August 6, 2021
Written by Shannon Kang
PR/ Marketing Intern with Vanguard Culture
August 6, 2021 will go down as an important day for the city of San Diego. It was the day The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park officially opened to the public. The grand ribbon cutting ceremony which took place the previous day, allowed the community to learn about the San Diego Symphony’s vision for the venue. As expected, there were many dignitaries present, including Martha Gilmer, CEO for the San Diego Symphony (SDS); Sarah Skuster, SDS Principle Oboist; Rafael Payaré, SDS Music Director; Dave Snyder, SDS Board Member; Congresswoman Sara Jacobs; Chairman for the Port of San Diego, Michael Zucchet; and the Mayor of San Diego, Todd Gloria. Being able to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony felt like such an honor and it was only enhanced by the amazing trumpet performance by local jazz legend Gilbert Castellanos.
As one of the few young people attending this event, I was really intrigued by the vision of this venue. A lot of the speakers talked about the future of the Rady Shell and how much it will impact the city and the greater San Diego community. Martha Gilmer, CEO for the San Diego Symphony called it “a gathering place for all.” Port of SD Chairman Michael Zucchet said it would “focus on the arts community and on the entire community.” Board Member Dave Snyder called it “a space to be filled with concerts, events, and filled with spirit.”
This venue can make a huge impact on the city of San Diego, but how will the younger generation use this place to the fullest? Walking around the venue, its public spaces are great for a stroll along the promenade, to have a picnic on the grass, play basketball on the new courts, and so much more. But these are all attractions around the venue itself. The Shell stage is so grand, and so is its potential; especially when looking from a Gen Z perspective. The lineup set for the next few months is amazing, filled with unique performances involving the symphony orchestra. For example Nas with the San Diego Symphony (August 10), The Music of Stevie Wonder (August 15th), Rocketman Live in Concert (September 3rd), Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (September 18-19), and Jason Mraz (September 26th) to name a few. However there aren’t any mainstream artists that are quite appealing to the younger (Gen Z) generation.
Looking at what is currently popular in the music scene is an opportunity that the Rady Shell could take advantage of. While at the ribbon cutting ceremony I started to look back on the concerts I have been to and thought to myself how amazing it would be to attend a concert of one of my favorite artists at the Shell. With the cancellation of all tours because of COVID-19 in 2020, and now people having access to the vaccine, the world is slowly starting to open up. That means that more people are comfortable with gathering in public (outdoor) spaces and artists are now announcing the restart of previously postponed concerts/tours. San Diego may be known internationally for Comic Con but that is just the beginning of this coastal port city’s potential. The venue will be available for rental outside of the San Diego Symphony’s season so The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park truly has the potential to change how San Diego is seen on an international stage. Here’s hoping that Gen Z can help influence its future programming and visibility around the world.
Mayor Todd Gloria mentioned how San Diego is the 8th largest city in the nation and expressed how there is a desire to make it “an international destination.” “The Rady Shell is a symbol of what we can become” he added. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park definitely has the potential to become that iconic landmark that people want to travel to for cultural tourism alone and I can’t wait to see how they harness that potential.
To explore the San Diego Symphony’s new season CLICK HERE.
SHANNON KANG is recent B.A. graduate at the University of California San Diego, majoring in communications as well as, minoring in business. She loves to travel, explore new regions, and experience diverse cultures, through food, music, and art. As someone who loves music, Shannon likes to delve into the various styles of music that are produced all over the world. Food being her second love (first being her family), she likes to experiment with different flavors in her own cooking, while also searching for local restaurants where she can learn and develop a greater palate. She is excited to have an opportunity to work alongside others that also have a passion for culture and arts in a city that she has fallen in love with during her time as a student.