Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 2/14 – 2/27

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner

There have been a number of events that have brought our community together over the years but few made as big an impact as the Thomas Fire Benefit Festival did. They were able to raise over $700,000.00 for victims of the Thomas Fire. One hundred percent of the ticket sales along with a percentage of the food, beverage and t-shirt sales went to the fund. Add to that the fact that day was virtually flawless what with the videos in between acts (produced by Mark Gillard), the speeches, the performances by Olivia Newton-John, Kevin Costner and Modern West, Colbie Caillat and all the others, it was an amazing day that brought us together so we could stand with those who lost everything. Mark Hartley told me that for him the most important aspect of the day was that everyone rose to the occasion to help, from City staff, PD, the artists performing for free, the sponsors, all those who rolled up their sleeves and got it done, to the people who showed up to support, he confessed that it was a tremendous feeling.

It truly was cathartic and I couldn’t love this town more.

And yet another event to help our community heal through music will be held at Mission Park on Sunday, February 25. This one features Grammy-nominated, Perla Batalla; Tom Scott and the LA Express; Grammy-winning artist, Diego Garcia; Ventura Music Festival Artistic Director, Nuvi Mehta as well as other special guests. This family friendly event is absolutely free to the public, no tickets or reservations are necessary and you’re invited to bring low profile chairs or blankets to sit on at the park. The concert is expected to run from 3 – 4:30 pm.

I’m looking forward to new music coming from Jade Hendrix, the first single, “Purpose” is set to be released February 15. Hologram Empire has a new album with a June 22 release date. It features other local artists including Danielle Stacy, Lauren Peterson as well as other guest artists; the band had their television debut January 31 on the PBS show, Celebration of Music.

Congratulations to Jon Gindick for pulling off another successful Blues Harmonica Jam Camp at the Pierpont Inn this past week. It was a treat for those who caught a couple of the outings so camp players could perform in front of an audience including gigs at the Hong Kong Inn and a Jam Camp Revue at Grapes and Hops.

Quick notes: Yachtley Crew continues their Thursday night residency at Bombay’s through February; Tribal Seeds “Roots Party” with the original Wailers and the Expanders will be at the Ventura Theater, Saturday, February 17; the Young Dubliners return to Ventura for a show at Discovery on Wednesday, February 21; and the Dive Bar Messiahs make their debut appearance at Grapes and Hops on Saturday, February 24, you know it’s gonna be a scene!

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to, and for updated music listings daily, go to

Thomas Fire Benefit Festival

Saturday, February 3, 2018
Plaza Park, Downtown Ventura

Kevin Costner and Modern West

Olivia Newton-John

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Colbie Caillat

And more!!

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 10/12-10/25

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
Ebbs and Flows of our Music Scene
by Pam Baumgardner


Nobody likes change, especially when it involves the closing of another venue which offered live music. I’ll admit to my disappointment; especially when walking by Saturday night and not hearing upbeat live music from W20 at the Watermark. I wanted to berate Hartley for letting us down, but you know, he and Kathy sort of deserve less stress in their lives. It would have made the blow easier knowing the new tenants would carry on with live music, but alas, it doesn’t appear they will. I’m trusting the other venues in town to pick up the slack and help out the bands scrambling to find places to play. I always say there are ebbs and flows with Ventura’s music scene. Guess which one we’re in.

Doing his best to pick up the slack of course is Mike Toler just around the corner from W20 at Amigos. He’s got a nice line up of music scheduled including Mi6 on Sunday October 23d. He told me that he’s looking forward to the return of his friend Wes Nile and Mi6. He said, “The last time we had them at Amigos they really brought it with something I had not seen before. Imagine listening to a DJ but the DJ was being replaced by a band, and unless you were in front of the band, you wouldn’t know the difference!”

I’m glad I was able to witness the return of Cirith Ungol at the Ventura Theater during the Frost and Fire II fest. The City of Ventura was scheduled to recognize their reuniting after 25 years at the City Council meeting on Monday the 10th. I’ve heard European dates will be coming up for them in 2017.

SteampunkFest will be held at the Heritage Square in Oxnard on October 15th and 16th. The event is being touted as kid friendly with wacky events all day. Some of the bands scheduled include 50 Sticks of Dynamite, Abby and the Myth, Cirque Des Betes, and of course the Velveteen Band. For more information and ticket prices, check out

I’m hearing good things about the band, Big Jesus, an alt-rock band out of Atlanta, GA, who will be coming to town this month. They’ve been getting a lot of good coverage for their latest release; Rolling Stone Magazine praised them for “reviving 90’s alternative” which happens to my favorite era of music. Actually the entire week at the Ventura Theater will be rockin’ with Yellowcard on the 19th, Garbage on the 20th, Ben Folds on the 21st, Common Kings on the 22nd and wrapping up the week will be Big Jesus opening for Good Charlotte on Sunday the 23rd.

