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No Summer Concert Series for Ventura
updated: Jul 06, 2013, 1:24 PM

By Sheldon Brown

A sad day for Ventura as the summer concert series won't happen this year.

Before you read this let me say that I posted some of this on our Facebook and there seems to be a lot of mis-understanding about why I think this is sad for Ventura.

It is not because it is not happening above city hall but because, right now it is not happening at all.

Perhaps above city hall would be a terrible location, I don't know but not for me to decide because I don't live in the downtown area.

Okay having said that , in what I consider a very big loss for Ventura, because of concerns about possible noise complaints the promoters have cancelled their plans to launch an outdoor concert series this summer.

As proposed, it would have presented up to 12 "major" concerts under a tent in the upper parking lot above City Hall, with seating for about 1,900 concert goers. The parking lot serves very little purpose now.

The concert series was expected to put about $1.5 million into our local economy. And better yet a portion would have gone to support the proposed Ventura Botanical Gardens that will be located right above the parking lot.

The concert series was proposed last year and was approved by the City Council. Public hearings were held, and only a few residents voiced opposition, mostly about increased traffic. As I recall there was no concerns expressed about the noise and the concert's had to end at 10pm so plenty of time for neighbors to still get to bed.

Because a city ordinance requires that decibel levels be monitored (and have a maximum volume) and logged at each concert the promoters were concerned that noise complaints could be used to shut down an ongoing concert and possibly upcoming events.

The promoters, local Star Lounge and Watermark restaurant owner `Mark Hartley, and Nederlander Concerts, (the company that puts on concerts at the Santa Barbara Bowl and others) decided that they didn't want to take the chance if this happening.

It has taken a few years for the promoters and the city to work out the parking, fire safety (with the Fire Marshall) and access for people with disabilities. A final permit was recently granted.

This would have brought major artists to Ventura. Just as we might go to the Libby Bowl, in Ojai or the Santa Barbara Bowl many "tourists" would have come to Ventura to hear the talent that would have performed at this concert series greatly helping our economy and perhaps changing the idea by some that we are "That town on the way to Santa Barbara".

In my opinion the cancelation of this concert series is a blow to those who see downtown Ventura as a place for live music within walking distance to local residents and tourists staying at our local hotels.


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