For their second noteworthy Southern California exclusive booking agreement of December, Live Nation announced a deal Friday with the Observatory clubs in Santa Ana and San Diego.
“As we continue to grow our venue portfolio throughout Southern California, we’re able to provide artists with even more stages to connect with their fans; and Observatory venues have a lot of offer,” said Ben Weeden, COO of Live Nation Clubs & Theatres, in a statement.
Courtney Dubar, a managing member of the Observatory entities, called the agreement “a win-win for concertgoers in both markets and all the artists coming to town.”
Formerly known as the Galaxy, new ownership took over the rundown Santa Ana venue in 2011 and rechristened it the Observatory, overhauling everything from the interior’s aesthetic to the sound and lighting rigs. A second, 300-capacity venue, the Constellation Room, was also added within the Observatory. The 1,000-capacity Observatory has become a favorite stop for rising hip-hop acts, with Joey Bada$$ and Juice WRLD selling out the venue with grosses of $25,000 and $40,000 in May and July, respectively.
In 2015, the Observatory team acquired North Park Theatre, built in 1929, revamped the venue and renamed it Observatory North Park. The establishment, which usually holds 1,100 but can be scaled down to a 550-capacity seated configuration, has been successful: In September, Greta Van Fleet grossed $43,450 with a sellout, while Queens of the Stone Age raked in $121,000 across two sold-out nights in March.
Earlier this month, Live Nation announced an exclusive booking deal with the Majestic Ventura Theater in Ventura, California. Together with the Observatory agreements, Live Nation’s Clubs & Theatres division has greatly increased its presence in Southern California in a matter of days — which is part of a larger strategy.
“To give you some perspective, in the last year alone, we’ve added 10 venues, which is just an incredible number,” Rob Bension, President of Live Nation Clubs & Theatres, told Pollstar earlier this month. “I think we’ve kind of reinvented the service aspect of this business. We really have focused our energies on not only building the best-in-class venues but providing the best-in-class fan and band service.”