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A historic outdoor music venue is back in business after the stage was destroyed in Woolsey wildfire

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Caroline Feraday
/
KCLU
Albert and the Dreamboats play at the Peter Strauss Ranch at the Tiny Porch Concert

The Peter Strauss Ranch in the Conejo Valley once hosted Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.

Local band Albert and his Dreamboats are playing on stage in a natural amphitheater in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Imagine the Hollywood Bowl - but much smaller and with better parking. This is the Peter Strauss Ranch – where country legends Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson performed in the 1950s.

It’s also hosted the regular fundraisers – Tiny Porch Concerts for years, that was until the historic stage burned down in the Woolsey wildfire of November 2018. Then the pandemic in 2020 put a pause on live music events.

This weekend, the venue came alive again, and hosted the first Tiny Porch Concert since the stage burned down.

It's good to be back, said organizer Mike Corridori.

"It's kind of surreal, we have not been here since 2018 - of course the stage burned down and there was a lot of damage from the Woolsey Fire.

"It took a lot of perseverance, we hung tight and did a lot of live streams and things like that and we finally got the National Park to sign off on a rebuild of the stage here and it feels really good."

The event is free to attend, and the non-profit raises funds to hold the concert series – and contributes to the Santa Monica Mountain Fund.

"The money that we raise goes into the production - we pay our artists, same thing with the sound company, we put on a professional show.

"We have money left at the end of the year and that goes to the Santa Monica Mountain Fund," said Corridori.

Charlotte Parry, the executive director of the Santa Monica Mountain Fund, told KCLU that the money raised is invested in protecting our natural environment.

"We grew 50,000 plants and had them planted in the park," said Parry.

"We brought 21,000 kids to the Park, 4th graders, many of them from title one schools, to experience nature in the National Park, many for the first time.

"We cleared 25 miles of trails. We also contributed 91,000 hours of work to the Santa Monica Mountains National Parks Service here. That's the equivalent of 43 full time people."

Those attending the event were certainly happy to be back at the unique and rustic venue.

"I live in the area and when the fire came through it was devastating," one concert-goer told KCLU. "That we can come here and celebrate it - is great."

"There's not a bad seat in the house," another added.

The next Tiny Porch Concert takes place at the Peter Strauss Ranch on Sunday July 10th.