Live Nation Buys Observatory Venues in Orange County, San Diego

Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP
Tove Lo performs at the Observatory on Sept. 29, 2015 in Santa Ana, Calif. 

Live Nation has purchased two of Southern California's top independent venues, Orange County's Observatory and its sister location to the south, the San Diego North Park Observatory.  

Built on the shell of Santa Ana's former Galaxy Theater, the Observatory was first opened in the OC in 2011 by Affliction clothing brand co-owner Courtney Dubar, local business man Courtney Michaelis and promoter Jon Reiser, who had previously been a co-owner in the now-defunct independent Costa Mesa venue Detroit Bar.

The 1,000-capacity venue -- which also holds the smaller, 300-cap Constellation Room -- quickly became one of Orange County's best music clubs, bringing hundreds of national acts to the region that had largely been skipped over for venues in Los Angeles. 

In 2015, Goldenvoice hired the venue's booker Jeff Shulman and took over bookings for the Observatory and the San Diego North Park Observatory, which had opened earlier that year on the site of the old North Park Theatre and West Coast Tavern.  

Late last year, Dubar announced he was changing course, ending his relationship with Goldenvoice and bringing on Live Nation to exclusively book the venue. Now, just four months later, that agreement has evolved to Live Nation purchasing both venues, which staged a combined 740 shows in 2018 (540 in Orange County, 200 in San Diego).

“We are proud to bring both of these popular music halls into our family of great venues throughout Southern California and the country,” said Ron Bension, president of Live Nation clubs & theaters, in a press release. “Both observatories have a strong fan base in their respective markets and offer great musical experiences. We’re looking forward to continuing that tradition.”

Dubar added 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.”