By Jim Walker
The official name has always been The Canyon, though many of us have long-revered the legendary music venue in Agoura Hills as the “Canyon Club.” Well, this fall that labeling issue will be brought much closer to home when The Canyon, Santa Clarita opens at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.
The new club will absorb seven previous business sites, including the former location of the Red Robin restaurant, and the 17,000 square foot facility will offer all of the amenities of the original club: premium dining and a full bar, dinner seating, VIP seating, private rooms, general admission (standing), dancing – and, of course, the finest music, featuring classic big-name artists.
Lance Sterling is the owner of Sterling Ventures, which operates several venues, including The Canyon, The Rose in Pasadena and The Saban in Beverly Hills, and also produces concerts at The Libbey Bowl in Ojai. He is, or has been, involved in numerous other ventures, including the House of Blues and, more recently, CaliBurger.
“We opened The Canyon 20 years ago and we did extremely well,” Sterling said. “You see, our primary demographic is around age 25 to 50, while at some of the larger venues in the L.A. area it is 14 to 25. I realized when we opened House of Blues that people who wanted to see our bands wanted the show to open at nine and they wanted food. It’s the same demographic in the Santa Clarita Valley, and we always talked about opening up a club there.
“We’re more like, ‘What are you doing this weekend?’ Our $20 to $40 tickets compare to your typical restaurant. In fact, anywhere we do well, a restaurant like Wood Ranch will do well. We draw 1,000 people a night, but only feed 200 to 300, so the rest will go to other restaurants in the SCV.”
Sterling noted that the venue owners have developed a great relationship with the City of Santa Clarita – which was a major catalyst in the new club opening in Valencia at this time. “The economic development guys asked if we’d come out, and they drove us through the whole city. They have been very helpful.”
Sterling said The Canyon, Santa Clarita should open in October. In fact, the first act, Get the Led Out, is scheduled for Oct. 5. The schedule will include Robby Krieger, Dishwalla, Queen Nation, Lynch Mob, Eddie Money, The English Beat, Donavon Frankenreiter, Kris Kristofferson, Jefferson Starship, Dokken and many more.
“We may skew a tiny bit younger than Agoura, with Gin Blossoms and others,” he said. “The first year I throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.”
He said that his son, Jake Sterling, lives in the SCV and that Jake will be the one managing the new club. “However, I know Santa Clarita like the back of my hand,” he said. “I coach football and we play Santa Clarita teams.”
He said there will be a CaliBurger opening next door to the club, and open to the interior of the mall. “This will offer a great food option to the general admission guests.”
Tickets will range from $20 to $90, depending on the band. “Dinner is separate, except during the Soulful Sunday Brunch or when we do a murder mystery. All my employees are actors,” he said. Food and drink prices will be the same as at the original Canyon, and the menu includes steaks, fried chicken, salmon, lasagna and much more. Dinner prices will range from $11 to $49. Those eating dinner at The Canyon can enter at 6 p.m., and those not eating dinner come in for the show from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Canyon, Santa Clarita will occupy “the whole back side of the mall near Sears.” The phone number is 888-645-5006. The website is wheremusicmeetsthesoul.com, and there you will find a list of upcoming acts. Tickets can be purchased at the website or by phone and there will be a box office open every day at The Canyon. Tickets can also be purchased through Ticketmaster. Sterling warned that “Scalpers are completely sneaky. Unless you are on our site or the Ticketmaster website, do not purchase. You can always call us to verify.”
Sterling emphasized that local residents will now get great acts without driving in and out of L.A. And he added, “If you sign up on our Facebook page (thecanyonsantaclarita) or join our VIP mailing list through our website we will do a pre-opening party for you.”