Marking the return to live in-person performances and having recently come under the stewardship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil), The Ford has announced its Summer 2021 season opening with two weeks of free concerts beginning on July 30, 2021. The list of performers include Patti Smith, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Father John Misty with the LA Phil, iLe, Lido Pimienta, and Moses Sumney, among others. LA Phil will also continue to celebrate The Ford’s Legacy as a venue for presenting Los Angeles based artists including Versa-Style Dance Company,  Flypoet All-Star Spoken Word & Music, Boleros De Noche, Pacific Opera Project, Versa-Style Dance Company, and more.  Tickets go on sale June 15, 2021.

The season will include a new selection of multicultural and multidisciplinary talents as well as artists long associated with The Ford. The list of dance companies included in the 2021 season are Contra Tiempo performing joyUS justUs with a special appearance by Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (July 30); TAIKOPROJECT (August 1); West African dance company Le Ballet Dembaya (August 6); Ate9 and musicians from Wild Up (August 14); Pacifico Dance Company celebration of Mexican history and culture through dance and music (August 22); Extra Ancestral’s (September 19) fusion of Afrobeat, Reggae, Jazz, Afro-Latin, and traditional African diasporic rhythms and dancing; Versa-Style Dance Company (October 1); and The all-female Mariachi group Las Colibrí (October 9) will return to The Ford with Viva La Tradicion! Mexico de Noche, evoking the eclectic sounds of Mexican nightlife with cumbia powerhouse Viento Callejero and a special serenade by the iconic duo Pepe Martinez Jr. and Susie García, accompanied by Ballet Folklorico Ollín.

The Ford was established in 1920 and and very recently underwent an $80 million renovation. LA Phil operates and programs The Ford under the terms of an agreement finalized with the County of Los Angeles in November 2019. The Association also operates and programs the renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Ford’s sister venue the Hollywood Bowl, and the Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center (BYC) opening in August 2021.

The Ford - Photo courtesy of The Ford

The Ford – Photo courtesy of The Ford

Cynthia Fuentes, Director of The Ford said, “It is so thrilling to finally get to announce our first concerts and events at The Ford after this past year. We wanted this season to be a celebration bringing together the communities that make Los Angeles unlike any other city. Our season features many artists with long histories at The Ford, emerging new artists and musical legends. Taken together, we hope this season honors The Ford’s tradition of inclusion and community-centered programming while offering some new ideas, bringing even more people in to enjoy this historic venue.”

Chad Smith, Los Angeles Philharmonic Chief Executive Officer, David C. Bohnett Chief Executive Officer Chair said, “The LA Phil is honored to steward The Ford and its incredible legacy of engagement with the creative communities of Los Angeles. It is going to be an unforgettable season. After a yearlong closure, we can’t wait to bring artists and audiences back together at this beautiful and iconic venue.”

Los Angeles Philharmonic Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel said, “The Ford embodies so much of what makes the LA Phil special — its deep connection to Los Angeles, its commitment to music as social action and the joy that unfolds on its stage. It is a living monument to our desire for social harmony, cultural understanding and hope for the future. I look forward to seeing its stage come back to life this summer, with programs that reflect the beauty and diversity of our beloved city.”

CONTRA-TIEMPO in "joyUS justUS" at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Choreographed by Founder/Director Ana Maria Alvarez and company members. PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Parry

CONTRA-TIEMPO in “joyUS justUS” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Choreographed by Founder/Director Ana Maria Alvarez and company members. PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Parry

Other highlights of The Ford’s 2021 season include:

Boleros De Noche (August 21) will return to the Ford for an evening highlighting Mexico’s golden era of boleros, featuring favorite local trio Tres Souls opening the night for Grammy-nominated singer Gaby Moreno; In partnership with LXV Enterprises, A Night of “Pinoy”tainment! (August 29) brings artists from the Filipino American worlds of music, hip hop, and comedy. The show will be hosted by AJ Rafael, with performances from Jules Aurora, Ruby Ibarra, and VJ Rosales, as well as comedians Lila Hart, JR de Guzman, and Rex Navarrette; All-Star Spoken Word & Music (September 4); Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela (September 17 & 18) will bring their unique power, energy and precision. A spotlight on local artists will continue with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Julianna Barwick (September 25) when they transform The Ford with ambient music and light while performing works from their individual recent releases; and Element Band (October 10) who will return to The Ford with their distinctive and contemporary arrangements of traditional Armenian music.

Opera Performances

A co-production with Long Beach Opera (August 14 & 15) which will present a double bill featuring Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Kate Soper’s Voices from the Killing Jar in an evening highlighting stories written a century apart in a production that allows female characters to take control of their own narratives. Collaborators include dance company Ate9 and musicians from Wild Up. Pacific Opera Project (August 27) will return to present Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola, based on the fairy tale Cinderella by Charles Perrault, in their highly entertaining style.

Ate9 performs a blind LAdy by Danielle Agami at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts; (l-r) Paige Amicon, Jobel Medina, Genna Moroni, Jordan Lovestrand, Devon Joslin, Rebecah Goldstone, Alexander Quetell; PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Steinberg

Ate9 performs a blind LAdy by Danielle Agami at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts; (l-r) Paige Amicon, Jobel Medina, Genna Moroni, Jordan Lovestrand, Devon Joslin, Rebecah Goldstone, Alexander Quetell; PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Steinberg


Jazz performances include Grammy- and MacArthur Fellowship-winning Cécile McLorin Salvant (September 24) and, in partnership with Angel City Jazz Festival, a special evening featuring five-time Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer Billy Childs with special guests (October 14).


In partnership with the American Cinematheque, The Ford will present two family-friendly movie nights the week before Halloween, including The Muppet Movie (1979) (October 23) and an additional evening to be announced (October 24).

Versa-Style Dance Company. Photo by George Simian.

Versa-Style Dance Company. Photo by George Simian.

Funk and R&B

The Ford, in partnership with Mixed Feelings, will present a few eclectic nights of funk and R&B, including NiiA (October 21).


The season will conclude with multidisciplinary storyteller and singer Moses Sumney (October 30).

The Ford’s centennial season, which would have been commemorated in 2020, will be celebrated in 2022.


Pacifico Dance Company. Photo by Gennia Cui.

Pacifico Dance Company. Photo by Gennia Cui.


Tickets to free concerts will be distributed via invitation to essential workers, fans and community organizations across the county, and through The Ford’s website. To register for a chance to attend free concerts, please visit here by July 5, 2021, and sign up to receive an email about free tickets to The Ford. Free ticket sign-ups will begin July 9, 2021. Tickets for The Ford 2021 season will go on sale June 15, 2021.

Further ticketing information is available here and COVID-19 protocol information is available here.


Concessions for the 2021 season will be provided by chef Jocelyn Ramirez’ Todo Verde, a women-of-color-owned catering company specializing in plant-based Mexican offerings. Todo Verde will bring the free-spirited attitude and global flavors of the LA food scene to The Ford. This partnership will infuse community values into the food that is served at The Ford – more here.

Shuttles and Parking

Shuttle service to The Ford has been expanded to include service from Hollywood and Highland in addition to the Universal Lot at Lankershim. Additional information about parking and shuttles is available here.

For more information and to see the full lineup of artists, click HERE.

Written and Compiled by Jeff Slayton from The Ford May 26, 2021 press release.

Featured image: TAIKOPROJECT – Photo by Rob Hammer