The Observatory venues in Santa Ana and San Diego are about to see a brand new era. On Friday, Live Nation announced that they are purchasing the two SoCal concert hotspots just four and a half months after announcing their booking deal with the venue in late December.
Opened in 2011, the original OC venue in Santa Ana formerly owned by by Affliction clothing brand co-owner Courtney Dubar, Courtney Michaelis and promoter Jon Reiser (who opened Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa), came out of the husk of the Galaxy Theater and turned into a dominating force in the live music landscape that crushed every local venue’s booking strategy, including the former House of Blues Anaheim when it had its home in Downtown Disney before upgrading to a venue that’s more than double the size at the Anaheim GardenWalk.
The Observatory’s former talent buyer, Jeff Shuman, shepherded the bookings in OC and its sister venue in San Diego until he was ousted at the end of 2018 when Live Nation announced their booking deal.
When the Weekly spoke to Ben Weedon, COO of Live Nation Clubs & Theatres division of Live Nation back in December, he mentioned that the new bookings for the Observatory (which began peeking into the venue’s calendar in March) would be similar to what fans of the venue have seen in the past but did not indicate the company would be buying the venue anytime soon.
“I don’t see there being a massive change in the booking of either venue,” Weedon said. “You have a large population base that loves all genres of music. So as a result you see there’s plenty of shows to go around so I don’t think it needs to change much in terms of what’s been going to the Observatory and what’s been going to the House of Blues.”
Dubar said in a release sent out by the new owners of Observatory that he was “pleased with Live Nation’s plans for these two amazing venues,” and added that the “great buildings with great fan bases in two extraordinary musical markets” were in “good hands.”