The Ventura Hillsides Music Festival

You don’t need to be an environmentalist to know that California’s open spaces are a hot real estate commodity. Flanked by the mountains to the east and the ocean to the west, our beloved Central Coast is among some of the most sought-after land in the mix. So much so, in fact, that the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy has been keeping busy for years just trying to protect it. This Sunday, the conservancy celebrates its efforts (and aims to raise money for future projects) with its seventh annual Ventura Hillsides Music Festival. The all-day event will be held in the picturesque Arroyo Verde Park from 1-5 p.m. and will offer up live music from some of the country’s finest in jazz, rock, and blues. Tickets for the event start at $45, with special discounts available (see below). For more information, call 643-8044 or visit And for more on the fest, check out our reasons to attend.

Keb Mo
Courtesy Photo

1) MO’ FOR YOUR MONEY: In addition to live music from New Orleans’ the Neville Brothers, acclaimed British rocker Dave Mason, and young folkie Jay Nash, the conservancy has scored one coup of a headliner in blues talent Keb’ Mo’. Besides being a whiz at guitar, Mo’ lays claim to one of the most soulful, emotive voices in contemporary music. He’s also currently putting the finishing touches on his follow-up to 2006’s Suitcase, which means the likelihood of hearing some new tunes is mighty high.

2) GO GREEN: Unsurprisingly, the conservancy is boasting 2009’s festival as a truly green event, meaning stages run on biodiesel generators, food packaged and served in biodegradable materials, and on-site recycling and composting efforts. Attendees are encouraged to walk, bike, or carpool in if possible, and the festival is even providing a bike corral for cycle storage. In addition, all festival T-shirts and souvenir-style goodies promise to be 100-percent eco-friendly, so there’s no guilt in taking home a piece of the party.

3) BRING THE KIDS: Also, this year, the conservancy is boasting discounted family packs of tickets. For $150, parents can score two adult general admission tickets, as well as two kids’ tickets. (Tots younger than six are admitted free of charge.) The package offers a solid $30 in savings, and extra children’s tickets can be added on at a discounted price.

4) SUPPORT THE CAUSE: Unlike so many benefit concerts, the proceeds from the Ventura Hillsides Music Fest go directly and completely to the conservancy’s efforts to preserve and protect Ventura’s open spaces. (In other words, your tickets are tax deductible.) And because the whole show takes place outdoors in the hills’ “natural amphitheater,” you do truly get to experience what you’re helping to save.


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