That's the promise of the Hollywood Bowl, as workers begin replacing the benches used by some 14,000 concertgoers every season since 1981.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said the $1.6 million project is being financed by funds from Proposition A, a $319 million bond measure approved by voters in 1996 to help fund improvements at county parks and recreation facilities.
“The timing is right,” Yaroslavsky said. “We probably could have got by another two or three years with the benches, but the Hollywood Bowl is a place where you want to remain ahead of the curve.
“The Hollywood Bowl is one of the most iconic cultural venues in the world. People come from all over just to see it, and I have made it a priority during my years in office.”
Yaroslavsky said many of the changes were to the infrastructure of the facility and were designed to bolster the experience for visitors, most of whom bring food and drinks to dine before the show.
“We replaced all the picnic tables and put in a people mover to help the older patrons,” he noted. “We put in the LED videos so people sitting at the top of the Bowl no longer need binoculars to have a great viewing experience.”
He also oversaw replacement of the shell in 2002.
Councilman Tom LaBonge, who also represents the area around the Hollywood Bowl, praised his colleague's push to better the facility. “It is one the greatest places in our city and the world,” he said. “It has a seat for everybody — and now it will be even better.”
The wood for the benches is Alaskan yellow cedar, which will age to become a silvery gray similar to the current seating. The wood from the existing benches will be remilled and made available for use throughout L.A.'s county parks system.
The county intends to finish the project by June 21, the official start of the Hollywood Bowl season.
Those who attend preseason concerts by Black Sabbath, Billy Joel and Bruno Mars and Pharrell Williams will see a mix of the old and new benches as work proceeds.
This year will also see upgrades to the landscape lighting around the park, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which manages the music program at the Bowl, is replacing the stage floor. Officials said these are part of a long overdue refurbishment that will be carried out in addition to routine maintenance such as repairs and painting.
And the world is surely watching, as the bowl was just named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the 10th year in a row at the 23rd Pollstar Concert Industry Awards in February.