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Every summer, concertgoers fill the benches of LA’s most iconic amphitheater: the Hollywood Bowl. As you are enjoying summer performances under the stars, look behind the scene for the ultimate experience: discover five surprising things about the Hollywood Bowl.
A pinch of history
- Originally the Hollywood Bowl was a picnic area named Daisy Dell.
- The Theatre Arts Alliance Inc. bought the land in 1919 for $47,500.
- It appears for the first time in the silent film “The Symphony” (1928).
- Eating at the bowl during performances was forbidden until 1952.
- The seating capacity is 18,000.
The largest natural outdoor amphitheater in the USA
The Hollywood Bowl is a natural amphitheater nestled in the hills. The popular picnic area, Daisy Dell, hosted various events back in the 1920s: theater performance, graduation, concerts, etc.
Gertrude Ross and Anna Ruzena Sprotte were the first to perform on a simple wooden platform. As the Bowls attracted more people, the stage and seating improved. From 1926 through 2004, different shapes of shells were installed to enhance the acoustic.
Did you know? When the Beatles sang in August 1964, the scream of 18,700 fans was so loud that it was impossible to neither ear nor record their performance.
LA Philharmonic (summer) and Hollywood bowl Orchestra home
In March 1921, the LA philharmonic performed for the Easter Sunrise Service. In July 1922, the “father of the Bowl,” Alfred Hertz, kick off the tradition of LA Phil’s summer venues. A few years later, on January 1927, LA Phil was “the first major symphony orchestra in the United States to broadcast an entire concert on the radio” (source: https://www.hollywoodbowl.com/).
Did you know?
Frank Sinatra was the first singer to collaborate with the LA Philharmonic in 1943.
Insider tips: On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday morning (from 9:30am to 12:30pm) you can assist in LA Phil rehearsal for free. Call the audience service (323)-850-2000 before schedule information (some rehearsal can be closed to the public).
The Bowl is also home to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. HBO is composed of more than 80 musicians from around the world. Their repertoire is varied, from Mozart to Jazz including film music. Live performances from major motion pictures with movies like Indian Jones and Mama Mia, for example, is one of their specialties.
Did you know? In 1993, HBO recorded “That’s Entertainment III,” their first movie soundtrack recording.
The Cahuenga Pass Treasure
Supposedly, a treasure is hidden along the Cahuenga Pass. In 1864, Diego Moreno stole $200,000 worse of gold, silver, diamonds, and pearls to Benito Juarez, Emperor of Mexico. When he arrived in Los Angeles, he hidden it next to a tree.
In 1939, Los Angeles County dug behind the Hollywood Bowl. Unsuccessfully. The legend of the Cahuenga Pass treasure is still on….
A public park
The Hollywood Bowl is operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. This public park offers a unique scenery –including a view on the Hollywood Sign – along with 14 picnic ground. Stretch your legs and relax on benches while admiring the fauna and flora. There are a lot of shade areas and it’s quiet (and not crowded!).
Did you know? It was the first amphitheater in California to be certified as an Audubon Society Cooperative Sanctuary (program and certification for environmental conservation)
Before ascending the hill for a concert, step inside the Hollywood Bowl’s museum (free admission). There are two floors dedicated to the Bowl’s history. Many photographies and recordings highlight architecture, dance and music performance over the years. It’s small and interesting.
Ready to explore the Hollywood Bowl?
- Location: 2301 N. Highland Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90068.
- Hours: Sunrise to Sunset (may vary according to events).
- Admission: the park is free. For summer nights tickets, check Hollywood Bowl’s website.
- Parking: on-site lot (free during the day). For concerts, bus shuttles are available ($6/person round trip). Expect a lot of traffic during summer events.
- You can bring food and alcohol inside but there are some restrictions according to the venue.
- Bring a blanket, it can be chilly at night.
- More information available at https://www.hollywoodbowl.com/