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Santa Barbara Bowl Reopening This Weekend After Year And A Half Pandemic Shutdown

Concert promoter Goldenvoice has announced its first new concert booking at the Santa Barbara Bowl in more than a year
The Santa Barbara Bowl will hold its first new show in more than a year and a half on Saturday night, when comedian Chelsea Handler kicks off her national tour at the venue.

Meanwhile, some indoor venues in Santa Barbara County are requiring proof of full vaccination or recent testing.

The largest outdoor concert venue on the South Coast is set to hold its first event in more than a year and a half after being shut down by the pandemic.

Comedian Chelsea Handler is set to perform at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday, kicking off the Bowl's season and her own national tour.

"We're thrilled. We're excited to be opening up the Bowl to the community," said Rick Boller. Boller is Executive Xirector of the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, which operates the more than 4,000 seat concert venue.

"Our goal is to begin hosting events as safely as possible," said Boller. Mask are mandatory for those who are unvaccinated, and recommended for those who have received the coronavirus vaccine.

At this point, the Bowl isn’t requiring proof of someone being fully vaccinated, or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.

But, effective immediately, some of the South Coast’s most popular indoor entertainment venues are requiring proof.

Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theater, Center Stage Theater, Granada Theater and Ensemble Theater’s New Vic Theater are requiring documentation to attend performances. People will also be asked to show IDs. And, masks are being required for everyone during performances, regardless of vaccination status.

The protocols may differ slightly at some of the venues, so people are being advised to check the websites of the theater in advance of the show they will be attending.

The Santa Barbara Bowl has more flexibility, because it is an outdoor venue. Concession stands will operate normally, but people are being asked to wear their masks when they aren’t eating, or drinking.

Boller says one of the biggest changes people will notice starting with Chelsea Handler’s show Saturday night is ticketing. Some people have used electronic tickets in the past, but this season, it will be all electronic, with a scan code in your smartphone.

With the surge continuing on the Central and South Coasts, even outdoor venues could at some point end up requiring proof of full vaccination or recent test results. Boller says they are following federal, state and Santa Barbara County COVID-19 safety regulations.

He says ticketholders should check the Bowl’s website in advance of the event they are attending.

The Bowl shifted its season back this year, because of the pandemic. By this time of the year, it would normally be midway through it. But, there is optimism. More than 20 shows are scheduled and Bowl officials told KCLU that there a few more still in the works.

Meanwhile, starting on Friday, if you go to Dodger Stadium, the Hollywood Bowl or to the Coliseum for a USC football game, masks will be required regardless of vaccination status. LA’s County’s requirement applies to venues which hold 10,000 people or more. That’s more than double the capacity of the Santa Barbara Bowl.

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.