Entertainment & Events

“Music Mania” hits the 2009 San Diego County Fair

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Del Mar Fairgrounds

There are two things that are very quickly becoming evident in San Diego. One, the music scene is heating up like no other — especially with Rolling Stone doing a full page feature on the city’s music scene — and two, summertime is rapidly creeping up on us. The latter is obvious because the giant Ferris wheel has risen to the west of Interstate 5 which can only mean one thing: the San Diego County Fair has returned. And when you put one and two together, only good things can happen.

The County Fair has been a thriving success in San Diego for over 70 years. Whether it be walking around the trade show floors buying everything that catches your eye, gaining 10 lbs eating corn on the cob and the fried flavor of the year, riding SkyFlyer till you puke up that deep fried goodness, enjoying the concerts, or just plain people watching, there is always something to do at the fair. But there’s always something everyone can enjoy: live music. “Music Mania” will be the theme for this year’s San Diego County Fair.

Linda Zweig, an Information Officer for the SD Fair, thinks the reason people keep coming back year after year is because of, “… the food, the rides, the entertainment, the contests, the concerts, the Flower and Garden show, the great stuff you can buy and I won’t even mention the Fairgrounds itself!

“Location, location, location. It is indeed where the turf meets the surf and nowhere else can you get this much bang for your buck!” she said.

Music Mania

For three weeks, there will bill more than 50 plus concerts, including at least 45 that are free with admission to the fair — which puts the thought in my head that the theme “Music Mania” is starting to become an understatement. Curious as to what brought about the “Music Mania” theme, I asked Zweig about it:

“Everyone loves music and everyone loves the San Diego County Fair so it’s a great fit! 22 days of fun and music and doesn’t get much better than that,” she said.

One of the best things about the fair is that you can see bands that you would normally have to pay upwards of at least 30 dollars to see at any other venue. Some HUGE national acts are making their way through this year including Melissa Etheridge, Bret Michaels (ladies not included), David Cook, David Archuleta, Loretta Lynn, The B-52s, Switchfoot, Kelly Clarkson, Clint Black, Joan Jett and many more.

But what really caught my eye was the massive support for independent music. Not only are some awesome local bands (So Long Davey – 6/14, Goodnight Caulfield – 7/1) being featured on the Coors Light Rock On Stage by themselves, but in addition, a whole other contest is being put on by the fair to give $25,000 to one band and one solo artist!


Musicpalooza is a round-by-round music contest that will eventually crown one band and one solo artist as champions of the San Diego County Fair, and therefore make them $25,000 richer. Second place gets $5,000 and third place receives $2,000. There are 19 solo finalists and 12 band finalists (And I think it is a no brainer that 90 percent of the finalists are all from greater San Diego area). Voting for the “people’s choice award” takes place on the Musicpalooza page on the SD Fair site.

Professionals in the recording and entertainment industries will be judging at each round with live-performance judging taking place over three rounds on June 19th on the Coors Light Rock On Stage (preliminary round), June 25th on the Heineken Grandstand Stage and the San Diego Showcase Stage (semi-finals), and July 3rd on the Heineken Grandstand Stage (finals). You can continue to vote for the “people’s choice award” at the San Diego County Fair website until June 19th. So make sure you do so.

Fair Exhibits

The fair would not be complete without some sort of a history lesson. The exhibits at the fair are always some of the most extensive and interesting pieces there, and this year is no different.

The Music Mania Theme Exhibit at the San Diego County Fair will be the centerpiece of the theme, celebrating the history and variety of music, with many interactive and fun exhibits. With the help of the Museum of Making Music, attendees will learn everything there is to know about Classical, Country, Hip Hop/Rap, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues/Soul, and Rock & Roll music. Whether you want to learn the basics of any musical instrument, share your favorite concert moments, check which artists want their green rooms set to 60º F, see the past and present technologies of recording music, or even get your “15 Minutes of Fame” where you can conduct an orchestra, star in a rock band, or keep the beat, the Music Mania experience has it all.

One of the most interesting things going on in the exhibit is the Silent Disco. Dancers (and this could be you) will cross the velvet rope into the Silent Disco and receive wireless headphones. The DJ begins, and he is speaking only to you, since only the dancers can hear the music. The audience outside the velvet rope will enjoy watching the dancers as they groove to music only they can hear. These activities among MANY others will solidify this year as one of the most interactive and interesting themes ever.

With all of the events, concerts, and good times I have talked about, the price always sits in the back of your head. Remember in the beginning when I said there is nothing better than enjoying all this music at the fair? Well I definitely spoke too soon.

They are offering a ticket package that they have never done before, with 22 days for $22! You pay $22 up front and you get to walk right in to the fair everyday if you want. This also gets you in to see about 95 percent of the concerts that are going on in the 22 days of fun.

You can buy the Best Pass Ever at the Del Mar Fairgrounds box office and the last day to get it is Thursday, June 11, which is the day before the Fair opens. The Fair season pass — a $286.00 value — will definitely make things easier on the pocket book for the summer.

So yes, buy that Jacuzzi, eat that deep-fried Twinkie, fly through the sky, and watch all those people, but also make sure you do-si-do, bang your head, flash dance, and get your groove on this year as the San Diego County Fair Presents, “Music Mania.”


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