By Nigel Chisholm
Growing up in the gritty steel city of Birmingham, England, I loved the song, Ventura Highway. Full of the impossible dream that was California, and sung by a band named America. Although the lyrics of their song, A Horse With No Name more accurately represented my circumstance, well, this boy was allowed to dangle an impossible dream at the end of another grim day, right? Fast forward to 1987 and I found myself living in, you guessed it, Ventura. I rode on that famed Highway 101 every day and eventually moved up to Ojai. That’s where I met and became friends with keyboardist and saxophonist Jimmy Calire, who toured with, you probably didn’t guess this, America, for more years than you can shake a stick at. Funny how life often does what you make it do. All these years later, I have found myself immersed in the music scene for the past 15 years and now writing about three profoundly different music venues in, yep, you definitely guessed this one too, Ventura.Read More
The SLO County Music Scene
By Donna Wolfe
San Luis Obispo County has it all — from sunshine to surf, endless recreational opportunities, a world-class wine region, fabulous breweries, great shopping and dining, respected places of learning and, not surprisingly, a thriving local music scene. The county is bordered to the west by coastal ocean views and lined with the gentle rolling mountains heading east.
Located about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco along U.S. Highway 101, “SLO County” is home to a musical community that covers all genres and features a variety of fun venues. Here are some of the area’s most well-known and favorite spots:Read More
There’s something glorious about a festival. People from all walks of life gather together to honor traditions, or celebrate regional flavors and products, or just to revel in the sheer, sometimes quirky, joy of their passions. Festivals are part of human civilization the world over and, since time immemorial, they have taken us out of the mundane and given us the spectacle, color, music, and variety we crave in life. We mingle and eat and browse and eat and marvel and eat and eat and eat! In our bounteous region, local foods and specialties are some of the things we celebrate most, but summer festival season is also the best time of the year to soak up the rich diversity of activities and culture the area has to offer.Read More
The Ojai Music Scene
Heading north on Highway 101 in Ventura, you will notice a road sign inviting you to join Highway 33 toward Ojai. Ojai is 13 miles east of Ventura and nestled under the mystical Topa Topa Mountains. Take that road and you’ll find yourself in quintessential small-town America. Tucked neatly inside the mountain range on what is historically Chumash territory, Ojai is a well-known artistic community. It is famed for the “Ojai Vortex” — a vortex where, apparently, all of your previous life experiences drain away and you discover the inner beauty of all things living and past. Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. Then I went there and discovered, much to my horror, that the Ojai Vortex exists.
That vortex most certainly exists in this tiny town’s musical offerings. Ojai has been (and is) home to so many famous actors, directors, and musicians that it makes the head spin.Read More