Archive for May, 2009

May 28, 2009

Cal music fest continued…

Predictably, I received a less than cheerful note from Mark Rasmussen, the music festival’s organizer, in response to my previous post. And coincidentally, immediately following said post, the Cal Music Festival was updated to include much of the info that was previously missing.

I’m awaiting word from the City’s street fair coordinator Michele Godoy as to whether or not the permits have been approved and paid for which would allow the festival to use Mission Park for the event.

The lineup as of 30 days before the festival features Unwritten Law and B-Side Players as the headliners. After that it’s mostly B-level artists or start-up projects featuring (insert ex-member of 80s or 90s band here), and a slew of potentially interesting, largely unknown So Cal bands peppered with some Ventura County bands including one of our faves: Dirty Words and the Situation.

The list of participating venues is still nowhere near Rasmussen’s original claims to me on the phone, and they’re mostly very small spaces except for Rookees. Problem is, they’re all 21+ except for Zoey’s, which is now, thanks to  a Ventura PD effort, unable to accommodate audiences younger than 21 after 10 p.m.

So, if you’re younger than 21, you might not be able to see all the bands you were hoping to for your $40 ticket.

I honestly hope the festival comes off without a hitch and meets everyone’s expectations. I’m not trying to bash the event in any way. Just trying to shed some light: that’s what journalists do.

May 14, 2009

Cal Music Fest: Will It Or Won’t It?

It’s just about 6 weeks before promoter and No Cover publisher Mark Rasmussen plans to fill downtown Ventura’s mission park and 18 venues with live music and a sweaty, beer-swilling audience of more than one thousand on July 4 weekend, in tandem with the street fair.

Ambitious? Just a little. I applaud anyone willing to champion music and our fine downtown to this degree, however, all signs are pointing to it ain’t gonna happen. Or at least, not the way Rasmussen is purporting.

Rasmussen told me yesterday that he already presold 900 tickets, yet the Web site is missing all the pertinent info/prompts for purchase. There is no confirmed lineup and the city permits are still tied up in the approval process. I don’t know about you, but I probably wouldn’t–especially in this economy–spend $40 for one pass to an event that has yet to announce a lineup.

Rasmussen claims he was Unwritten Law, but it’s not on their Myspace calender. Even if it was, Unwritten Law isn’t exactly gonna bring legions of festival goers on a weekend when there is so much more to do. Rasmussen also claims he’s got local bands 8Stops7 and Le Meu Le Purr locked in but word is Le Meu will be on a summer long hiatus and that when they were contacted about the event they were asked to sell tickets. They declined.

Bombay Bar & Grill told someone from VCReporter that they will NOT take part in the event, yet being one of the likeliest participating venues, one wonders who exactly are these 18 venues he told me he has on board. The Ventura Theatre says they’re not one of them.

Rather than a who’s who in local music, the California Music Fest is beginning to seem like a “who’s not.”  The deeper I look, the muddier the picture gets and the Web site is like a Where’s Waldo of red flags and warning signs.

Then there’s the financial risk. I don’t how Rasmussen is getting funded, but there are zero sponsors listed on the Web site. The city told me that permits alone are estimated to cost him between $6,000 and $8,000. Add to that the cost of paying the bands on a holiday weekend and the whole thing begins to look implausible.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a music “festival” downtown. I’d love the Reporter to be involved in something like this. But . . . things are just not adding up.

Stay tuned . . .

May 7, 2009

Rey Fresco sells out

This band is getting the big push and I’ve been reluctant to believe the hype, but with a little help from their friends, they managed to sell out the Ventura Theater last weekend. This clip really captures their energy and their signature coastal Cali sound.

May 7, 2009

In search of a music columnist and some people’s chutzpah (or lack thereof)

A not-so-funny joke in our editorial offices is that everyone thinks they can write. When you tell people you’re a writer, they almost inevitably respond with “Oh, I write too.” When someone tells me they’re a hairdresser, I don’t say, “Oh ya, I cut hair too,” just because I make a lame attempt every now and then to trim my bangs.

I don’t mind so much if everyone fancies himself a writer, but when I’m looking to fill a freelance position at the paper and I get responses from people who are “passionate about writing,” I feel the need to swallow a bottle of Tums, because most “real” writers loathe it. At least until a piece is done, at which point they are fulfilled. It’s like childbirth, the pain is quickly forgotten.

My latest ad for a LOCAL music columnist went on Craigslist a little more than a week ago and the responses have bordered on shameful. Based on the applicants I’ve encountered in the last six months for various freelance writing positions, I’m not surprised the unemployment rate is as high as it is.

I’ve learned to be very specific in my job postings: “NO Resumes.” “If you don’t have writing samples, you will NOT be considered,” etc.

Despite my best efforts to be clear, I continue to receive responses that consist of an attached resume, no writing sample and often a one-sentence “cover letter”.

Last week I posted an ad on Craigslist for a music columnist. It was detailed and written to weed out the poetry contest types. Good writers, writers with voice and depth and the ability to sift gold from a pan of grit, are a rare breed, especially in this market.My favorite thus far had no resume, no writing sample and read something like this:

“There’s a music scene in Ventura? Is that what the job is about?”

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