Isla Vista residents will have the chance the learn about cheaper housing options and listen to live music this Saturday as the Santa Barbara Student Housing Cooperative hosts its second annual “Co-opula” concert.
Organizers said they expect to draw roughly 200 people to the free festivities, which will stretch from 12:30 to 10 p.m. in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park. Co-op executive director Kara Nordstrom said the Santa Barbara Housing Co-op is holding the event to inform locals about the existence of affordable housing options that the organization provides in the area. She said any money raised at the event, through donations or merchandise sales, will eventually be used to purchase another house to accommodate the growing demand for housing in I.V.
The event includes 10 local bands — including Hairbrain Scheme, The Kissing Tigers, Cellar Door and Iron Maiden cover band Maiden Japan — as well as jugglers, dance ensembles, a bounce house, food, a flea market and a raffle.
“It’s a fundraiser and it also raises awareness and advocacy for the co-op,” Nordstrom said. “We just wanted to say we’re small, but we’re here … and we want to get people psyched up about really good bands.”
Nordstrom said the event will cost between $1,500 and $2,000 to put on.
The nonprofit Santa Barbara Student Housing Co-op includes four houses in Isla Vista. Members of each house collectively pay the wholesale cost of rent and food each month and coordinate the management of household chores and cooking.
Nordstrom said the co-ops have been saving money to purchase a new house for over a year and said the additional space is needed to accommodate the high number of people who want to join the organization.
“Out ultimate goal is to buy a house in the next year so nobody will be turned down,” Nordstrom said. “We have 50 people on the waitlist and we can only house half of them.”
Nordstrom said the Co-opula event is co-sponsored by the I.V. Food Co-op, the I.V. Tenants Union, KCSB and the Pink Mailbox, an alternative housing development.
Co-op resident and KCSB chief engineer Bryan Brown said the event has helped encourage the growth of local cooperative housing.
“We want to do this every year,” Brown said. “We’ve never really had a presence like this in the community.”
Nordstrom said the concert is the only method the co-op uses to let the general public know about its existence. She said last year’s concert was half the length and had half the bands, and only attracted around 100 people.
“We don’t advertise, so the only way we get people here is through word of mouth,” she said. “We want people who want to be more involved and live consciously … The co-op has a lot to offer students who want an alternative to slumlords and high rent, and people that live in the co-op are among the most progressive-minded and active people in I.V.”
Nordstrom said the idea for a concert began as co-op members became increasingly involved in the local music scene, particularly those members who had musical groups of their own.
“The bands that are playing are all student and all local,” she said. “About half of them are co-op people, or friends of co-op people.”