The Hollywood Bowl Is A LA Concert Staple

on July 10, 2013

Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl is a modern amphitheater in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, CA and is one of the attractions that the city is best known for.

Known primarily as being one of the best music venues in California, the Bowl (2301 N Highland Ave., Hollywood CA) seats 18,000. It was designed as a band shell, a distinctive set of concentric arches that were used from 1929-2003 before they were replaced with a larger one in 2004. The shell was set against the backdrop of the Hollywood Hills and the famous Hollywood sign can be seen to the Northeast of the stadium.

The “bowl” is in reference to the shape of the concave that the amphitheater has been designed as. The venue is owned by the County of Los Angeles and is the home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and also serves as the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The original site of the Hollywood Bowl (2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles CA) was selected by William and H. Ellis Reed in 1919 who were members of the Theatre Arts Alliance asked to find a suitable location for outdoor performances. The theatre officially opened in 1922 on the site of the Daisy Dell. In its original state, the Bowl was not the spectacle that it is today, featuring only wooden benches for the audience and a small covering over the stage.

The venue received its first major renovation in 1926, during which it received permanent seating and its unique shell like structure. While the “improvements” increased the amphitheatre’s seating capacity to 26,410, they were generally regarded as actually being detrimental to the original.

For the 1927 season, Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, Lloyd Wright again changed the look of the Bowl and adopted a pyramidal shell. From the musician’s perspective, this was the best version of the shell in order to maximize acoustics. Unfortunately, the nouveau style of the design was believed to be too daring. In 1928, Lloyd Wright built a fiberglass shell in the shape of concentric 120-degree arches with movable panels inside that could be used to tune the acoustics. This allowed for the building to be to be easily dismantled between concert seasons.

In 1929, the Allied Architects built the shell that stood until 2003. The group used a transite skin over a metal frame. While the acoustics suffered because of this, but soon became tolerable. With time, even these acoustics began to suffer and in the 1980s, in the 1980s, fiberglass spheres were constructed to combat this.

After the 2003 summer season, the 1929 shell was replaced with a new and larger shell. The 2004 shell still uses the front arch of the 1926 shell, the profile of the 1928 shell and the white finish of the 1929 shell.

The Hollywood Bowl is a must-see when in LA.