Who doesn’t love the iconic Hollywood Bowl, the premiere outdoor summer venue in LA? There’s something for everyone from an eclectic lineup of global talent from different genres, to great jazz and classical music. On top of that, it sits up near the picturesque Hollywood Hills and is one of the only venues where you bring your own food and wine and enjoy a picnic with your favorite music under the stars! I’m especially a big fan of the KCRW-sponsored World Festival concert series there each season! The Hollywood Bowl Summer season starts Sat., June 14 and runs through Sun., Sep. 28 and here are my picks: Sat Jun 14 – Sun Jun 15, 3pm: 36th Anniversary Playboy Jazz Festival
Both days have top-notch lineups but if I had to pick just one, I’d pick day 2 just to see Los Amigos Invisibles alone! The venerable Grammy-winning Venezuelan pop band joins other greats like José James and George Benson.
Sun Jun 22, 7pm – Janelle Monáe with Seun Kuti & Egypt 80
Afrobeat heir Seun Kuti opens for Afrofuturistic icon Janelle Monáe! The African beats of Fela Kuti’s youngest son and the late pioneer’s band Egypt 80 and the energetic R&B and soul of Janelle Monáe promises to be an electric night! Don’t sleep on this one, people!
Sun Jun 29, 7pm – Robyn + Röyksopp
Whenever Norwegian electro-duo Röyksopp and Swedish pop queen Robyn pour their creative juices together, what comes out is an infectious and wild dance party.
Sat Jul 5, 8pm – An Evening of Chinese Splendor
If you’re a fan of Chinese culture opera, enjoy a grand evening with Song Zuying, the “Reigning Queen” of Chinese opera, other artists and acrobats.
Wed Jul 9, 8pm – To Ella With Love
It’s a special night in tribute to the “First Lady of Song” Ella Fitzgerald, with the Count Basie Orchestra, Patti Austin, and other special guests like Yuna, the rising star from Malaysia.
Sun Jul 20, 7pm – Reggae Night XIII with Jimmy Cliff
KCRW’s Jeremy Sole takes you on a relaxing Sunday sonic journey with the soulful roots and reggae of Jimmy Cliff and special guests!
Wed Jul 23, 8pm – Americas & Americans Festival: Gilberto Santa Rosa & Sheila E. Salseros! Multi-Grammy winning Gilberto Santa Rosa brings his salsa songs and boleros to the bowl along with the infectious Latin rhythms of percussionist Sheila E.!
Fri Jul 25 – Sat Jul 26, 8pm – Americas & Americans Festival: Gloria Estefan
Hear international superstar Gloria Estefan sing her iconic songs like you’ve never heard them before!
Tue Jul 29, 8pm – Rubén Blades, Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil
This is going to be an interesting fusion of upbeat classical pieces from the Americas with the Latin rhythms of Panamanian icon Rubén Blades.
Thu Jul 31, 8pm – Americas & Americans Festival: Noche de Cine
A celebration of film composers of the Americas, with special guest, Oscar-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla (also of Bajofondo) joining Gustavo Dudamel’s LA Philharmonic.
Fri Aug 8, 8pm – Gladys Knight and Kool & the Gang
The Empress of Soul, Gladys Kight, and the funk stars Kool & the Gang in an unforgettable night of hit classics!
Wed Aug 13, 8pm – Get On Up: A James Brown Celebration
An homage to the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, includes some of his original band members and special guests Angélique Kidjo, D’Angelo and Aloe Blacc!
Wed Aug 20, 8pm – Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On with John Legend
John Legend will perform Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On in its entirely as a stirring homage to the late singer and the Civil Rights era, with help from special guest Sharon Jones!
Fri Aug 22, 8pm – Sat Aug 23, 8pm – Sun Aug 24, 7:30pm – The Beatles’ 50th at the Bowl
On the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ invasion of LA, Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) will recreate their entire historic set!
Sun Sep 21, 7pm – Caetano Veloso with Andrew Bird and Devendra Banhart Legendary Brazilian superstar/poet/activist Caetano Veloso joins Andrew Bird and another favorite of mine, Devendra Banhart, for a great ecelectic night of Tropicália grooves, gypsy swing and latin and folk stylings.
Sun Sep 28, 7pm – Pixies with Gogol Bordello and Cat Power
A powerhouse of an alternative rock lineup with the Pixies, Gogol Bordello and Cat Power!