Santa Barbara Bowl

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Santa Barbara Bowl
The Bowl
Santa Barbara Bowl Depeche Mode (2013).jpg
The venue before a concert in 2013.
LocationSanta Barbara, California
OwnerSanta Barbara Bowl Foundation
TypeOutdoor amphitheater
Seating typeSeats
Santa Barbara Bowl

The Santa Barbara Bowl is a 4,562-seat amphitheater, located in Santa Barbara, California. The amphitheater is open for concerts from approximately April through approximately October with an average of about 27 concerts per season. Booked exclusively by Goldenvoice in Los Angeles, the Bowl hosts primarily popular music concerts. Since 1991, the Santa Barbara Bowl has been managed by the not-for-profit Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation.


It was carved into the hillside, in 1936, as a WPA project. It was originally built as the home for the final pageant of Old Spanish Days — Fiesta.[citation needed]

The amphitheater's original stage was a revolving wooden stage, but this was washed out during El Niño rains in 1939. The stage was replaced with a concrete slab that remained in place until renovation work in 2001.

Prominent concerts[edit]

Joni Mitchell's 1980 double live album and concert film, Shadows and Light, was recorded at the venue in September 1979 on the tour supporting her Mingus album. Her all-star backing band was made up of prominent jazz fusion musicians Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, Jaco Pastorius, Don Alias, and Michael Brecker.

The British band Tears For Fears performed at the amphitheatre in May 1990, which was filmed for their Going To California concert video.

In 1979 on behalf of his Survival tour, Bob Marley and The Wailers performed at the bowl.


The Santa Barbara Bowl has undergone over $42 million in renovations since the establishment of the Foundation in 1991.[1]

Year Renovation Project
1991 Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors regained control of the Bowl from Old Spanish Days
1992 Renovation and Restoration Master Plan developed by the Foundation
  • Foundation granted responsibility for the Bowl
  • Infrastructure Renovations – Power, water and sewer upgraded
  • Temporary production roof
  • New storm drain and more efficient drainage systems
  • Bus Electrical Project
  • Marquee
2002 The stage and backstage facilities reconstructed increasing the overall usable square footage by +300% (3,000 sq. ft. to 10,000 sq. ft.) (Master Plan Phase 1A)
  • Upgraded dressing rooms
  • Enlarged and improved restroom facilities
  • Food concessions (under the Stage)
2003 Seating Upgrades
  • Permanent, disabled seating platform (Master Plan Phase 1C)
  • Floor Section (Master Plan Phase 1C)
  • Grand Staircase (Master Plan Phase 1C)
  • The Wendy McCaw Terrace for donor and cultivation receptions (Master Plan Phase 1C)
  • Beverage Concessions (under the Wendy McCaw Terrace) (Master Plan Phase 1C)
  • The Canteen – Food service upgrade and Food Carts (Master Plan Phase 1D)
  • Hand-rail Project
  • Backstage Retaining Wall

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lassen, Erik (2011-07-28). "Fixing the Bowl". The Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 2019-07-25.

External links[edit]