The San Diego Symphony will begin construction next month on a permanent concert venue featuring a top-notch stage located in a familiar, scenic spot overlooking the waterfront.
On Wednesday, the San Diego Symphony Board of Directors unanimously voted to start construction in September on Bayside Performance Park, a project long in the works that includes an outdoor stage in Embarcadero Marina Park South.
The venue is located behind the San Diego Convention Center and is the same site where the Symphony has hosted its popular "Bayside Summer Nights" concert series since 2004.
Now, from this point forward, the show will move fast.
The Symphony said the first concerts at the venue are scheduled for summer 2020. The lineup is expected to be announced in January 2020 and will include a diverse collection of artists.
Bayside Performance Park is a partnership between the Symphony and the Port of San Diego. The goal is to give San Diego a "world-class" year-round concert and event space that the Symphony hopes will become one of the city’s landmark attractions.
The Symphony notes that this is the "only outdoor performance space and active park on the West Coast."
According to the San Diego Symphony, the estimated cost of the project is $45 million – all of which will be funded by private philanthropy via the nonprofit organization. Last November, the Symphony had raised $6 million toward the project.
The Symphony’s vision for Bayside Performance Park is two-fold: to serve as an "acoustically superior stage" for Symphony performances and to be a year-round community gathering space for a wider range of other performances when not in use by the Symphony.
Bayside Performance Park is a "park inside the park," and the park will be open to the general public during non-event hours, the Symphony said. This includes the patio and steps at the back of the stage, which will offer stunning views of the San Diego Bay.
The covered stage will boast 13,000 square feet of performance space, plus a technologically-advanced sound system. The Symphony said the stage's fabric-wrapped shell design will be acoustically-engineered to minimize the "bleeding" of sound.
Seating will be flexible, with an adjustable capacity between 2,000 and 10,000 seats, depending on the concert or event. The development also includes new, permanent public restrooms, new lighting, park enhancements, a widened promenade and a "reconfigured" parking lot.
Currently, the Symphony assembles and disassembles its stage every year for its summer concert series, along with bleachers, seating, ticketing booths, food stands and portable bathrooms. This project would replace all of that.
The Symphony hopes the stage – with its dramatic, shell-like look – will eventually become a landmark along the famous San Diego waterfront and a place that the nonprofit can present as a gift to the region.
The San Diego Symphony performed its first concert in December 1910. Today, the Orchestra performs more than 140 concerts annually, offering a wide range of musical experiences that add to San Diego’s arts culture.
That performance lineup includes the Bayside Summer Nights series, which winds down its 2019 season this month. The stage will host Chaka Khan on Aug. 24 and The O'Jays plus the Commodores on Aug. 25. The series wraps up on Labor Day weekend with the annual 1812 Tchaikovsky Spectacular and a fireworks display over the bay.