“Music is for Everyone”
The Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival story began in 1923 with the founding of the Redlands Community Music Association (RCMA) by a woman with a vision – Grace Stewart Mullen. Mrs. Mullen’s vision was that “music is for everyone,” and should be accessible to all regardless of their ability to pay for admission. Her dream of bringing professional quality, classically oriented, music-based performing arts to her community has prospered for over 90 years. The Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival holds the distinction of being the oldest continuous music festival in the United States at which no admission is charged. Since its inception in 1923, an estimated eight million people have attended an evening of entertainment under the stars at the Redlands Bowl.
Performances were first presented in 1924. At the present site of the Prosellis was a band shell donated to the City by Art Gregory. Performances were held during the summer months and in the Wyatt Theatre during the winter. The winter season was discontinued in 1942. In 1928 the City condemned the Wyatt Theater, and in 1930 Clarence and Florence White donated the Prosellis (meaning “before the seats”) to the City of Redlands. The architect of the structure was Herbert J. Powell who also designed the Chapel at the University of Redlands.
Elinor Marlo was the first artist to appear in the series in 1924 an many other famous artists, including Andre Previn, Isaac Stern, Howard Keel, Grace Bumbry, Shirley Verrett, Marilyn Horne, Jerome Hines, John Raitt, and the Bella Lewitzky Modern Dance Company.