Venue Guide

Posted online: March 2015

 By Keith Hamm
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The Granada Theatre

THE ARLINGTON THEATRE 805-963-4408, A full-time movie theatre that also hosts big-time bands (Beck, Ryan Adams, Chrissie Hynde, et. al.), this massive venue showcases an indoor village facade, a 320-seat balcony, and plenty of patio room for special events. Indie folk rockers The Avett Brothers take the stage on February 10.

CAMPBELL HALL UCSB campus, 805-893-3535, Much like downtown’s bigger, illustrious music theaters, this UCSB venue draws a variety of elite musicians from around the globe. Freedom fighters Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela come together on March 13 to honor 20 years of South African democracy.

COLD SPRING TAVERN 805-967-0066, Regulars contend one should never depart their Earth-bound existence without passing at least one sunny weekend afternoon enjoying the dappled shade outside this rustic meat-and-music Mecca. If tri-tip sandwiches, cold ones, and no-cover blues bands — Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan are the Sunday staple — sound appealing, this backcountry tavern is a mandatory stopover.

FOLK STEADY Ojai Rancho Inn, 805-646-1434, Since the summer of 2013, Little Big Here frontman Vaughn Montgomery (with a big assist from Taylor Fulton) has curated this afternoon hootenanny comprised of some of the region’s finest musicians, from Ojai’s Todd Hannigan, Aaron Embry, and members of the Lennon family, to regular visits by Santa Barbara’s Johnny McCann and Jim Connelly. Bring the kids, have a picnic, and drop a donation in the box. Shows take place every first Sunday of the month, starting in the spring, weather permitting.

FUNZONE 805-962-6666, Hosted by East Beach Batting Cages, this DIY venue is an all-ages hotspot for local and visiting bands and fans.“It’s really cool to see a small business allow this kind of thing to happen and provide the space,” says Moss Jacobs with the New Noise Music Foundation, which shares the Funzone’s mission to provide young artists opportunities to perform and hang out in a drug- and alcohol-free spot. “It definitely helps the local music scene and the Milpas corridor.”

THE GRANADA THEATRE 805-899-2222, Still basking in the golden afterglow of a restoration spearheaded by the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts, this 1550-seat venue is the home to Santa Barbara Symphony, Santa Barbara Choral Society, and the State Street Ballet. It also hosts a yearlong concert series, with class acts visiting on a monthly basis. On March 22, jazz royalty Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea take the stage for a rare, historic duet.

HAHN HALL Music Academy of the West, 805-969-4726, 350 seats with plenty of legroom under an acoustically engineered ceiling make this a great room for listening to great music, such as Camerata Pacfica. This core of principal musicians are joined by stellar guest artists from around the world to cover Bach, Wagner, Brahms, and other greats. Monthly performances booked through May.

LOBERO THEATRE 805-963-0761, This original Old Spanish Days party house has been drawing world-renowned acts for decades, from Ingrid Bergman and Igor Stravinsky, to Dave Brubeck and Dizzy Gillespie. On June 27, Sings Like Hell presents Grammy-nominated John Fullbright with special guests Kevin Welch and Dustin Welch.


The Majestic Ventura Theater

THE MAJESTIC VENTURA THEATRE 805-653-0721, Arguably the best indoor venue between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this 1920s-era Mission-style music magnet hosts a 1200-head capacity for class acts from around the globe. Don’t Miss Willie Nelson & Family on February 4. Over the past six decades, this iconic Texan has put out more than 200 albums.

NEW VIC 805-965-5400, Home to the Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara, this recently modernized 300-seat theatre also hosts a heavy rotation of lectures, films, ballets, and, of course, live music. Check its online calendar for updates.

SANTA BARBARA BOWL 805-962-7411, This fabled 79-year-old outdoor venue draws the biggest names in international concert touring — from Lorde to James Taylor — while hosting local music acts and charitable events. The third annual Dia de los Muertos blowout will be back on Halloween weekend, “bigger and better than ever,” says curator Nicole Alejandra Pierpont. The first concerts booked this year are alt-J on April 14, Steely Dan on April 15, and Diana Krall on August 30.

SOHO RESTAURANT AND MUSIC CLUB 805-962-7776, The only spot in town that can claim live music seven nights a week, from touring greats to local talent. On February 22, get up close and personal with Wild Child, the road-warrior sextet out of Austin, Texas.

VELVET JONES 805-965-8676, This club/restaurant/bar opened its doors to the heart of the downtown nightlife back in 2000 and has since served up a heavy platter, from 18-and-up college-night DJ parties, to the Foo Fighters and Dinosaur Jr. Check the show calendar online.

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Santa Barbara Bowl

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