Majestic Ventura Theatre ‘Back On Track’ After Thomas Fire Benefit

UPDATE: The Majestic Ventura Theatre‘s Roni Osmer provided Pollstar the following update after the venue hosted a benefit for those affected by the Thomas Fire in Southern California:

“Things are back on track.  Chicano Batman was sold out, our 1st show in December since the fires had us postpone everything.  The band, and their fans brought in quite a few donations, which were greatly appreciated.  Our re-scheduled Dwight (Yoakam) show is moving right along, it’s this Thursday.  

“Hopefully more people will come out and buy tickets.  We lost quite a bit of income, as you can imagine.  Hopefully we can get some great shows in this year to help offset the losses.  We raised lots of money, and toys, and much needed personal items for the fire victims at our benefit on December 22nd.”

Previously: (posted Dec. 17). 

The Thomas fire, a massive blaze in Southern California that has taken 259,000 acres and two lives, came as close to two blocks away from the Majestic Ventura Theatre, which had to postpone most of its December events and is hosting a Dec. 22 benefit for those affected.  

California Fires
AP Photo / Noah Berger
– California Fires
California Wildfires Firefighters light backfire while trying to keep a wildfire from jumping Santa Ana Rd. near Ventura, Calif.

“The fires actually came as close as two blocks from the venue,” the Majestic Ventura Theatre’s Roni Osmer told Pollstar. “(The venue’s) Loanne (Wullaert)’s house in Ojai came really close to burning, and my whole apartment building where I lived for 12 years burned to the ground. Luckily for me I had just moved in August.

“We have had to postpone all of our holiday party rentals and concerts for December so far, with exception of Chicano Batman on the 29th,” Osmer said. ”Dwight Yoakam has been kind enough as well to move his date with us to January 4th. We have been completely devastated from this fire and terrible lingering smoke, but we will get through it.”

The Thomas fire has been declared the third-largest in California history. It has so far taken 259,000 acres according to CNN, fueled by strong winds, and taken the lives of two people.

Winds have pushed the fire toward Santa Barbara, with tens of thousands of additional evacuations ordered Saturday.

“I woke up this morning to watch the fires, as they are currently evacuating in my hometown of Santa Barbara,” the venue’s Loanne Wullaert told Pollstar. “The fire has devastated 1,009 structures and damaged 240 to date, with 18,000 currently in danger.

“I spent the first night of the fire at the fairgrounds helping with the evacuation of hundred of horses and animals while watching the city of Ventura go up in flames before my eyes. I left at 3:30am because I had to evacuate our rescue dogs to the theater as Ojai was under siege by fire, and my house was surrounded in a day or so,” Wullaert said.

“The 805 community has really pulled together to help each other right now, and moving the Dwight show has allowed us to organize many things, such as 805Arise, which consists of people from the Theater, The Ones to Watch out of Santa Barbara, and some other local music organizations.

The Majestic Ventura Theater
– The Majestic Ventura Theater

“Our charity is to assist people who have lost residences, vehicles, and have incurred costs due to this tragic event. And to help animals, because we are huge animal advocates. We will also be doing an instrument and art exchange for persons who lost instruments and tools for their art, as well as a furniture drive. We have been very fortunate in that many agents have offered help with donations from tickets, and Chicano Batman is sending out a list to their fan club to bring donations to our show,” Wullaert said.

“The fire happened extremely fast, obviously still going, and projected now to continue through February. For many the focus is on the children during the holiday season, and housing. Dave Rat from Rat Sound Systems has taken in our employees who lost homes, and I am doing the Sing A Long Toy Drive on the 22nd to provide toys, stockings, and hopefully some normalcy for a day and night.

“We will be also taking donations for the family of Cory Iverson, the firefighter who lost his life due to a burn over. It has been heartbreaking on so many levels. The plan after the holidays is to look at the long term recovery process and begin building there, as well as to prepare for what is yet to come, including rains, flooding and landslides. We hope our industry friends will continue to help us, as it will take a very long time to rebuild the community we love and call home, and nothing brings people together more than music.”

Majestic Ventura Theatre is a historic live concert venue in the city’s downtown built in the 1920s in the style of the great movie palaces. It was declared a landmark by the city in 1976 and in 1986 was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Majestic Ventura Theatre has shows in the coming months including Ministry, Eric Johnson, and Flogging Molly.