As the Cleveland Orchestra celebrates its 100th anniversary, its summer home is marking a milestone of its own. It was 50 years ago this summer that Blossom Music Center opened its doors to concert goers as the summer home of the orchestra that had grown into an international powerhouse.
Construction of the $8 million amphitheater had begun two years earlier in this densely wooded section of Cuyahoga Falls now part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It opened in time to mark the orchestra's 50th anniversary with a six week outdoor concert season. The Blossom name is not actually a tribute to the pastoral setting of the rolling green space the music center occupies, but rather the Blossom family, members of whom were strong supporters of the orchestra in its early days.
The concert schedule expanded in the following seasons to feature the Blossom Festival of orchestral and band music from the Fourth of July to Labor Day weekend alongside a summer-long season of concerts devoted to rock, jazz, country, and other popular music presentations. Live Nation operates Blossom, and books and promotes each season's non-orchestral attractions.
Blossom draws an average of around 400,000 visitors each summer season according to the Cleveland Orchestra and has drawn around 20 million visitors since the first note was played a half-century ago.