Built in 1934, formerly The Greek Bowl, San Diego State University's Open Air Theatre is one of the city's oldest outdoor venues with state-of-the-art staging and sound.Originally it was used for commencement, daytime speakers, and summertime plays, and in the 1960s housed the San Diego Symphony summer concerts. Today it is still used for graduation events and rallies.
Open Air Theatre contained 4,280 seats and was financed by the Works Progress Administration and the state for $200,000. It was dedicated in 1941.
Despite being a 5000-person-capacity performance venue located smack in the heart of the SDSU campus, it's very easy to miss, mainly because it's located below ground. However, once you show your ticket and pass through the entrance gate, you can enjoy the view of the expansive amphitheater before you.
Starving students and others ticketless used to be able to hang out on the grassy islands outside the facility and hear the show for free. But school officials and re-development around the theatre have all but put an end to that, though it's still worth a try for a sold-out show.
Main gripe is the hard concrete seats but an amazing view, no matter where you are sitting.
George Lincoln Rockwell, self-proclaimed leader of the American Nazi party, spoke to San Diego State College students on March 8, 1962, at the Open Air Theater.
Sponsored by the Committee for Student Action, Rockwell’s appearance was part of his Southern California tour to spread the word about the National Socialist Party of America. In a March 6 “emergency session,” the Lectures and Concerts Board cautioned the CSA to “take the proper steps to protect against any outbreak of violence.”
Nevertheless, violence did break out when a San Diego State student climbed on stage and “slugged” Rockwell as he was speaking. After the melee, Rockwell was quickly escorted to the offices of The Daily Aztec where he gave a press conference before leaving in his car for another speech at Pomona College.(3)
Legend has it that the performers’ dressing room is called the Madonna Room after it was built specifically at Madonna’s request before she performed here.(2)
Jerry performed here on
11/18/73 Merl Saunders (San Diego Bowl)
3.)^Ray, Robert, Decades Ago at San Diego State, 2011-04-06, http://sdsuniverse.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news.aspx?v=print&font-size=100&s=72893