Plans moving forward to bring summer concert series to Ojai’s Libbey Bowl

by Chris O’Neal

Parties involved in negotiations to bring a summer concert series to Ojai’s Libbey Bowl are hopeful that a deal could be struck soon, one that could result in four shows this summer.

In November 2015, the Ojai City Council tabled a vote on whether or not to give Sterling Venue Ventures, the management company behind The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills and Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, approval to begin booking shows at the Libbey Bowl. The Council expressed concerns that the agreement hadn’t been vetted thoroughly nor had the process been as inclusionary as it should have been.

That all has changed, however, after the plans were sent to an ad hoc committee consisting of Mayor Paul Blatz and Councilmember Randy Haney, who sought input from the community.

Mayor Pro Tem Bill Weirick says that from the study came “positive energy.”

“I think the mood is much more positive because we’ve had a community process,” said Weirick. “We’ve had a workshop with a lot of different perspectives.”

Lance Sterling, owner of Sterling Venue Ventures, says that he’s “ready to do whatever [the city] needs” to reach a deal. Sterling says that, if the Council votes to approve the deal, four shows could be hosted this summer at the Libbey Bowl and that he’s reached out to friends in the entertainment business.

With the summer months fast approaching, Weirick says that “the sooner we can get a contract before Council to look at, the better.”