Just four months shy of its 10th anniversary, the Living Room concert venue in Goleta will be forced to close its doors indefinitely.
Located at 430 S. Fairview Ave., in the Airport Plaza, the alcohol- and drug-free venue will need to clear out so that the property owner, ORIX Equity Development of Chicago, can erect a large office complex on the site. On Jan. 11 the owners of the Living Room teamed up with KCSB 91.9 FM.
“The main purpose was to raise visibility,” co-founder Larry Mills said. “And we did make a splash with coverage by Channel 12, KJEE, the Independent and others. We also had concerned parents rallying the troops and talking to Santa Barbara City officials.”
About 350 people attended the show, which featured over 17 local bands. Throughout the day, speakers voiced the necessity of having a place like the Living Room for the local youths to enjoy.
Mills also created the Drug Alternative Nights and Counseling Events organization to sponsor the weekly events held at the Living Room and inform local youths of sober social options in this area.
Also involved in the fight to save the Living Room is KCSB staff member Ted Coe, who has been attending Living Room functions for the last nine years.
“I’ve really seen kids grow up there,” Coe said. “People need to know that the Living Room is a positive outlet for people who just want to see music. It’s not just a place where half the people there are looking for a keg. It doesn’t disrespect [the kids] just because they’re young.”
Besides the more prominent acts like The Vandals, AFI, the International Noise Conspiracy, Aceyalone and The Damned that have played in the Living Room, the space is available for anyone to put on an event. Some of these community events have included Spanish dances and movie nights. Profits from events pay for rent, maintenance and paying the bands.
“Think of us as an umbrella providing space, sound equipment and security for your function,” Mills said. “The Living Room is not just a place for someone to attend, but for their use, as well. It’s a great opportunity for clubs and organizations to hold events.”
Though Mills had held a temporary lease with Airport Plaza for three years, eventual plans to move to a vacant Metropolitan Theater fell through when the lease was re-signed. Mills and his co-founder John Lyons stand in limbo, unable to book shows on their week-to-week lease.
‘It’s difficult to book acts if you don’t know whether you’re going to be there,” Mills said. “And I don’t want to raise money until I can point to a place.”
Coe said the next step, after the benefit show, is to grab the communities. Some of the options suggested have included petitions throughout the cities of Goleta and Santa Barbara, seeking some sort of tax incentive, or having either city sign onto a lease as a co-signer.
“Right now a campaign is slowly getting started,” Coe said. “We’re hoping to get thousands of signatures, but there are creative ways to solve this and lots of fundraising options.”
If a space can be located in the coming weeks, another benefit show will likely take place that will include local punk band Lagwagon.
In the meantime, Mills said he and other organizers are working diligently to save the nonprofit Living Room.
“There’s no place to even store our stuff,” Mills said. “I’ve talked to both mayors and they’ve said, ‘Anything we can do to help,’ but they’ve got their own problems.”
“Writing letters is really useful,” Coe said. “Write to Gail Marshall, the city of Goleta and Santa Barbara. There might be foundation money out there, or some help from the activist or philanthropic groups in the community. Right now we’re putting energy and resources into convincing the importance of this venue to everyone.”
People interested in helping the Living Room can e-mail Ted Coe at and John Lyons at .