And finally, happy anniversary to Sheldon and the staff of the Ventura Breeze. I would like to personally thank Sheldon for supporting Ventura’s music scene by devoting a full page to its coverage.

Do you have any music related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing? Send all information short or long to, and for updated music listings daily, go to

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze – 8/17 – 8/30

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
“Idols, Icons and more…”
by Pam Baumgardner

Karen Eden with Olivia Newton-John at W20 at the Watermark, Thursday, August 4, 2016.

Karen Eden with Olivia Newton-John at W20 at the Watermark, Thursday, August 4, 2016.

With the Ventura County Fair behind us leaving us with many cool memories of so many amazing concerts, I would be remissed if I didn’t share one slightly monumental event that took place on Tuesday afternoon. One of our musical treasures we claim as our own is Jimmy Calire who you can find playing here in town with several different bands. I once wrote about stories Calire shared with me when his band Raven played in New York City and Jimi Hendrix would join in on the jam and I even once read that Janis Joplin tried to hire him at one point. Calire also toured with America in the seventies, so it was really cool when America played at the fair and invited Jimmy to join them for their final song, their most iconic tune, “Horse with No Name”. I had to ask Jimmy about it and he modestly told me, “Joining them on the song was great, but just catching up backstage was even better.”

Another anecdotal story I must share with you involves another local artist whom you can find singing her Aussie heart out most weeks here in town, of course I’m speaking of Karen Eden. Mark Hartley of the Watermark specifically had Eden booked for Thursday, August 4, in order to surprise her with one of Eden’s idols. Karen told me, “I was half way through a song when Hartley gave me a mischievous look and out from behind him stepped none other than Olivia Newton-John!” Karen of course immediately recognized her and smiled a huge grin. She told me, “I can’t believe I kept singing!” After the song Karen went up to Olivia and gave her a big hug. Karen got to tell her how she grew up listening to, learning from and loving her. Karen confessed, “She was so lovely; it was a treat of a lifetime for me.” It also turned out that Karen’s guitarist that evening, Cary Park, had played on one of Olivia’s albums back in the 90s. What a night!

And just so you know Mark Hartley, Dave Grohl is my favorite idol. Just sayin’.

Music Under the Stars continues Saturday nights throughout the summer at the historic Olivas Adobe with music from the Shari Puorto Band (Rock ‘n’ Blues) on August 20 and Savor (Santana tribute band) on August 27 which is already sold out.

And finally Spencer Makenzie’s Cornhole Tournament has been growing exponentially gaining recognition as the West Coast’s biggest cornhole/bean bag tournament and though their main focus is the contest, they’re also continuing their End of Summer party with a free concert Saturday, August 27, featuring Mandex. Show starts at 6 with Andre, then Brothers Fortune and the headliners at 8.
Do you have any music related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing? Send all information short or long to, and for updated music listings daily, go to

Ventura Music Photos: July 2015

W20 at the Watermark – July 30, 2015
Anchor & Bear
Anchor & Bear

Sans Souci – July 26, 2015
My Modern Valentine
My Modern ValentineAll-A-Blur

The Wine Rack – July 26, 2015
The Swilley’s – Steve and Sally Williams
Steve and Sally Williams


The Star Lounge – July 25, 2015
Arockalypse Now
0725_Arock_002 0725_Arock_003 0726_Arock_001

Squashed Grapes – July 24, 2015
Jerry Vivino & Friends, guest appearance by Jacob Scesney
Jerry Vivino and Friends

 Surf Rodeo 2015

Pam Baumgardner, Staci Brown and Mark Hartley

Pam Baumgardner, Staci Brown and Mark Hartley

Pierpont Beach – July 11 – 12, 2015
Surf Rodeo


Saloon BBQ – July 10, 2015
Charles and Christine Law

Charles Law

Ventura Beach Club – Hi Hat Entertainment – July 10, 2015
Hot Roux CD Release Party
Hot Roux

Peirano’s – July 10, 2015
Lola Haag & the Back Beat Boys
Lola Haag

Sandbox Coffeehouse – July 4, 2015
Kevin Stanley
Kevin Stanley

Ventura Street Fair – July 4, 2015
UnUusual Suspects
UnUsual SuspectsVentura Street Fair – July 4, 2015
Iron Mountain Boys
Iron Mountain BoysVentura Street Fair – July 4, 2015
Singing Valentines (for hire!)
Singing Valentines

Discovery Ventura – July 3, 2015
Queen Nation

Sans Souci – July 2, 2015
Burien (Seattle, WA)
Die Nasty Die NastyDie Nasty