Until the fat lady sings . . .

Ventura concert series on hold until next summer

By Shane Cohn 08/16/2012

The Ventura Summer Concert Series slated to take place this summer in the parking lot above City Hall is being put on hold until next year.

“It was a mutual decision from the promoter and the city that we weren’t ready this year,” said Community Development Director Jeff Lambert.

Back in March, the City Council voted unanimously on a motion to allow live entertainment producer Nederlander Concerts, in partnership with business owner and music manager Mark Hartley, to erect a 1,900-capacity tent on City Hall’s upper parking lot to host a three-month concert series of up to 12 live shows, beginning in July. A portion of the proceeds were to benefit the Ventura Botanical Gardens and the public arts commission. It was also estimated the concert series could generate $1.5 million for the local economy.

The talent booked at the Ventura location, explained the promoters, would be similar to the acts at other Nedelander venues such as the Santa Barbara Bowl and the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.

But an intensive review period and lengthy environmental studies of the concert area took much longer than anticipated, explained Lambert, adding that the final paperwork will be completed within the next month.

The primary concern from the public about the concert series centered on traffic and parking. Hartley and Lambert said, however, that the issues have been addressed and the plans are in place.

“We’ve now done everything required by city staff to make sure the community has the information,” said Hartley.

But the idea of trying to squeeze in a few shows before November wouldn’t capture the full potential of the concert series, the promoters decided.

“This should be a full concert series, and it’s the only economic way to advertise it,” Hartley said. “And we also want best talent we can get and we’re now at the end of the touring cycle.”

Because the Council had authorized approval for this year only, Lambert said he will likely bring the concert series proposal back to the Council in September to have it continued for approval for next summer.

With certainty for next year, the promoters can start booking acts and do a formal launch. Hartley said he would like to be able to start announcing shows in February. 

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