Ventura: SoCal’s “Best Kept Secret” Music Destination

The United States’ 4th largest music scene boasts hotspot after hotspot full of lively tunes – some local, many free, and all a guaranteed treat for the discerning ear

When thinking of ultimate music destinations, Ventura’s laid-back beaches and sprawling farmland may not be what comes to mind – but it should be.

According to a 2007 study by the Martin Prosperity Institute, Ventura has the 4th highest concentration of music industry in the United States, following only the big three; Nashville, Los Angeles and New York. Whether the desired scene is a local band playing up a storm in one of the rockin’ eateries or wine bars on Main Street, a concert at the retro Majestic Ventura Theater or a lively festival at the famous Ventura County Seaside Park & Fairgrounds, there are sweet sounds mingling with the ocean breezes just about every night of the week.

Ventura Haunts with Live Music

First up we have the local talent – Ventura is a treasure trove of taverns, bars and saloons that showcase live music on a nightly basis.

The Majestic Ventura Theater

26 South Chestnut Street, Ventura CA 93001

Features live music from big name artists nightly. Check online calendar or contact box office for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 653-0721


185 East Santa Clara Street, Ventura CA 93001

Features live music nightly. Check online calendar for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 652-1137

Watermark Restaurant & W2O Lounge

598 East Main Street, Ventura CA 93001

Features live music Tuesday-Saturday in the W20 Lounge and the main dining room from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 643-6800

Beach House Tacos

668 Harbor Blvd, Ventura CA 93001

Features live music Saturday and Sunday. Bands start to play at 12 p.m. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 648-3177

El Rey Cantina

294 East Main Street, Ventura CA 93001

Features live (local) music Thursday through Saturday evenings. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 653-1111

Margarita Villa

1567 Spinnaker Dr, Ventura CA 93001

Features live music weekly. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 654-7906

Andres Wine & Tapas Bar

1575 Spinnaker Dr, Ventura CA 93001

Features live music on weekends. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 642-9463

Bombay Bar & Grill

143 S. California Street, Ventura CA 93001

Features live local music Sunday through Thursday. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 643-4404

Amigos Surf Cantina

546 East Main Street, Ventura CA 93001

Features live music nightly. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 874-2232

Good Bar & Grill

533 Main Street, Ventura CA 93001

Features free live music nightly. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 642-9951

Café Fiore

66 California Street, Ventura CA 93001

Features live music nightly from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 653-1266

Billy O’s

2819 East Main Street, Ventura CA 93001

Features live music nightly. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 652-0327

Keynote Lounge

10245 Telephone Road, Ventura CA 93004

Features live music nightly. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 647-9390

The Tavern

211 East Santa Clara Street, Ventura CA 93006

Features live music Thursday through Saturday. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 643-3264

Red Room at Peirano’s

204 East Main Street, Ventura CA 93001

Features live music on weekends (occasionally mid-week). Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 648-4853

Rhumbline Restaurant

1510 Anchors Way Drive, Ventura CA 93001

Features live (often acoustic guitar or piano-based) music on a weekly basis. Contact for upcoming performance schedule & events.

(805) 642-1200

Sandbox Coffeehouse

204 East Thompson Blvd, Ventura CA 93001

Features live music Saturday and Sunday with an open mic every Thursday evening. Contact for upcoming schedule & events.

(805) 641-1025

Festivals and Special Events

Ventura’s special events and festivals feature everything from popular local talent to international stars – the result? Stand out shows that make Ventura a destination for first-class performances.

Ventura Music Festival

May 2-11, Recurring each May

Various venues around Ventura, CA

Lead by violinist & conductor Nuvi Mehta, the Ventura Music Festival offers an annual dose of world-class performers and eclectic programming. The festival focuses on a specific theme each year, amplified by Mehta’s diverse choice of artists and repertoire and highlighted during concert talks, lectures and interviews.

(805) 648-3146

Steel Drums at Ventura Harbor Village

Saturdays, July & August, 1:00–4:00 p.m.

Steel drums bring tropical tunes to Ventura each Saturday this summer while patrons shop, dine or relax in the village starting July 7th.

(805) 477-0470

Ventura CityFest

3rd Saturday of Each Month

651 East Thompson Blvd, Ventura CA 93001

CityFest is a once monthly celebration of everything local in Ventura County. Held at Plaza Park in Downtown Ventura, VCF features the best of music, food, art and shopping from local businesses each month. Each month new up-and-coming musicians as well as local favorites will play live on the CityFest Pavillion Stage.

(805) 233-7594

The Concert Series at the Winery

Saturday & Sundays, May 18-September

4517 Market Street, Ventura CA 93003

Before the concert, relax and enjoy a wine tasting and visual art exhibit. Tickets are $14.95 in advance or $20 at the door, and dinner show tickets are $26.95 in advance or $32 at the door. Contact for more information and reservations.

