Posted: Thursday, Dec 21st, 2023
Celebrate the Rhythm: A Guide to Live Music in Ventura, CA
Guest Blog by Pamela Baumgardner, Ventura Rocks!
As much as Ventura has to offer, you would be short-changing yourself if you didn’t also take in some local live music in Ventura while you’re here. Whether you want to go out for a night of dancing, catch local singer/songwriters, or attend a national touring act at one of our local concert houses, there’s always something going on, and on most days of the week! A hot tip if you’re also a musician, Ventura has lots of venues offering open mics as well.
In Ventura, it’s more difficult to decide which live music act you want to catch here in town rather than where to find one. Ventura’s music, arts, history, and culture scene is nothing short of unique and we know you’ll be tapping your feet the entire time you’re here. Here is your guide to live music in Ventura. Ventura’s live music scene has always been amazing — have fun!
Dance the Night Away
From Downtown Ventura’s The Twist on Main, to the Keynote Lounge on the eastside of town to Margarita Villa at the Ventura Harbor, you’ll be able to dance to some of the best cover bands around. To keep up on who’s playing and when, be sure to check out local resource, VenturaRocks.com which provides a calendar of events so you can map out your evening, week, or month! Or, check out our events calendar to stay up to date on live music in Ventur and other fun events happening in town.
Not into Burning the Midnight Oil
If an early evening sounds more your speed, then your chances at taking in live music and still calling it a day (or night) by 9 pm are high with venues such as The Cave, Leashless Brewing, The Grape‘s happy hour, Four Brix, Tony’s Pizzaria, and more.
Many of these venues offer food onsite or close nearby. Make it a dinner and live music night in Ventura! These early evening gigs make it possible for you to enjoy a night out and be tucked into bed by the time the clock strikes 9 pm. It’s a win-win!
Open Mics in Ventura
Whether you want to just watch or you want to get involved and join in the jam or perform a song or two on your acoustic, there are several open mic nights typically held a on certain night of the week where most venues will provide what they call the backline (if you know you know). Going to open mics in Ventura is a great way to see which up-and-coming artists are in Ventura’s music scene. You never know whose name will be on the billboards next.
Mondays: Big Stuuuu’s Open Mic downtown at the Six from 6 – 11 pm welcomes all amateur performers including guitarists, bass players, horn players, singers, keyboardists, full bands, poets, dancers, and visual artists, excluding comedians.
Tuesdays: Gratitude jazz jam at the Grape from 7 – 10 pm. This one typically has an overflow crowd, so it’s best to get there early
Wednesdays: Bombay Bar and Grill’s ever-popular blues night jam with a full band to kick off the evening runs from 7 – 10 pm
Thursdays: The Boatyard Pub 6:30 – 9 pm offers the finest bluegrass jam in the region! The Keynote Lounge has had an ongoing Open Mic Night on Thursdays from 8 pm to midnight for years.
Every other Thursday: Leashless Brewing singer/songwriter open mic night 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
Saturday mornings: Cool Hand Ukes, a ukelele jam at Harbor Cove Café 10 am–Noon.
Music Festivals and Major Events in Ventura
You might want to plan your trip to Ventura around one of the many festivals that return most years to our fair city. It’s a great way to make a weekend beach getaway even more special. You’ll have more time to explore Ventura’s charming and pedestrian-friendly Downtown shopping area, our family-friendly Ventura Harbor Village, or the trendy up-and-coming neighborhood in Midtown. Plus, you’ll be hard pressed to find a beach vacation with hotel prices as affordable as Ventura.
Skull & Roses (Grateful Dead tributes and more)
Strawberry Festival (variety)
Boots and Brews (country music festival)
Surf Rodeo (rock and more)
Spencer Mackenzie Throwdown Music Festival (rock)
Ventura Music Festival (classical)
Music Under the Stars series (tribute bands)
Tequila Taco Music Festival (Latin Rock, Mariachi, and more)
Ventura County Fair (all genres)
Aloha Beach Festival (island vibe and more)
Seaside Highland Games (Celtic rock)
Pier Under the Stars (classic rock)
National Touring Acts
Securing advance tickets is wise when wanting to catch one of the concerts in Ventura. We have the Majestic Ventura Theater located downtown where Elvis Costello, The Offspring Awolnation, and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real played recently; and then there’s the Ventura Music Hall midtown which has hosted acts such as the Violent Femmes, The Mother Hips, The Descendents and Save Ferris. Each year as well, the Ventura County Fair rolls into town early August where their Grandstand Stage Concerts are included in the price of admission. The last few years saw such acts as Collective Soul, Patti Labelle, Trace Adkins, The Beach Boys, and Cheap Trick!
That’s right— big names find their way into our little beach town and play a concert at one of our amazing concert venues. There are always amazing concerts in Ventura playing during any given weekend in the year. And equally big names also call Ventura their home. Has anyone heard of a little artist called Anderson .Pak?
There is always much to do in Ventura, but also do yourself a favor and include some live music when you visit!
Things to Do
Music & Nightlife
Arts, Culture & History
Beaches & Surfing
Biking & Hiking Trails
Food & Drink
Wineries, Breweries & Distilleries
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