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Fitz and the Tantrums Del Mar Fairgrounds
Fitz and the Tantrums played to a crowd of 400 cars on Oct. 30 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg
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Del Mar Fairgrounds hosts new form of entertainment: car concerts

DEL MAR — Internationally praised band Fitz and the Tantrums rocked local concertgoers at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Friday, Oct. 30, in what has become a new method of enjoying large live-entertainment events since the onset of COVID-19: a concert in your car.

Approximately 400 cars filled with families and friends attended the concert, parking in socially distanced spaces surrounding a 360-degree stage lit with jumbo screens and bright lights, marking a new era of entertainment.

The concert was hosted by Concerts in Your Car, a California based event company hosting a variety of events at the Del Mar Racetrack through the remainder of the year, including concerts, movie nights, a holiday light show, and a performance of The Nutcracker.

Fitz and the Tantrums, a Southern California band known for catchy indie-pop ballads, played an energetic set spanning nearly a decade of music-making to a crowd of masking wearing concert goers.

Playing some of their most popular hits, “Hand Clap” and “123456,” in addition to songs from their latest album, “All the Feels,” the six-piece band lit up the stage as couples and families danced near their cars with food and drink in hand.

Area resident Kristy Valdiva attended the event with a group of women parked in the front row, relaxing in their lawn chairs, masks on, and ready to enjoy the experience.

“If you go to a music venue, maybe there’s a handful of kids there, but look at this,” Vladiva said. “Families are desperate to get out and experience some connectivity outside of the home, away from remote learning and remote work.”

According to the group, the event felt less like a traditional concert and more like a socially distanced tailgating experience.

“This is a great way to enjoy live music, have a little bit of your own space, and feel safe in the outdoors,” the group agreed.

Vincenzo Giammanco, founder and producer of Concerts in Your Car, is proud of the series’ ability to not only bring employment to struggling event spaces and musicians but offer audiences a fresh outlet to experience live entertainment.

According to Giammanco, the series employs over 100 local food and beverage vendors as well as security patrolling the grounds during the show, ensuring audiences are in compliance with state health regulations.

“It definitely creates a small economic boom in the area,” Giammanco said, “and for a lot of the bands that hit the stage, it’s their first show since COVID.”

On Oct. 24, the series hosted The Beach Boys at the fairgrounds to a sold-out crowd of 600 vehicles, Giammanco said. “They had hundreds of shows on the books before COVID but they only ended up playing three and they were with us, Concerts in Your Car. It’s really awesome to give artists a platform to perform and give people the opportunity at local venues to enjoy them.”

On Friday, as the show wound down and Fitz and the Tantrums said their first goodbye, the traditional shouts calling encore were replaced with a chorus of car horns and cheers, a sign of the times.

Concerts in Your Car will continue to host events at the fairgrounds through the year, Giammanco says, including concerts, movie nights, a drive-through holiday light show and a production of the Nutcracker.

For information on tickets visit www.concertsinyourcar.com.

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