The Hollywood Bowl’s 2020 Season Has Been Canceled

No more Janelle Monáe, Cynthia Erivo, Diana Ross, July 4th fireworks, or evenings under the stars with the L.A. Phil

When the Hollywood Bowl announced its 2020 schedule back in February, it didn’t seem unreasonable to start planning to pack picnics and spend evenings under the stars in June, July, and August.

Man, have things changed.

For the first time in 98 years, the Hollywood Bowl has canceled its summer season for safety reasons amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Ford Theatres’ season has also been canceled. Even as L.A. County’s beaches, trails, and some retail businesses reopen (all with restrictions), the resumption of large gatherings like concerts is still a ways off. In Governor Gavin Newsom’s four-phase plan for reopening the state, concerts, conventions, and live-audience sports are part of the final phase—and there’s no timeline for reaching that phase as yet.

Besides being a major financial blow to the Los Angeles Philharmonic—which manages the venue and counts ticket sales as its largest source of revenue—the cancelation leaves a gaping void in many Angelenos’ typical L.A. summers. Spending evenings in the Bowl’s bleachers and boxes is a beloved ritual—and it’s not just the performances that’ll be missed. As the L.A. Times‘s Jessica Gelt so beautifully put it, “The Hollywood Bowl is summer in Los Angeles. It is running, dizzy, down Highland Avenue with friends after a drink at the Frolic Room or a chilled martini at Musso & Frank. It is barefoot and tanned just outside the gate, wearing a favorite cotton skirt, the scent of sizzling bacon-wrapped hot dogs and street corn slathered in mayonnaise blending with shouts of ‘tacos, tortas, aguas frescas!’ It is laughing in the $1 seats at the very top of the amphitheater, the sun melting like deep-yellow butter over the hills, stars blinking awake in the darkening dome of the sky.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said, “This decision makes me heartsick for all the County residents who have made the Bowl and the Ford a treasured ritual of each summer, although this is the best decision to make in the face of the threat from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board of Supervisors will continue to work closely with these great cultural institutions as we work our way through this crisis and ensure their stability for the future.” 

According to a press release announcing the cancelation, the L.A. Phil is bracing for an $80 million budget shortfall.

For a glimpse at what you’ll miss, below you’ll find the full schedule that was released in February. Of course, we’ll all miss so much more.

Playboy Jazz Festival
Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7

Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl: Brandi Carlile with Fireworks
Saturday, June 13

Bob Dylan
Thursday, June 18

Jill Scott
Sunday, June 21

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in Concert
Saturday, June 27

Andrew Bird with Calexico and Iron & Wine Mandolin Orange
Sunday, June 28

July Fourth Fireworks Spectacular with The Beach Boys
Thursday, July 2,  Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4

Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington, L.A. Phil
Sunday, July 5

Dudamel Conducts Carmina Burana
Tuesday, July 7

Dudamel Leads Márquez World Premiere
Thursday, July 9

Fantasia, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Friday, July 10

Pentatonix with Orchestra
Saturday, July 11 and Sunday July 12

Beethoven 250 
Tuesday, July 14

All Rachmaninoff
Thursday, July 16

Janelle Monáe with Orchestra
Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18

Maxwell with Orchestra
Sunday, July 19, at 7PM

Pictures at an Exhibition
Tuesday, July 21, at 8PM

The Planets
Thursday, July 23, at 8PM

School of Rock
Friday, July 24, Saturday, July 25, Sunday July 26

Liszt & Dvořák
Tuesday, July 28

Chick Corea and The Spanish Heart Band Featuring Rubén Blades Los Van Van
Wednesday, July 29

John Williams & Anne-Sophie Mutter: Across the Stars
Thursday, July 30

Warner Bros. Presents: Bugs Bunny at the Symphony – 80th Birthday Celebration
Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1

Reggae Night XIX: Rebelution, Toots & The Maytals Jah 9, DJ Mackle

Sunday, August 2

Dvořák & Brahms
Tuesday, August 4

Miss Peggy Lee at 100 with The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra Debbie Harry, special guest
Wednesday, August 5

Elgar’s Cello Concerto
Thursday, August 6

Tchaikovsky Spectacular with Fireworks
Friday, August 7 and Saturday, August 8

Polo & Pan, Parcels, Poolside, Lido Pimienta
Sunday, August 9

Dudamel & Bolle
Tuesday, August 11

Charlie Wilson
Wednesday, August 12

Dudamel Conducts Bernstein’s Wonderful Town
Thursday, August 13

Cynthia Erivo
Friday, August 14

Little Big Town with Orchestra
Saturday, August 15

Brittany Howard, Thundercat, Georgia Anne Muldrow
Sunday, August 16

Celebrating the Suffragettes
Tuesday, August 18, at 8PM

John Fogerty: My 50 Year Trip, Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Wednesday, August 19

Amadeus Live in Concert
Thursday, August 20, at 8PM

James Blake with Orchestra
Saturday, August 22

Not Our First Goat Rodeo: Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, with guest Aoife O’Donovan
Sunday, August 23

Beethoven’s Violin Concerto
Tuesday, August 25

Dave Brubeck & Charlie Parker Centennial Celebration
Wednesday, August 26

Yuja Wang Plays Shostakovich
Thursday, August 27

The B-52s with Orchestra
Friday, August 28 and Saturday, August 29

Smooth Summer Jazz: George Benson, Boney James, Kenny Lattimore, Mindi Abair
Sunday, August 30

Mozart Under the Stars
Tuesday, September 1

The Firebird Suite
Thursday, September 3, at 8PM

Maestro of the Movies: John Williams
Friday, September 4, Saturday, September 5, and Sunday, September 6

Rhapsody in Blue
Tuesday, September 8, at 8PM

Hiatus Kaiyote
Wednesday, September 9, at 8PM

Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Thursday, September 10

Diana Ross
Friday, September 11, Saturday, September 12

The Princess Bride in Concert
Sunday, September 13

Sheryl Crow, Lake Street Drive
Wednesday, September 16

Herbie Hancock, Jamie Cullum
Wednesday, September 23

Sing-A-Long Sound of Music
Saturday, September 26

Pet Shop Boys, New Order
Friday, October 2

RELATED: A Closer Look at the Hollywood Bowl, Past and Present

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