LA Philharmonic


Rebuild and migrate the LA Philharmonic and Hollywood Bowl's websites.

Industry: Entertainment

Services: Data Import, Data Migration, solr, apache, Multisite, 3rd Party Integration, Drupal Customization, Google Maps

“Whenever we partner with MetalToad on a project, it's with a great sense of relief--like that's one less thing we need to worry about.  MetalToad has our back. They always come through for us.”

- Neal Steinberg, Kapow, inc

The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Hollywood Bowl websites are complex sites that incorporate scheduling, marketing promotions and massive media libraries. We rebuilt them by leveraging Drupal 7’s excellent tools for building complex websites.

The creative folks at Kapow, inc. led off the rebuild with beautiful design and a clear content architecture, then brought Metal Toad Media on board to simplify the publishing workflow, plan software architecture and perform front & backend development.

Previously built and run using custom ColdFusion code and a SQL Server database, both sites were consolidated into a single multisite platform.

The Technical Challenge

Clocking 80,000+ pageviews a day during ticket releases, these sites needed a solid and fast server architecture. We worked with their IT team to build a Windows server platform that could handle the load. Again, consolidating the websites with Drupal multisite and the open source Domain Access module proved a good choice. With both websites sharing the same server and cache systems, we reduced IT complexity and the cost vs. separate server platforms.

Content findability was enhanced from the original ColdFusion system too. We migrated 33,000+ records, spanning 20 different content types to MySQL and added an Apache Solr search index. These were integrated into a powerful faceted search tool with Philpedia and site-wide indexes. Entering a search term will return accurate results which are further categorized; Performances, People, Pieces, Press, and Other - making searching for a specific item in the massive database both faster and more accurate.

Reaching out to the Audience

The Hollywood Bowl's “What Happened Last Night” feature allows concertgoers to submit photos by email to be posted on the site. A custom section in the backend allows moderators to approve or reject each submitted image. The system looks at the EXIF data of the photo to automatically match the photos to the event where they were taken. A Press Image Library uses Drupal's role system to grant press and reporters special access to a database of both high and low resolution images. The press can access photos in the library not available to the public, but are easily restricted from private, editing areas of the site.

The Drupal Calendar module helped us to quickly build a complex and beautiful calendar. After customizing it with styling from our design partners kapow, inc., adding advanced search, and integrating with TicketMaster, this calendar fits the LAPhil brands and doesn’t look remotely like an off-the-shelf module. On the Hollywood Bowl site, the Park & Ride section uses the Google Maps API along with a custom overlay to show departure times and locations (that vary by concert) for the 18 bus lines that take concertgoers to the Bowl from all around the Los Angeles area.

In the end, we delivered a better experience for both LAPhil staff and visitors by stabilizing the site under high-traffic, making it easier to update & build upon, and greatly improving usability by building on kapow's designs and input.