(800) 350-7787

“Rock of Vintages” at Four Brix Wines

May 24-27

2290 Eastman Avenue, Ventura CA 93003

Experience this one-of-a-kind four-day celebration of wine and music this Memorial Day weekend. Drink wine from 8 great local wineries and wonderful live music in the wine cellars once the sun goes down. Contact for more information and reservations.

(805) 256-6006

BBQ Series at iconic Pierpont Inn

Thursdays, May 30-TBD, 5:00-8:00 p.m.

550 Sanjon Road, Ventura CA 93001

All ages, family-friendly and FREE local music featured at Ventura’s own Pierpont Inn on Thursday evenings during the summer. Contact for more information.

(805) 643-6144

Ventura Music Week

June 7-16, 2013

Ventura’s 3rd annual music week returns to put on display the best Ventura has to offer. The 10-day “week” will host 100 bands in 30 venues and a plethora of rockin’ events, from screenings of indie music industry films to local band album releases to wine-and-jazz nights at the Grape, culminating in a huge festival dedicated to the late, great Johnny Cash. Contact for more information and specific event schedules.

(805) 641-1090

“A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash” Festival at Seaside Park Ventura

Saturday, June 15, 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

10 West Harbor Boulevard, Ventura CA

Southern California’s best and biggest recurring rockabilly/outlaw country/Man in Black music festival, featuring a classic car showcase, pinup girl pageant, 15 stellar musical acts and more. General admission is $25 and available online.

(805) 558-1618

Vans Warped Tour at Seaside Park Ventura

Sunday, June 23, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

10 West Harbor Boulevard, Ventura CA

Rock music’s traveling summer festival comes to Ventura featuring 100’s of various sub-genres of rock bands as well as extreme sports demonstrations and pop-culture entertainment. Tickets are $35 and are available online.

Island Packers Dinner Cruises

Select Saturdays, June 29-October 26, 6:30-9:00 p.m.

1691 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura CA

Tickets are available for cruises from Ventura Harbor with Island Packers through October on select Saturdays. Relax and enjoy live music and savor food from local Ventura restaurants and cruise through Ventura Harbor and the Ventura Keys. Fare is $56 (adult), $52 (senior 55+) or $43 (child 12 & under) respectively. Contact for performance information and menu.

(805) 642-1393

“Music under the Stars” at the historic Olivas Adobe

Saturdays, July 13-September 7, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

4200 Olivas Park Drive, Ventura CA

Dine, dance & delight to great performances at Ventura’s most historic party site. Put on your dancing shoes and listen to top recording artists perform irresistible sets of music. Concerts sell out regularly so make reservations ahead of time. Seats are $20. Contact for more information and reservations.

(805) 658-4726

Concert Series at the Ventura County Fair

Wednesday, July 31-Sunday, August 11, 11:00 a.m.-11 p.m.

10 West Harbor Boulevard, Ventura CA

Featuring various music acts in the afternoons and evenings for the duration of the Ventura County Fair. Price is included with admission to county fair. General admission tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for seniors and children. Children under age 5 admitted free.

“Blues and BBQ” Festival at Mission Park

Sunday, September 22, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

East Main & Figueroa, Ventura CA 93001

Bring blues, chairs and blankets to this family friendly event. Sample amazing BBQ from teams from all over the state and get marinated by an amazing Blues lineup with Ana Popovic, Carolyn Wonderland and local Blues/Funk band the Bomb. Admission is $30, tickets available online. Contact for more information.

(805) 351-5650

Pier under the Stars

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Beachfront Promenade near the Ventura Pier

A food and wine tasting benefit for the Ventura Pier featuring live music and dancing under the stars. Ticket prices include food and wine tastings plus complimentary parking and a commemorative glass. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Pier under the Stars website (see below).

(805) 797-7544

Ventura Hillsides Music Festival

2013 date TBA

Arroyo Verde Park, Ventura CA

Championed by the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy, for 10 years the Hillsides Music Festival has celebrated the Conservancy’s goal of acquiring and reclaiming land in Ventura County. This intimate festival provides an avenue for families and friends to raise money for a good cause while enjoying a great musical lineup each year. Dates for 2013 have not been announced yet, so keep an eye out.

(805) 643-8044

All this and more can be found on any given evening in Ventura. No matter the budget, taste, or desired vibe of the music lover in question, the city’s music scene has a good fit for their ear. For information on specific concert schedules, events or venues, click-through above to each venue’s respective websites.

For information on Ventura accommodations, attractions and events visit or phone 800-483-6215. A non-profit organization, the Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau enhances tourism and the economy by positioning the City of Ventura as a visitor and conference destination. The Visitors Center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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