Ventura summer concert series on track for approval
By Shane Cohn 04/26/2012
Almost two months ago, Ventura City Council declared that the city was on “the precipice of cool” as it voted unanimously on a motion to allow the live entertainment producer Nederlander Concerts, in partnership with business owner and music manager Mark Hartley and Ventura Botanical Gardens, to erect a 1,900-capacity tent on City Hall’s upper parking lot to host a three-month concert series.
Fire safety, parking and traffic issues that would result from the concert series needed to be addressed before the hillside could be green-lighted to hold up to 12 concerts in the months of July through October.
“I think we’re actually on track,” said Community Development Director Jeff Lambert. “We’re on a pretty good path to overcome any of the challenges.”
Lambert said that the parties involved with the project have reached a potential agreement, but still have to work out some technical issues.
During the City Council meeting on March 5, Ventura Fire Chief Kevin Rennie said that the concert site was in the middle of an extreme fire-hazard zone and that he would hire a fire behavior specialist to assess the site and venue plans.
“He (fire specialist) did a pretty intensive study of the area, vegetation and expected fuel load,” said Rennie, adding that a course of action and prevention measures have been relayed to the concert promoters. “I would say things are preliminarily agreed to, but I haven’t seen anything in writing yet.”
Rennie said that he would be meeting with concert promoters this week.
As instructed by the Council, community workshops will be held on April 30 and May 24 to present the proposed project and collect input about the project from community members, business owners and interested stakeholders.
Neither Hartley nor Moss Jacobs, vice president of talent at Nederlander Concerts, was available for comment. Jacobs had previously told the Council and city staff that assessing the concert site and plans needed to happen with haste in order to successfully book touring acts for the summer and fall seasons.
The venue would typically book the types of acts traveling the circuit from Humphreys by the Bay in San Diego to The Mountain Winery in Saratoga. Some of the acts booked at Humphreys this summer and fall, for example, include Sheryl Crow, Ringo Star, Esperanza Spalding, Tony Bennett and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
The concert series is anticipated to generate an estimated $1.5 million for the local economy.
The April 30 and May 24 community meetings with be at 6 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room, Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli Street.