Malibu Seen: No-Go at the Bowl

Conductor of the LA Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel

The novel coronavirus has taken its toll—on restaurants, the airline industry, the hotel industry and, especially, the entertainment industry. 

One of California’s largest money generators has gone dark, taking hundreds of thousands of jobs down with it. 

Movie theaters are down, just like performing arts theaters, film studios, TV production and everything from Walt Disney Concert Hall to Disneyland.

Now you can add another devastating loss to that list. 

For the first time in almost 100 years, the Hollywood Bowl is cancelling its entire season, which means goodbye to a cherished summer tradition. 

Every year, music lovers look forward to packing up their picnic baskets and blankets and heading out for a memorable night under the stairs.

In keeping with tradition, the bowl featured an all-star line-up for this summer’s festivities. There was something for everyone and people of all ages: from kid stuff to classical, pop to funk, rock, reggae, hip hop, gospel and country.

This year’s season was supposed to kick off with Brandi Carlile followed by a summer of singalongs and screenings as well as performances by the likes of diva Diana Ross, Yuja Wang, Janelle Monae, “Tambourine Man” Bob Dylan and “Aja’s” Steely Dan with “Higher Love’s” Steve Winwood. 

A longtime favorite is the July 4th Fireworks Spectacular, but there won’t be any “Good Vibrations” from the Beach Boys because this show has also been scrapped. LA Phil maestro Gustavo Dudamel was supposed to return to the bowl to conduct “Carmina Burana” and classical sensation Andrea Bocelli was due to sing “Ava Maria.”

Just imagine all the hard work and effort that went into putting together a program of that size. 

In addition to a spectacular lineup, the cancellation comes as a big blow to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which helps operate the bowl.

The cancellation only makes an already bad situation worse. It adds to the mounting revenue losses for the LA Phil, which faces an $80 million shortfall on the bottom line. 

What’s more, the organization will furlough 25 percent of its non-union workforce. Plus, all 65 members of bowl employees will be laid off for the season. 

Bowl organizers say they held out hope until the last week or two that a miracle would let the bowl open. 

LA Phil Chief Executive Chad Smith was quoted as describing the loss as “devastating” and that “we tried to avoid furloughs, but today, it became impossible.”

Looking back on bowl history, it made it through global wars, depression, recession, 9/11, chaos and riots but a microscopic virus beat them all. 

So, hopefully, we will have next year, but not the same thing, not the same program.

For now, it sadly seems like the sounds of summer will be replaced by the sound of silence.