When it debuted in 1935, the Starlight Bowl was a civic gem.
The 3,500-seat outdoor venue, then known as the Ford Bowl, drew crowds to Balboa Park during the famed California Pacific International Exposition and in decades to come, countless rock concerts and plays.
Now it’s filled with weeds.
The shuttered Starlight, nestled in the heart of Balboa Park between the San Diego Air & Space Museum and the municipal gym, hasn’t hosted a show in at least five years. The facility needs millions of dollars in upgrades and fixes, according to one study. The theater also has lost its steward. The San Diego Civic Light Opera Association, the now-defunct nonprofit that had run the facility since 1946, walked away from its city lease last fall in the wake of a lawsuit alleging multiple contract violations.