Ventura Social Club at W20 – 5/16/13

This week’s Ventura Social Club at the Watermark’s W20 saw Xoco Moraza on Harp, Joe Baugh on Guitar, Andrew Flores on stand up Bass and featured Ozomatli Drummer, Mario Calire.

No lie, it was truly phenomenal!

Each week features a different line up and the crew never disappoints!!

Artists Photos

I’ve been humbled yet again by the people in this town.

We work hard, but we’re seeing results and Ventura really does Rock more and more every day.

A lot of effort is put into Ventura Rocks. We have a website we update every day. We generate a lot of two-way communication via Facebook hoping to get people out to support the shows. We also work on projects like Ventura Music Week attending meetings several times a week and meeting with the venues and artists to make sure they are included. There are the emails and messages coming in to “tweek” or fix a listing on our site, or to add an Artist, or to ask my thoughts about a certain artist and whether they’re a fit for a certain show. I love it.

I also work three paying jobs, I’ve been going to school four nights a week working on a degree, plus there are the basketball playoffs on top of having a teenage daughter I actually enjoy spending time with.

But more than that, I enjoy the fruits of our labor and I go out and support our music scene. I attempt to do this at least two-three times a week. And when I do, I make it a point to “check in” on Facebook with a photo of the band in hopes of getting others out to do the same.

The point is, I’m really freakin’ busy!!! So I was sidelined recently when a local musician, someone I admired, sent me an email requesting we get permission from Artists before posting their photos anywhere on the internet.

I’m positive this was a direct hit at me personally because I can not imagine how a local artist in a town the size of Ventura would be opposed to receiving free publicity.

I’ll be honest. It hurt. And perhaps I should have suppressed my feelings but I did two things.

1. I responded with a nice lengthy explanation and then I promised I would never take their photo again without their permission.

2. I went on Facebook and posted the following message along with a photo of my dog Sammy expressing how I was feeling:

“It’s been requested from a local musician that we get permission from Artists before posting their photos anywhere on the internet.
It hadn’t occurred to us that some musicians/artists would prefer not to have free publicity and help promoting them.
If we have posted your image in the past and you were not OKAY with it, please let us know and we will immediately take it down.
Seriously, we’re just trying to help”

The response was overwhelming. I will never doubt again that we’re making a difference in this town. And the support and thanks for what we do was just inspiring. I honestly cried more over these comments than how disappointing that email was. And no, not one Artist has sent me a Private Message to request we not post their photos. I did get one Private Message, but no, I’m not going to divulge who it was who made the request!

But I do want to be clear that we will endeavor to ensure Artists are fine with us posting their photos. I just don’t want them to feel beholden to us, or think we’re just looking for “thanks.”

And just so you know, I try to be careful with the photos I post ensuring the Artist(s) look good, avoiding glowing eyes, or unflattering expressions. If when I scroll the photos and I don’t see a good one, I’ll go back up and take some more until I do. If the lighting sucks so much that I can’t get the shot, I’ll just not post anything.

So if for any reason (you don’t have to give me an explanation if you don’t want to), you prefer not to have your photo on our website or Facebook page, just let me know, send me a private message. Of if there is a particular photo you don’t feel comfortable with, I’ll be happy to take that down for you. Again, we’re here to help.

All that being said, we’ve been doing this for four years now, and we’ve been talking for two years about how has not made a dime since going live. We continue to pay for all costs out of pocket including our personal time to do updates daily and how we would like to change this eventually.

That’s going to happen soon. And it feels really f***ing weird that our purely goodwill effort is now going to be a commercial venture. But know this, we will never ever charge the venues, or the Artists be listed just like we’ve always done. But we are going to start offering banner ads (taxi services, out-of-town venues, hair salons, etc…), and we’re working on creating an online store for t-shirts and other items.

Ventura is such a great place to live, we have these incredible musicians and Artists who deserve support. We have a community and network of resources that encourage the music scene and we’re privileged to be a part of it all because like I always say, Ventura really does Rock!


A Call to all Artists: What is Your Worth?

Shawn Jones and Sam Bolle

Shawn Jones and Sam Bolle has made it our mission to help Ventura’s music scene come to life. A local musician who has been gigging on Main Street for over 40 years recently commented that this is the best of times. I agree. But I think it can be even better.

