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San Diego’s New Cultural Crown Jewel
Pursuitist

San Diego’s New Cultural Crown Jewel

The San Diego skyline has a spectacular new venue to rival even the great Hollywood Bowl. The Southern California city has celebrated the inaugural opening of the first and only permanent outdoor waterfront performance venue on the West Coast. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park in San Diego is set on the scenic San Diego Bay with sweeping views of the downtown skyline and historic Coronado Island.

With acoustically astute elements and state-of-the-art technology, The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park is the new summer home of the San Diego Symphony, providing an incomparable outdoor concert experience for 2,000-10,000 guests. Inaugural season highlights include: The world premiere of Jason Mraz with orchestral arrangements featuring the San Diego Symphony; cellist Yo-Yo Ma reuniting with his “Goat Rodeo” partners for a uniquely American, partially-improvised performance in “Not Our First Goat Rodeo”; a film series for which the Symphony will perform musical numbers and scores, including Rocketman: Live in Concert and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi; Seven Symphony performances led by Music Director, Rafael Payare; and the Beach Boys’ great Dennis Wilson in a concert of his most legendary songs.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park aims to be one of the most acoustically superior outdoor concert venues in the country.  Like treasured national venues such as Wolf Trap, Tanglewood and Ravinia, The Shell “island” on San Diego Bay will provide a sparkling summer home for the San Diego Symphony, and will deliver world-class acoustics thanks to Soundforms, designer of the performance shell, and Sound Consultant Shawn Murphy who worked closely with San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer and San Francisco-based Salter, specialists in acoustic and sound engineering and audiovisual components. Berkeley-based Meyer Sound designed the signature Constellation System, used here in its first outdoor installation, which creates an onstage acoustic equivalent to the high standard of indoor concert halls.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park sets a new standard for the concert experience. Besides the visual splendor of the natural setting by the bay and the architectural drama, patrons can find comfortable seating either in table settings up close, rows of seating in mid-range and lawn seating at the top of the berm. Tucker Sadler Architects served as lead designer for the entire project including backstage artist support spaces, three professional kitchens, underground restrooms, a gracefully sloped seating area, and a park open to the public on one of the most beautiful settings between San Diego Bay and the San Diego skyline. It’s also conveniently walking distance to excellent downtown hotels including the four-diamond Hilton Bayfront San Diego, the Shell’s venerable hospitality partner.

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