Entertainment

Gehry’s Concord Pavilion combines music with contemporary architecture, stunning view

The Concord Pavilion, which was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, has hosted a wide range of entertainers, from Tony Bennett to Snoop Dogg.
The Concord Pavilion, which was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, has hosted a wide range of entertainers, from Tony Bennett to Snoop Dogg. Live Nation

The Concord Pavilion, built of exposed steel and concrete, is a formidable structure. Designed by Frank Gehry and landscape artist Peter Walker, the pavilion echoes the dominating presence of Gehry’s other works, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum in Spain.

The Concord Pavilion, which opened in 1975, sprawls across 35 acres. It’s able to contain its sound and block noise from neighboring roads due to its walls, according to the Pacific Coast Architecture Database, that were created by digging into the top of the hill.

The venue has hosted many big names in entertainment, including Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, and Steve Martin and Martin Short. It hosts 15 to 20 concerts each year, attracting about 150,000 guests, according to Live Nation vice president Aaron Siuda.

The venue also hosts community events like high school graduations, training sessions for local police departments and networking events for the chamber of commerce.

Five things to know

More to see than music – The Concord Pavilion features gorgeous views that often match the musical guests. “Some of the best parts about going to a show at Concord Pavilion are the spectacular views of Mount Diablo behind the venue,” Siuda said. “Seeing one of your favorite bands outdoors while watching the sunset is amazing.”

It truly is a community asset – The pavilion was born out of a community summer music festival in 1973, Aaron Hawkins, the venue’s general manager, said. City officials saw a need for a larger venue, so Concord and the Mount Diablo Unified School District worked together to raise funds for the pavilion’s construction.

Food, drinks and more – If you’re hungry during a performance, fear not – the venue’s concession stands offer burgers, sausages, hot dogs, fries, beer and wine. If you’re the designated driver for your group, you can receive a free soda at the designated driver booth in the East Plaza. Visitors may also bring one bottle of water in an aluminum or plastic bottle

Walk for quicker service – If long lines aren’t your thing, Hawkins said guests can walk up a slight incline to the West Plaza, which isn’t nearly as busy.

It’s been renovated more than once – The pavilion underwent a $20.7 million renovation in the mid-1990s, also led by Gehry and Christopher Jaffe, who originally designed the venue’s acoustics, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The renovation involved making the stage wider, increasing seating from 5,000 to 12,500, tripling the number of bathrooms and creating larger eating areas. The pavilion was renovated again in 2014, using $4 million to renovate restrooms and concessions areas, repaint and repave, and implement a new sound system, Siuda said.

Concord Pavilion at a glance

THREE CAN’T-MISS EVENTS

  • Florida Georgia Line, Friday, Sept. 15, 7 p.m.: The pop country music duo of Brian Kelley (from Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Tyler Hubbard (from Monroe, Ga.) should have fans stomping their feet to their biggest hit, “Cruise.”
  • Janet Jackson, Thursday, Oct. 5, 8 p.m.: The youngest child of the famous Jackson family has been a prominent figure in popular culture for more than 30 years, though many know her because of her wardrobe malfunction at Super Bowl XXXVIII.
  • Luke Bryan, Thursday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m.: Another stop in his Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day Tour.
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