Performances on the rise at LBC lift the spirit of Sonoma County

Entertainment is at the heart of LBC’s mission, right alongside enrichment and education. It’s one of our promises to contribute to the quality of life in the North Bay. When performances vanished from our stages during the pandemic, we invested in alternative types of programming to keep our community connected to entertainment during those isolating times. While we have emerged a better, more versatile organization because of these innovations, LBC and the community still have work to do together to bring the full power of live performance back to our county. 

At the beginning of 2020, LBC’s performance season was on track to be the best on record. Then March 19 happened, and 40 million Californians were ordered to stay at home indefinitely. Sixteen months would pass before LBC would sell another ticket or hold a live performance again. Fast forward to the 2022 season, and the good news is our stages are active again.

Despite a late start to this season, ticket sales began to pick up. Unfortunately, that rise was interrupted briefly when large indoor events were shuttered for a month in January, forcing us to reschedule a number of performances and putting a strain on that early momentum. Despite the setback, LBC’s commitment to the community demands we set our course for full steam ahead.

“In measuring the success of a rebound, ticket sales certainly are critical,” said Anita Wiglesworth, Vice President of Programs and Marketing. “At the same time, it’s in our DNA to keep entertainment alive and accessible for all in Sonoma County. We are doing everything we can to bring people back together again to enjoy performances that reflect the many cultures and tastes here.”

More Entertainment Choices

The pandemic drove us to think outside the box with many new and diverse ways to keep people entertained. The result: today we have a greater variety of engagement opportunities for our community – both live and online – than ever before. During the shutdown, for example, LBC created Luther Locals, a Facebook platform for Sonoma County bands. The program not only compensated local musicians at a critical time, but also allowed fan to enjoy live music from the comfort and safety of their homes. Today, we continue to create Luther Locals events online and have arranged for a few of these bands to open for the three main performers at this summer’s Rodney Strong Concert Series.

“We are thrilled to have the shared experience of live entertainment again, and we continue to add programming throughout the year. At the same time, we have a lot to do to get back to pre-pandemic conditions,” said Wiglesworth. “We are depending on the community to be part of that effort by becoming members, participating in the variety of indoor and outdoor events, choosing LBC when renting a facility or looking for family experiences, or donating to one of our arts education programs.” To learn more about these local opportunities for you and your friends and family to enjoy together, visit lutherburbankcenter.org.

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