Concerts at the Hollywood Bowl will not be part of Los Angeles' soundtrack of summer for the first time in the storied venue's 100-year history.
The LA Philharmonic Association, which programs events at the Hollywood Bowl and The Ford, announced Wednesday that summer 2020 events have been canceled at both locations.
Earlier this year, the Bowl posted a health advisory indicating performances would go ahead as planned, but advised people to stay home if they had symptoms of the illness. A statement was posted on the association's site early Wednesday afternoon with an update that had been expected as California remains under a stay-at-home order issued in March by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“The Hollywood Bowl and The Ford are much more than performance venues. They are iconic places and represent summer traditions that have played a part in defining Los Angeles itself,” said Gail Samuel, president of the Hollywood Bowl and CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. “It’s deeply saddening to acknowledge that the 2020 summer season is gone, but the LA Phil isn’t going anywhere. Our cultural community is among the most vibrant and creative in the world.
“We have every reason to look ahead with hope and confidence to next summer’s centennial celebrations at the Hollywood Bowl and The Ford.”
The canceled concerts will likely result in a roughly $80 million budget shortfall and furloughs for about 25 percent of its non-union workforce, the LA Philharmonic Association said in a statement. Furloughs also will affect the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra through Sept. 30 and seasonal Bowl employees will be laid off, according to the statement.
The Association had already reduced non-essential expenses, laid off its part-time employees and instituted salary reductions.
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The Association announced the start of a “Play Your Part” program to ease the financial strain. Ticketholders can donate the value of their tickets back to the LA Phil.
The Bowl officially opened in 1922. During that time, crowds have seen world famous performers in the picturesque Hollywood canyon setting. During World War II, audience sizes were limited to 5,000 due to war-time safety concerns, but this is the first time the venue has canceled an entire season.
In 1951, the venue was temporarily closed for about two weeks after a performance of Johann Strauss’ ‘Die Fledermaus’ bombed in costly fashion, according to the Los Angeles Times. Civic leaders and residents raises money through an emergency fund, and performances returned less that two weeks later.