On Dec. 6, it was announced that the Majestic Ventura Theater would be entering into a deal with entertainment company Live Nation. As of January 2019, the historic theater will be joining Live Nation Clubs and Theatres division’s national portfolio of exclusively booked properties. Other venues in that portfolio include The Wiltern in Los Angeles, Atlanta’s The Tabernacle and the House of Blues.
What that means to local music fans, in a nutshell: All shows booked at the Ventura Theater will be through Live Nation.
“We’ve been working on it for a while,” says theater manager Loanne Wullaert, who was instrumental in the negotiations. A representative of Live Nation reached out to theater owner Robert Antonini in 2017.
Whenever a large corporate entity becomes involved with a locally owned operation, concerns and suspicions abound. But Wullaert is optimistic about what the partnership will mean. With Live Nation’s money and clout to back them, the Ventura Theater is a bigger fish in the competitive pond of musical entertainment. She notes that it can be difficult to compete with bigger venues that have better facilities and more money to tempt more popular acts. “The caliber and quantity [of shows] is going to go up,” she says. “It’s going to be making things a lot busier.”
“We’re working on a ton of shows right now,” she adds. Many details can’t be made public just yet, but Wullaert did say that some improvements are planned. “We will be working on upgrading the sound with Rat Sound, and lights with Delicate Productions — both local vendors.”
Local musicians may find it harder to play at the theater, however. Some opportunities to open for bigger acts may still appear, but Wullaert admits that, “It all depends. It’s been difficult [to book local artists] already. Most package tours, the headliners bring in their own support.” But, she adds, “We will still be booking fundraisers, private parties and community events ourselves.”
More and bigger bands mean more opportunities for music lovers . . . which should translate to increased ticket sales. Having said that, ticket distribution will remain the same. “Contrary to popular belief, we will not be switching to Ticketmaster, we will be staying with Ticketfly,” Wullaert says.
And as the theater gets busier, it’s going to need more help. Wullaert anticipates hiring more people for scheduling, social media, security and maintenance.
“I’m so excited,” Wullart says. “It’s going to be a real game changer for Ventura.”
The Ventura Theater is at 26 S. Chestnut St. in Ventura. For more information, call 805-653-0721 or visit www.venturatheater.net.