I’m not going to lie, I’m still learning a lot about the music scene. I don’t pretend to know it all, but there are a few things I know for certain and one of them is that individuals who create art are among the most worthy in our society. They make life bearable. They create beauty, and soulfulness. Without art, life would be dull. Just look at your surroundings, Ventura is beautiful. Yes, the hillsides, two trees, the ocean and our rivers are amazing, but aesthetically speaking, we have a lot of beauty within our town too. Well kept homes, well-designed buildings, historical landmarks are preserved, we have art on display, we have music in our venues, we have people volunteering their time to improve conditions…it’s really quite amazing what we have in our town. If you take the time to look, I think you too will find that it’s truly beautiful.

I know I tend to look at the glass half full and sometimes you have to dig in deep and confront issues you’d rather not. I’m no Pollyanna and I know our society has a long ways to go: We have homeless panhandling and not accepting a hand up. Crime rate and drug abuse (usually going hand in hand) continues to plague us. The economy is slowly recovering but jobless rate is still a problem and City services to continue to take a hit.

But I knew something could be done to make a difference in this town, and helping the economy and supporting our musicians, by helping to promote your gigs just felt like the right thing to do. I still believe that 100%.

Creating harmony, affinity and beauty and making someone feel better should never be overrated. People coming together and listening to music that moves them and inspires them, that’s something magical.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a punk show to work out the aggressions as much as the next person, but I also love our jazz, I love our rockers, I love our folk heroes who bear their souls each and every performance. You guys are so incredible!

You get it right? Artists are important to our society.

So that being said, I want you to know where I’m coming from as I carefully broach the subject of exploitation. And while yes, at least 90% of our promoters are FABULOUS, there is a bad element out there that has landed on our radar and we’re at a crossroads on how to deal with them. These are the promoters who have no intention of paying the bands who play at their events, yet they’re making money off of them. That my friend is called exploitation. Worse yet, there are the promoters who ask the bands to pay them to be a part of their event.

Of course there will always be the argument that the band will get exposure they normally wouldn’t get. I can absolutely get that, IF you’re opening up for Green Day at the Ventura Theater; or you’re about to play in front of thousands of people at one of the bigger shows. Or being a part of an event like Local Rock Picnic where everyone is doing their part to pull off an event for the “greater good”. And of course there’s the newer artist coming on the scene who needs to prove their own worth and I wouldn’t begrudge them playing for exposure to get the ball rolling.

I’m not walking in your shoes, so I try not to judge. But know this, I have your back and I’m watching out for you.

Also, we might as well confront the fact that a number of venues do not pay their musical talent. That’s a hard one. We know the economy is getting better, so we hope their purse strings are loosening up. If the artists help increase business, then they should be compensated!

And while we’re at it, the venues who do provide music and no cover? Patrons need to put in exchange with them as well! Buy dinner. Buy a beverage or two. Because if everyone were to show up and then not pay for anything, I promise you this, these guys WILL GO OUT OF BUSINESS.

So in conclusion…Artists are what make this society a joy to be a part of.

If you are an artist, do not underestimate your worth. We don’t. You are worthy and we are here to help you.

Pam Baumgardner

The Shoemaker Brothers at Bombay’s 2/15/13

Loving the Shoemakers:  Samuel, Daniel, Nate and Gabriel at Bombay’s Bar & Grill.  Great way to start the evening.  Burgers, Beer & The Shoemakers downtown Ventura, CA.

Royalush at Billy O’s 1/28/13

Royalush wrapping up their month long residency at Billy O’s on Monday, January 28, 2013.  The guys rocked the joint!  Check out their official website.


Zoey’s Love Notes 1/19/13

A VERY special evening of song from some of Zoey’s favorites. Out of love for what they do, these talented artists gathered together on this one night to thank Zoey’s for providing an environment of community, family, collaboration and creativity. A truly magical evening for those in attendance as well as for the artists who shared the stage in support of Zoey’s.

The Gypsy Blues Room 1/10/13

Hi Hat Entertainment’s opening night of The Gypsy Blues Room at Peirano’s on Main Street.  The night was a complete success with amazing musicians.  Looking forward to a long successful run.

Totally Local VC & Surf Brewery Jam at Bombays 1/6/13

Totally Local VC & Surf Brewery pulled it off again with yet another amazing jam session hosted by 50 Sticks of Dynamite at Bombay Bar and Grill.

Ventura Jazz Collective at Amigos 1/3/13

The Ventura Jazz Collective played their first of what we hope is many gigs to come at Amigos.  Band featured Pablo Plasencia on bass, Garrett Miller on drums, Franklin Murphy on keyboards and Patrick Martin on Saxophone.


Totally Local VC & Surf Brewery Jam at Amigos 12/02/12

Great time at Amigos on Main Street, Downtown Ventura as Totally Local VC & Surf Brewery host their year end jam.  Musicians and fans alike had a great time!  The Bobby Hart Band led the jam all afternoon.