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General Press Releases

Port of San Diego Advances San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Performance Park Project

The Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners has voted to advance the San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Performance Park project, a “park within a park” that will include park improvements and a new performance venue in the Port’s Embarcadero Marina Park South on the San Diego Bay waterfront.

“This project is music to our ears. We are so pleased with the teamwork effort between Port staff, California Coastal Commission staff and the Symphony to get this done in a way that diversifies and enhances the San Diego Bay waterfront with special measures taken to protect public access and the environment,” said Chairman Rafael Castellanos, Board of Port Commissioners. “We cannot wait for locals and visitors from around the world to enjoy this park within a park and the beautiful sounds of the San Diego Symphony and other performances from a new, state-of-the art venue.”

At its December 11, 2018 meeting, the Port Board adopted a certified Port Master Plan Amendment (PMPA) that is required for the project in order to address public access, programming, park mitigation, lighting and sea level rise adaptations. The Board also approved the project concept and authorized issuance of a conditional, non-appealable Coastal Development Permit to the Symphony.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of the Port of San Diego and the partnership that has developed throughout this very important process. The approval of the Coastal Development Permit is a critical step toward making Bayside Performance Park a reality,” said Martha Gilmer, San Diego Symphony CEO. “I want to recognize and thank CEO Randa Coniglio, Chairman Castellanos and the staff of the Port for their professional and dedicated work on this unique project for the public. The San Diego Symphony Orchestra looks forward to providing all San Diegans and our visitors an even more memorable musical waterfront experience.”

“The San Diego Symphony is a pillar of our arts community and has been performing in its temporary location for more than a decade. With a new permanent home, this stage will add to San Diego’s growing list of can’t-miss arts and culture experiences, attract thousands of people to the waterfront each year and provide a permanent venue worthy of the San Diego Symphony’s world-class reputation,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City of San Diego.

Next steps include final acceptance of the PMPA by the California Coastal Commission, which voted unanimously to certify the PMPA on November 8, 2018, and Board approval of a lease between the Port and the Symphony.

The Symphony’s project involves constructing and operating a permanent outdoor performance and event venue on approximately one-third of Embarcadero Marina Park South, which is located behind the San Diego Convention Center. Since 2004, the Symphony has assembled and disassembled a temporary venue in the park for its Bayside Summer Nights concert series. The permanent venue would function as a “park within a park” and would remain open to the general public for 85 percent of the year, with programming involving paid admission or rental events to be limited to 15 percent of the year. 

Bayside Performance Park Project components include:

  • The shell will be wrapped in an architectural fabric that will provide superior sound quality with controlled amplification allowing for the sound to be focused, minimizing sound bleed. Additionally, the fabric will aesthetically complement the design of the Convention Center and downtown skyline. 
  • A new bay viewing deck at the back of the performance stage for general public use during non-event hours;
  • Sloped lawn with temporary/removable seating open to the public during non-event hours;
  • New, permanent restrooms; a dining and retail pavilion; environmentally-sensitive landscaping and lighting; and other public amenities; 
  • Widened public promenade around the venue (from 8 to 12 feet) that will remain open to the general public, including during event hours;
  • Visual public art element to be illuminated from within and visible from the exterior of the acoustic shell; and
  • Refurbishment and/or replacement of existing benches, the basketball courts and exercise equipment, gazebo, lighting and restrooms.

Additional public benefits include:

  • Four free public events each year, two of which would occur during the summer months, Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day;
  • Free admission to rehearsals;
  • Free public educational events;
  • Reduced ticket pricing; and
  • A financial contribution by the Symphony toward a future expansion of Pepper Park in National City.

Founded in 1910, the San Diego Symphony is the oldest orchestra in California and one of the largest and most significant cultural organizations in San Diego. The Orchestra performs for more than 250,000 people each season, offering a wide variety of programming at its two much loved venues, Copley Symphony Hall in downtown San Diego and the Embarcadero Marina Park South on San Diego Bay. In early 2018, the San Diego Symphony announced the appointment of Rafael Payare as music director designate. Payare will lead the orchestra’s 82 full-time musicians, graduates of the finest and most celebrated music schools in the United States and abroad. The San Diego Symphony also serves as the orchestra for the San Diego Opera each season, as well as performing at several regional performing arts centers. For over 30 years, the San Diego Symphony has provided comprehensive music education and community engagement programs reaching more than 65,000 students annually and bringing innovative programming to San Diego’s diverse neighborhoods and schools. For more information, visit

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.

About Port of San Diego Experiences

Port of San Diego Experiences welcomes businesses, residents and visitors from across the globe to enjoy and prosper from our dynamic waterfront.

As a treasured destination, the Port provides unique opportunities to captivate visitors and ensure everyone is welcomed, connected and inspired by our beautiful waterfront.