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Rocking for the ranch

Activists present musical benefit to raise awareness of potential development at Banning Ranch, a concept they oppose.

August 16, 2008|By Michael Miller

COSTA MESA — Marc B took the stage at eVocal Saturday night looking like one of the young Beach Boys — shaggy blond hair that spilled around a tank top, blue jeans and flip-flops. Fittingly, he started his set with a song about the California coast.

It wasn’t a surfing anthem, though. Marc was the first artist on the bill at eVocal’s benefit show for the Save the Banning Ranch Task Force, and the song’s chorus had what sounded like an environmental message: “The California coast/The California coast/To me, it means the most, yeah/But to you, does it mean the same?”

Marc, one of the independent artists recorded and sold by eVocal, joked throughout his set that all his songs were “about friendship.” Still, even though the lyrics may have run the gamut of subject matters, the intent of the night was clear enough. Patrons paid $7 at the door, and all proceeds went to the grassroots community group that’s seeking to block development on the 400-acre property adjacent to Costa Mesa.

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“It’s some of the last land we have left, so that’s why we assembled all these people tonight,” Marc said before launching into his first song.

The bill for Saturday night also included Parker Macy Blues, Dolphin City and the Growlers. By 9:30 p.m., with Marc and Macy delivering blistering acoustic sets, dozens of people lined up outside the boutique and art gallery at 814 W. 19th St. It was impossible to tell how many came for the music or for the cause, but the members of the Save the Banning Ranch Task Force present said they hoped to win a new convert or two.

“The message we really want to get out there is that what we want to do is doable,” said Terry Welsh, a volunteer for the task force.

Welsh and other volunteers manned a table behind eVocal with bumper stickers and wristbands for $2 apiece, as well as a Sparkletts water jug that doubled as a donation jar. A series of posters propped against the wall showed a map of Banning Ranch and listed basic facts about the property.

Margaret Royall, who lives in Mesa del Mar, said one of the goals of her group was to make Costa Mesa residents aware of Banning Ranch, which resides against the city’s western boundary.

“I don’t know how many people know where Banning Ranch is, but I’m surprised by the number of people who don’t know,” she said.


MICHAEL MILLER may be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at michael.miller@latimes.com.

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