At Blossom Music Center
The Blossom Pavilion
The elegant Blossom Pavilion is the core of Blossom Music Center. Widely praised for its stunning looks and superb acoustics, the Pavilion is set at the base of a natural amphitheatre. Under the roof, the Pavilion seats 5,700 concert-goers with reserved seats in several price ranges, spacious box seats in the center of the audience, and unreserved General Admission seats on the rear sides. The sides and rear of the Pavilion are open, allowing a view of the stage for audience members seated on the surrounding sloped lawn.
Constructed in 1968, the Pavilion underwent a major renovation during Blossom’s 2003 redevelopment project. The aging shingle roof was replaced with green and brown natural slate tiles that cover a surface of approximately two acres. The concrete floor was demolished and re-poured to improve seating access. New seats were installed in earth tones that better blend with the surroundings. The seating capacity of the Pavilion was increased and box seating was upgraded to include upholstered seats, more legroom, and a program shelf. The original acoustics were preserved, and new a new sound system offers better listening for audience members on the lawn.
View Blossom Grounds Map
The lush and spacious lawn around the Pavilion provides room for up to 13,500 people to picnic, star-gaze and listen to music.
At the Main Gate to the Blossom grounds, the extensive Smith Plaza underwent an extensive remodel in 2003 and now features entrance gates that provide a direct view of the Blossom Pavilion. Smith Plaza offers ticket services, a merchandise kiosk, guest services, first aid stations, a lawn chair rental booth, the Blossom Women’s Committee Information Center, the Eells Gallery, the Bandwagon Gift Shop, and three gardens.
Kulas Plaza was added during the redevelopment as a private VIP area next to the Pavilion for use by Blossom Festival box seat holders and high-level donors. Kulas Plaza is surrounded by landscaping and offers special concessions, café tables, and dedicated restrooms.
Bandwagon Gift Shop
The Bandwagon Gift Shop, located on Smith Plaza, offers Blossom signature merchandise as well as Cleveland Orchestra clothing, gifts, and compact discs. The shop is open 2½ hours before Festival concerts, during intermission, and after the concert.
The Porthouse Theatre, just inside the Main Gate, is a 500-seat covered pavilion theatre that provides a home for the Porthouse Theatre Company, a professional repertory company affiliated with Kent State University under the Kent/Blossom Theatre program.
The Eells Gallery, which is used by Kent State University to exhibit works by regional and national artists through the Kent/Blossom Art Program, is located on Smith Plaza between the Frank E. Joseph Garden and the Bandwagon Gift Shop.
The open-air Blossom Grille at the top of the Lawn offers a full-service restaurant and bar as well as prepackaged picnic dinners and gourmet picnic baskets. For details, see Dining at Blossom.
Located at the top of the Lawn near the Frank E. Joseph Garden, the Wine Shop stocks an assortment of wines and accessories for concertgoers.
The Knight Grove, at the top of the Lawn is a party area that can accommodate groups of 25 to 450. Several nearby picnic areas offer first-come, first-served tables for smaller groups, and the Woods Picnic Area between the parking lot and Smith Plaza provides a wooded spot to dine near the parking areas.
Landscaping and Gardens
During the 2003 redevelopment, special attention was paid to blending the Blossom grounds into the natural landscape and adjacent Cuyahoga Valley National Park. More than 1,000 new trees of 20 different varieties, thousands of perennial flowers and woody shrubs, and tens of thousands of resilient ground cover plants were planted throughout the grounds.
Additionally, the two existing gardens were upgraded and a new garden was added. The three gardens include walking paths and benches, and offer beautiful, private areas to relax before performances.
The Frank E. Joseph Garden, opened in 1970 and named in honor of the president of the Musical Arts Association at the time of Blossom’s construction and opening, is now located next to the Eells Gallery in Smith Plaza. Emily’s Garden, opened in 1992 to commemorate Emily (Mrs. Dudley S., Jr.) Blossom’s many contributions to Blossom Music Center, is now located in the center of Smith Plaza. And the Herbert E. Strawbridge Garden, named in memory of Musical Arts Association trustee and civic leader Herb Strawbridge, was added in 2003 and located next to the Information and Merchandise Center in Smith Plaza.
Two sculptures are permanently on display on the Blossom grounds. The Kulas Clef, an 11-foot bronze-and-steel work by William McVey commemorating the Kulas Foundation's important financial support towards Blossom's founding, is located near the box office just outside the pedestrian gates. Genesis XI, a 14' x 9' bronze-on-granite composition by Kieff, presented by Mr. and Mrs. C. Bingham Blossom in honor of Emily Blossom, is located in Emily’s Garden.
On concert nights, free trams circulate between all Blossom parking areas and spots inside the Main Gate, including Smith Plaza and the Pavilion. All trams are wheelchair accessible.
Partnering with Cuyahoga Valley National Park
In the spring of 2011, the Musical Arts Association worked with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) to conserve more than 200 acres of Blossom Music Center land into Cuyahoga Valley National Park through a sale funded by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. This transfer helps protect the park experience for concertgoers at Blossom, conserves the land for preservation, and provides one-time funding for the Orchestra. An additional planned sale of 300 more acres of Blossom Music Center land will connect over 5,000 acres of forest ecosystems in the park.
“Protecting this vital landscape is a big benefit to the Park,” says Stan Austin, superintendent of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. “The acquired lands now become a part of the largest forested block in the Park. This land is extremely valuable because it helps sustain critical woodland species and protects several watersheds. We greatly appreciate the Musical Arts Association’s interest in selling the land for this mutually beneficial project.”