Lineup announced for “3 O’Clock Fridays” at the Del Mar Racetrack

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The pot-smoking crowd at Ziggy Marley in 2008 (from delmarconcerts via Flikr)

The pot-smoking crowd at Ziggy Marley in 2008 (from delmarconcerts via Flikr)

While the Del Mar Fair San Diego County Fair currenly pumps out “Music Madness” with its chock-full schedule and a dizzying spinning wheel of nightly acts at the Fairgrounds, racing season seems to get lost in the shuffle as June gloom creeps on in Del Mar.

And while seeing Creedence Clearwater Revisited sans John Fogerty and the Marshall Tucker Band sans Toy Caldwell while eating deep fried _________ (fill in the blank) can surely provide enough kicks for one evening, racing fans and concertgoers alike know the real fun begins on July 24 when 3 O’Clock Fridays return to the Del Mar Racetrack with G Love & Special Sauce.

Yes, 3 O’Clock Fridays – where the infield concerts after the day’s races are free with the price of admission, amateur bettors like me pretend to be trained horse racing handicappers, and where the infield beer taps flow like gushing mountain streams.

Del Mar Summer Concert SeriesThis year’s line-up features some great acts, notably the Wailers, the Flaming Lips, Steel Pulse and local alt favorites Pinback. Also, the Roots Rock Reggae Festival closes the series on September 6. And if seeing the bands themselves weren’t reason enough to go, The Lips and the Pulse shows will also feature an all-day Beer Fest in the infield.

The concerts have been notorious for shaking up the “high society” smugness of the typical Racetrack crowd (see the pool scene in Caddyshack for similar re-enactment) and notorious for out-of-control drinking and marijuana smoking. But this year aims to be different, as organizers caved to complaints about too much pot smoking at reggae concerts (who knew?). In response, organizers have banned cigarette smoking at the Fairgrounds and have ensured they will be doing pat-down searches at, and only at, reggae shows. So beware, those of you eyeing that Wailers or Steel Pulse show and trying to stash the lettuce … “The Man” will be watching.

Tickets for this years 3 O’Clock Fridays run at $6 for Stretch Run tickets and $10 for clubhouse seats. The first post is at 3 p.m. and the last of the day at 7 p.m. The concerts follow the last race and are all general admission, taking place on the eastern end of the infield.

2009 Del Mar Summer Concert Series Lineup

July 24- G LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE– Alternative Rock
July 31- THE WAILERS – Reggae
August 7- THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT– Alternative Rock
August 14- COMMON SENSE– Reggae
August 21- PINBACK– Alternative Rock
August 28- SUPER DIAMOND– Neil Diamond Tribute Band
September 4- PETE YORN– Alternative Rock

Saturdays (Infield):

August 15-THE FLAMING LIPS– Alternative Rock
August 22- STEEL PULSE– Reggae


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