By Jacob Sykes
On Soledad Canyon Road going north towards Acton, there’s not a lot of action. There are corpses of trees along the sides of the windy canyon road, dotted with the occasional trailer park.
But, inside one of those pseudo forests is one of the most interesting pieces of property in the Santa Clarita Valley.
As if the dense trees aren’t disorienting enough, the sound of rushing water on the property makes it feel less like a desert or more like an oasis. Further into the trees are strange bungalow structures abandoned by movie production teams lending an even more mysterious aura.
This picturesque piece of land is a filming location first and foremost, mostly B-rated horror movies with names like Reunion of Terror and Dead, Undead. Larger productions take place here too, such as NCIS which shot scenes on the property, and several music videos for famous rap artists were filmed there as well.
But, something much, much louder takes place on the property certain weekends throughout the year, sometimes for 2 to 3 days at a time, music courses through the valley. And it’s all thanks to the son of the property owner, 23-year-old Chris Colley.
“I’m a punk kid, and so is my dad but he’s like 50,” said Colley. “I’ve got no problem letting other creatives my age use the property for a little fun. I’ve been booking shows on the property for a little over 2 years now.”
Over the past few years Colley’s space has hosted to a multitude of do-it-yourself shows, put on by a local production crew called Children of the Moon with the help of the musicians involved. Even with the remote location these parties are well attended.
“We’ve capped some of those events at around 300 people,” said Colley. “But nothing has ever gotten too out of hand. Parking is usually the biggest issue.”
They call these events “mini-fests,” but even with the large attendance, police haven’t been an issue.
“It’s been like 2 years since we’ve had the police come out for a noise complaint,” said Colley. “Every event is sort of morphed a little bit. We put the sound in different directions so we don’t have that issue anymore.”
These miniature festivals take time and effort to plan, but Colley is well equipped with mechanical, audio, stage managing and roadie knowledge having been on the production staff of festivals like SoCal Psycheout.
“We’ve had generators go out on us, speakers catch fire and floods the day before concerts,” said Colley. “But, we’ve never had anything that completely stopped a show.”
Colley began in the production scene by providing a much needed service to low budget festivals around California.
“I started off renting a generator out,” said Colley. “It was extremely stressful so I decided to get involved in other ways. And I’ll never rent that generator out again.”
Some of these other ways include stage managing for twelve hours straight, or building a stage from scrap wood around the property.
There’s already one show planned at the property this year, an album release party for the local psychedelic powerhouse Odd Ours. Even still, there is more to come.
When he’s not booking shows, Colley works as a live visual artist for Stranger Liquids, a loose collective that provides a 60’s style psychedelic light show for bands across the Los Angeles area and beyond.
“We went all across the midwest with some L.A. bands,” said Colley. “It wasn’t all fun and games though, us visual guys were always the first in the venue and the last to leave.”
A whimsical property off of the beaten path would never be expected to be the home of such a treasure trove of entertainment. It’s clear Colley’s passions lie in music and the continuation of the D.I.Y. culture in Santa Clarita and everyone can agree that this unique man is helping to keep the SCV just as unique as he is.
“I’m just a guy that likes a good time,” said Colley. “I’ll help out in any way I can to make that happen.”