Libbey Bowl
Photo: Fred Rothenberg

Originally built in Edward Drummond Libbey’s Civic Center Park (1952 - 1957), the shell was designed by architects Austen Pierpont of Ojai and Roy C. Wilson of Santa Paula. Originally known as “Civic Center Bowl,” and “Festival Bowl,” among other names, it became known as “Libbey Bowl” in the 1980s after Civic Center Park was given to the City of Ojai and renamed Libbey Park.

Inaugurated by Aaron Copland at the 1957 Ojai Music Festival, Libbey Bowl has hosted many of the world’s most influential artists. In addition to serving as the home of the internationally acclaimed Ojai Music Festival, Libbey Bowl has housed important community and cultural events including the Storytelling Festival, Illusions Theater, Fourth of July Celebration, Memorial Day Celebration, Mexican Fiesta, and many others.

By 2008, Libbey Bowl had suffered from over 50 years of wood rot, termite damage, and heavy use which proved irreparable and the Bowl was in danger of being condemned. In the fall of 2008, the City of Ojai and the Ojai Music Festival began working together to build a new Libbey Bowl. Ojai architect, the late David Bury, was hired to create a design that evoked the aesthetics, intimacy, and harmony with nature that characterized the original Bowl, as well as to make critical design improvements backstage and for audiences. The Ojai Music Festival, with support from the Ojai Valley Service Foundation, raised over $3 million from its patrons, the Ojai community and donors beyond, to partner with the City of Ojai in building the new Libbey Bowl.

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