Concert venue

Belly Up will manage the new Del Mar concert hall at the fairgrounds

The Belly Up Tavern LLC, which has been hosting live music performances in Solana Beach for decades, will operate a long-awaited new indoor concert venue slated to open later this year at the off-track betting center at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The agency that manages the fairgrounds, the 22nd District Agricultural Association, first awarded the contract to Belly Up more than four years ago, but a competitor, KAABOOWorks Services, LLC, protested the decision and the contract was canceled in February 2018.

The KAABOO experience included a three-day music festival that brought up to 45,000 people to the fairgrounds every September for five years until 2019. That year, the operators announced plans to move to Petco Park, but the festival was canceled in 2020 and ’21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He could return this fall to Petco Park, home of the Padres baseball team.

Meanwhile, the new fairground concert hall at Surfside Race Place has also suffered a pandemic setback. Work has slowed on the nearly 1,900-seat indoor arena and other facilities added as part of a $13 million renovation. The project is finally nearing completion and is expected to open later this year. It could host up to 60 events per year.

Fairgrounds officials re-announced the management contract from February 25 to March 25 this year, and this time the Belly Up was the only candidate.

The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach opened in 1974 and remains one of San Diego County’s top year-round live music venues with a maximum capacity of 600 people.

“Belly Up will pay the district a guaranteed minimum fee per live entertainment event of $7,500 or 10% of gross ticket sales, whichever is greater, plus $2.50 per ticket for setup fees” , Fairgrounds general manager Carlene Moore said in an email Thursday. , April 14.

Each subsequent year, the guaranteed minimum will increase by 4%, Moore said. The ticket sales percentage and setup fee per ticket will remain the same.

The off-track betting center in Del Mar was built in the early 1990s to serve up to 5,000 people daily. However, attendance declined as the popularity of online gaming and tribal casinos grew, and the facility was underutilized for a long time.