled to make this investment because of our loyalty to this city."

The Ford's season will begin in late July and run for 15 weeks, featuring a wide range of local and regional Southern California artists. “The Ford is committed to serving Los Angeles County on its stage and in its audience, and has made 20% of its performances free to the public,” according to the LA Phil. The 1,200-seat amphitheater was built in 1920 and is one of the city's oldest venues.