Newcomers Guide

We’re so glad to have you join us! If this is your very first time to the Symphony, or if you haven’t been in a while, we hope you find this guide helpful. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

Where do you perform?

This season, the SLO Symphony Concerts in the Cohan series will be performed at:

Performing Arts Center
1 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 (map)

Other concerts and events may be held at various venues around the county.

What's the best place to sit?

The Performing Arts Center is an intimate enough venue that there really isn’t a bad seat in the house! Most seasoned concert-goers prefer to sit in the Dress Circle, one level above the main floor, as it gives a great view of all of the musicians. The Orchestra section is also popular. Because many of our season subscribers choose seats on the left side of the house, for when we have pianists performing, you can sometimes nab fantastic seats in the Orchestra Right section.

Where can I park?

There is a parking structure adjacent to the PAC. Spots are first-come, first-serve, and fill up quickly – so be sure to arrive early!

Additional parking options may be available. Please click here for the Cal Poly campus parking website.

For all parking questions, please email tickets@calpoly.edu or call the Cal Poly Ticket Office at 805-756-4849.

Can I enjoy food and beverages?

Yes! There are concessions areas throughout the lobby at the PAC that sell light snacks and drinks, including beer and wine. Concessions will be sold prior to each concert and during intermission.

What is the appropriate dress?

Many people see a night out at the Symphony as an excuse to dress up a bit. For others, it’s a chance to relax, and a much more casual affair.

You won’t see your fellow concertgoers wearing a lot of tuxedos or flip flops, but you’ll see everything in between. Please dress in a way that makes you comfortable.

I don't know much about classical music. Where can I learn more about what I'm going to hear?

Symphonic Forays are a great place to learn more about the music that will be performed at each concert. SLO Symphony Music Director Andrew Sewell will be joined onstage by special guests one hour prior to the concert. They will talk about the music that will be performed. Learn about each piece’s history, its composer, why it was chosen to be performed, and special moments you should listen for during the concerts.

Your program book will also include interesting and informative facts about each piece in that evening’s repertoire. Read the program notes before the concert to gain a deeper understanding of the music.

Am I allowed to clap between movements?

Yes! We believe that classical music should be enjoyable and accessible. The audience experience at orchestra concerts has evolved over time, and some of our guests refrain from applauding between movements. However, it is perfectly appropriate to do so! If the music touched you or impressed you, please feel free to let the conductor and musicians know by clapping.

Are concerts kid-friendly?

Absolutely! We love nothing more than helping kids develop their love of music, and a night at the Symphony is a great experience for anyone.

With that said, please be considerate to your fellow concert-goers. The Symphony might not be the best place for children who are too young to sit still for the entire performance. If you do have young children, No Ties Allowed is perfect for you! Not only do kids and students come free, but these ticketed dress rehearsals are a much more laid-back affair.

I bought a ticket. Why do you still need donations?

The San Luis Obispo Symphony is a nonprofit organization. Ticket sales and tuition cover less than a third of our total program and concert expenses. We rely on the generosity of our donors to continue bringing powerful symphony concerts to the Central Coast, as well as to support our music education programs.

We hope that if you enjoy our concert, you will consider making a contribution. With your help, we can continue to provide these performances for many years to come.