The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre is a wonderful, intimate, 1,200 seat outdoor venue located in the Hollywood Hills. Founded in 1920, the Ford stage has been graced legends from all corners of the performing arts–from the Ramones to Pharoah Sanders to John Houseman, to name just a few. That said, it can both geographically and figuratively be said to operate in the shadow of the Hollywood Bowl. Up until now, anyway; the 2021 season is the most ambitious in recent memory. Now being programmed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Ford’s calendar in every way rivals the Bowl’s.
Shows for the first two weeks of the season are free, beginning on July 30th with a pairing of indie band the Marías and a collaboration between the dance company Contra-Tiempo and the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. A chamber ensemble from the Philharmonic performs an outstanding program of 20h century music a few nights later on August 3. Father John Misty will perform two concerts with the LA Phil, September 23 & 24 and also free. For a few dollars more, Mexican acoustic guitar virtuosos Rodrigo y Gabriela, traditional Bowl favorites, play September 17 & 18. And how does an evening of spoken word and music with Patti Smith on September 3 sound? I think I might have buried the lede there.
Jazz fans have a pair of great shows to look forward to. Per tradition, the Angel City Jazz Festival will host one of their events there, this year on October 14 with the great pianist and composer Billy Childs. The captivating singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, her star still rising, performs on September 24.
The always intriguing Long Beach Opera will present opera doubleheaders on August 14 & 15, and Pacific Opera Project returns to the Ford to present Cenerentola on August 28.
And this is just scratching the surface! There are dozens of events between July 30 and October 24, with enough variety to satisfy all but the terminally finicky. For the full calendar and ticketing details, visit the Ford online.