Friday, June 17, 2011

Santa Barbara County Bowl

Built with Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds in 1936 as part of F.D.R.'s New Deal, the County Bowl's first three and half decades saw it used primarily as a performance venue for the Santa Barbara's annual Old Spanish Days, more popularly known as Fiesta, with an occasional concert thrown in here and there. In the early seventies, promoter Sepp Donahower, one of the principals (along with Marc Chase and John Van Hamersveld) of the legendary Pinnacle Dance Concerts company, initiated its renaissance; he relates: " While running Pacific Presentations (the precurser of Avalon Attractions) and doing shows at UCSB and the Arlington Theatre in the early 70's in Santa Barbara, I stumbled on to the old County Bowl that was used once a year for Old Spanish Days Fiesta. I had became friends with Barton Clap, the manager of the Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club and the head of The Old Spanish Days Fiesta Organization, who asked if I was interested in doing shows in the old County Bowl. The first time I walked into the Santa Barbara County Bowl, it was overgrown with weeds and needed its annual cleaning before the Fiesta. I immediately saw it as one magic venue. We immediately made a deal to produce the shows there and started rolling them in.......The Band, Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, and on and was now on the map and loved by all.

After Pacific morphed into Avalon and I went on hiatus, Avalon continued with it for awhile but eventually it ended up under the control of some local promoters," who eventually negotiated a deal with Nederlander.

I am still proud of opening that venue up.....It is a one great venue."

(PP) denotes Pacific Presentations promotions

(County Bowl photo courtesy of Alan Case)

??/??/1960's(?): The Kingston Trio*

??/??/1960's(?): Louis Armstrong*

??/??/1961 or 62(?)  Jimmy Rodgers, The Righteous Brothers

July/??/1963(?): Peter, Paul and Mary*

July 2, 1966: The Beach Boys, Sir Douglas Quintet, The Association

April 22, 1970: Jethro Tull

October 15, 1972: Poco, It's a Beautiful Day, Wild Rose

October ??, 1973: Beach Boys, Jesse Colin Young

August 17, 1974: Boz Scaggs, Weather Report, Batdorf & Rodney

October 13, 1974: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders

April 20, 1975: Joe Walsh, Kingfish (PP)

May 11, 1975: Jackson Browne, Phoebe Snow (PP)

May 26, 1975: Jefferson Starship (PP)

June 8, 1975: Van Morrison, Tom Scott & The L.A. Express (PP)

June 28, 1975: Seals & Crofts, Batdorf & Rodney (PP)

August 3, 1975: Average White Band, Kokomo (PP)

August 17, 1975: Jesse Colin Young, Emmylou Harris (PP)

September 3, 1975: Loggins & Messina, Fairport Convention (PP)

September 14, 1975: David Crosby & Graham Nash (PP)

October 4, 1975: Three Dog Night, Beau Brummels (PP)

October 25, 1975: Uriah Heep, Spirit

April 3, 1976: Loggins & Messina, Cecilio & Kapono (PP)

April 11, 1976: Marshall Tucker Band, Little Feat (PP)

April 24, 1976: Peter Frampton, Gary Wright, Brecker Brothers (PP)

May 16, 1976: Elvin Bishop, Tim Weisberg (PP)

May 31, 1976: Bob Marley & the Wailers, Little Anthony (PP)

June 5, 1976: Leon Russell, Firefall (PP)

June 27, 1976: The Band, Flying Burrito Brothers (PP)

July 18, 1976: Average White Band, Sons of Champlain (PP)

July 25, 1976: Dave Mason (PP)

August 8, 1976: Crosby & Nash (PP)

August 13, 1976: CTI Jazz Festival (PP)

October 5, 1976: Bruce Springsteen (PP)

May 21, 1977: Leo Kottke, Leon Redbone (PP)

May 22, 1977: Jimmy Buffett, Leo Kottke, Leon Redbone (PP)

June 4, 1977: Little Feat (PP)