Summer nights and Blossom Music Center are nearly synonymous—and this year, nights at Blossom will be even more memorable. Home to the Cleveland Orchestra, this gorgeous outdoor concert venue is turning 50 years old in 2018.
Blossom has housed hundreds of classical music concerts over the years with world-renowned musicians, in addition to pop and rock artists including Fleetwood Mac, Pentatonix, and the Beach Boys...but you already know this. Here are five things you don’t know about Blossom Music Center.
1. The “Blossom Boom” mystified crowds at the music center shortly after its opening in 1968. Patrons often heard an unpredictable loud noise during concerts, but were unsure of its cause. Two years after opening, engineers determined that steel beams supporting the side walls were contracting and expanding, causing the sound which came to be called the “Blossom Boom.” Warner and Swasey Co. corrected the problem in 1970. Thankfully, you can spell Blossom without “boom.”
2. The Cleveland Orchestra invites plenty of guest conductors from time to time. (Sometimes one might even wonder if Franz Welser-Most took a vacation!) But there have been a couple guests that might surprise you. In 1978, former British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath conducted Brahms and narrated Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait.” Perhaps even more well-known, a tall, feathered, yellow fellow joined choral director Robert Page in 1983. That’s right: the famous Big Bird—Sesame Street’s 8-foot-tall canary—sang his heart out at Blossom nearly 35 years ago.
3. Sir Duke took the stage with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1969. Many people mistakenly think that Blossom Music Center only hosts Cleveland Orchestra concerts, which could not be further from the truth. The master of jazz taught Clevelanders that it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. Sir Duke’s impeccable skills as a jazz composer and big band leader put the audience in a sentimental mood. Although he traveled the world to perform, Sir Duke is from Ohio. If you’re wondering how he made it to Cuyahoga Falls, he probably took the A train.
4. At the 1969 performance of Blood, Sweat, and Tears, a whopping 24,364 people turned out, becoming the biggest crowd in the history of Blossom Music Center. The current capacity for Blossom is 23,000 people, so the crowd must have been shoulder to shoulder for this milestone concert. Blossom had just opened in 1968, and one year later, it drew the biggest crowd to date. However, the Blood, Sweat and Tears concert only holds the record for the highest documented attendance. Unofficial estimates of a 1973 Pink Floyd concert claim that nearly 32,000 people came for a night of rock and roll.
5. You won’t believe it ‘til you see it: a Blossom Music Center made of Legos. To celebrate Blossom’s 50th anniversary, a Lego model of the venue was created. It is on display throughout the 2018 season in the Special Events Center, to the right of the Main Gate. We’re sure it looks the same, but the acoustics probably aren’t the best.
The 50th anniversary season of Blossom Music Center continues through early September. A summer schedule may be found here.