New San Diego bayfront performance venue debuts ahead of symphony’s season

Entertainment

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The Port of San Diego and the San Diego Symphony Thursday celebrated the debut of The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, touted as the West Coast’s first bayside concert venue and park within a park.

The bayfront performance venue in the port’s Embarcadero Marina Park South is managed and programmed by the symphony.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

“We are so thrilled to have worked with the San Diego Symphony to bring this incredible bayside performance venue to life,” said Michael Zucchet, chairman of the port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park is just the kind of project that invigorates the community, stimulates the economy and becomes part of the fabric of a city’s culture and identity.

“Bravo to the Symphony and thank you for bringing a second-to-none experience to San Diego Bay,” Zucchet concluded.

The permanent facility replaces a temporary venue — allowing the symphony to “present a wider variety of musical presentations and enrich the patron experience with improved sightlines, expanded concession area and permanent bathrooms,” a statement from the symphony read.

The symphony’s expanded schedule of outdoor classical concerts is programmed by the Music Director Rafael Payare. The orchestra will bring to audiences both beloved works of classical music as well as new composers. As in past years, popular music and guest artists will also be represented.

“Today marks an incredible milestone in the journey to making the concept and dream of this iconic venue a reality,” said Martha Gilmer, San Diego Symphony CEO. “I am immensely grateful to the Port of San Diego, its commissioners and staff — as their partnership and dedication has helped us get to this moment: the official opening of The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego Symphony’s gift to the region.”

The venue will operate as a “park within a park,” similar to Chicago’s Millennium Park. Around two-thirds of the park will be open to the public 100% of the time, year-round. The portion of the park where the symphony’s venue sits will be open for public use 85% of the year, and for larger gatherings, the public can apply for special event permits just like other port parks on the San Diego Bayfront.

In addition, the symphony’s project also included public improvements throughout the rest of the park, including a widened public promenade around the venue that will remain open to the public during events, and refurbished and/or replaced seating benches, basketball courts, exercise equipment, gazebo, lighting and restrooms.

The acoustically engineered stage features a concert shell that can be illuminated with LED lighting and is intended to complement the San Diego Convention Center sails and surrounding downtown development. The stage provides a larger performance space for both the orchestra and guest artists.

Additional project design components include:

  • Covered stage with 13,000 square feet of performance space and ancillary back-of-house facilities;
  • Sunset steps and patio at the back of the performance stage for views of the bay and public use during non-event hours;
  • Flexible seating capacity varying from seating of 2,000 up to 10,000;
  • Terraced seating to provide all concert guests unobstructed views from every seat;
  • Temporary seating that allows for lawns to be open to the public during non-event periods;
  • Improved and environmentally sustainable landscaping;
  • Sand-based synthetic turf in the main seating area and pre-event spaces, which will reduce water consumption and be more environmentally friendly.

In order to ensure that everyone in the community has access to the events taking place, the San Diego Symphony will provide reduced priced tickets to every concert, present four free public events, two of which will take place in the summer months and provide free educational events and open symphony rehearsals for the public.

From 2004 to 2019, the symphony assembled and disassembled a temporary venue in the Embarcadero Marina Park South for its Bayside Summer Nights concert series.

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