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Santa Barbara Bowl's 2020 Season A Big Question Mark Because Of Coronavirus Crisis

Nestled in the foothills above Santa Barbara, it’s hosted some of the biggest names in music, like Michael Bublé, Sting, the Eagles, and Santana.

Normally, this time of year you’d hear music coming from the Santa Barbara Bowl, with its season just getting into high gear.

But like so many things on the Central and South Coasts, coronavirus has disrupted those plans.

The reality of the impact started to set in nearly two months ago, when the Coachella music festival was postponed, and a band set to play both there and at the Bowl cancelled its plans.

Rick Boller is Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, which runs the more than four thousand seat concert venue.  Boller says they’ve dealt with community emergencies like brush fires before, but nothing on this scale.

With the Bowl moving into what would be one of its busiest times of year, the staff is instead handling events that have been cancelled, rescheduled, or are still up in the air.  A concert featuring pop star Kesha, which had been set for May 6th, was recently cancelled.

Things like concerts, fairs, and sporting events which attract large crowds are currently on the last tier for reopening. How would social distancing even work at a concert, especially one that's already sold out? Boller says the industry is looking at those issues, but there are no simple answers.   

He adds that safety comes first, but of course, he and many music fans on the Central and South Coasts are hoping things will improve in time for at least part of the season to take place. 

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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