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 . . .

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9 Responses to “Cal Music Fest: Will It Or Won’t It?”

  1. Very interesting Michel, I’m going to have to agree with you. Big event, lots of pressure…Hmmm. Can he pull it off? Not looking real good.

  2. Sounds like the organizer is over his head but instead of bashing him why not help him out and be a little more positive.

    • I am not a pr rep, I’m a journalist. My job is to uncover, discover, inform and entertain. This is a blog. It is not a newspaper. As I said, I am absolutely in favor of a music festival in downtown Ventura. Had this organizer not been misleading about the event’s progress or made outlandish claims, I would have been more inclined to build up his efforts.

      • Thank you for uncovering the mystery as to why my band never heard back from Rasmussen to confirm a scheduled date and time for us to perform. I paid money on SonicBids to apply for this gig and was going to cancel my vacation to Hawaii for the 4th of July. Now I know the truth and won’t wonder why I was selected to perform but lost contact with Rasmussen. He just simply vanished, no response back from my reply accepting the gig he offered to me … just leaving me on a limb … not very professional.

  3. you were right on mimici06. the fest was a major scam!

  4. Good call mimici06. The Fest was a total flop! No attendance, no organization, no professionalism & broken promises. Every exhibitor and band is pissed! Some exhibitors have started a petition to get their money back.

    Some bands ie “Hectors Revenge” had to pay to play in front of 5 people and those 5 people were usually the next band waiting to perform. Many venues and bands backed out completely. The lineup wasn’t even posted until a week before and kept changing up to the day of the event. Some bands drove all the out only to find out the venue wouldn’t even let them set up because no one was there.

    Mark and Phil may have vision but they have no heart and no idea of what they are doing. What kind of people ask bands to pay $15 to submit for a “chance” to play (they said over 700 bands submitted) 15×700 = $10,500. They said over 150 bands were playing. Not even close! Most of the lineup had bands playing both days. Can you say SCAM!???

    Last thing, charging $45 for two day tickets was a joke! Anyone under 21 got ripped off since you had to be over 21 to enter any of the indoor venues. WTF???

  5. My name is Allen Aue,I own an on-premise winery in Old Town Camarillo
    where we help clients create their own wines and labels, along with
    offering supplies for the home wine and beer maker. I was a vendor at
    this years ‘California Music Fest’ and must say: It was the absolutely
    worst managed and organized event I’ve ever had to do business with. Not
    only that, but I feel that I was severely mislead (if not down-right lied
    to) about ticket sales, access to the event, and music line-up.

    Regarding ticket sales, how could they have sold 2500 tickets on-line
    (which is one of the numbers I was told) when that option was never
    available on-line? And there were never more that 50 – 100 people at the
    mission park event at any given time?

    And access to the event? When I was first considering buying a vendor
    space at the event, Lori, one of the Music Fest Reps, told me that all of
    the people who were going to the Ventura Street Fair would have access to
    our booths. This was a bald-face lie. We had no access to the public
    whatsoever.

    Music Line-Up? Who’s going to pay $40 for an event that has no
    headliners? By the end of day two, they’d simply stopped charging people,
    and people still didn’t come to the event. They’d promised us many
    well-known bands when we’d first bought our booth space.

    I’ve since received an email from Lori, apologizing profusely and telling
    me that she was also lied to about the aforementioned topics. I’m hoping
    that with that transcript, along with all the other saved emails I have of
    other promises that were never delivered on, I may have a chance at a
    refund, although I very much doubt it.

    I feel other business owners need to discover how poorly ran this
    organization is so that they don’t have to experience the displeasure of
    doing business with them.

    Allen Aue
    Owner ~ Squashed Grapes
    805.384.9721

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