DEL MAR — A brand-new concert venue at the Del Mar Fairgrounds that has been years in the making will open for an inaugural concert by Ziggy Marley in February, officials announced this week.
Construction was recently completed on the 1,900-seat theater, dubbed The Sound, inside the Surfside Center on the east side of the Fairgrounds.
Live music and entertainment company Belly Up of Solana Beach will operate the venue under a $16 million contract from the 22nd District Agricultural Association, the state board managing the fairgrounds, with a mix of public and private events.
Ziggy Marley will perform the venue’s Feb. 3 opening show, a tribute to his father, Bob Marley, and more headline concerts are set to be announced in the coming weeks.
“All of us at the 22nd District are thrilled to deliver The Sound to every San Diegan,” said 22nd DAA CEO Carlene Moore. “We’re especially proud to partner with the great people at the legendary Belly Up venue, a long-time San Diego music company, who will undoubtedly curate the new room with local sensitivity. And, what better performer to start off the music at The Sound than a legend like Ziggy Marley?”
Plans to develop the underutilized 90,000-square-foot Surfside Race Place into an entertainment space have been in the works for nearly a decade to generate more revenue.
The new venue comprises around two-thirds of the site, with the remaining space continuing to operate as an off-track betting facility.
Belly Up officials hope The Sound can serve as another mid-sized concert venue option for San Diego County concertgoers, where they can enjoy the main stage, three-tiered seating, and a beer-tasting exhibit hall. Around 60 bookings are expected annually at the site, all managed by Belly Up.
“So many great bands have played the Belly Up throughout the years, and now The Sound provides a really cool next step for these bands as they grow,” says Steve Goldberg, co-owner of the Belly Up. “It’s a natural progression, right in our backyard, where we’ve been booking shows at the fair and the races for years.”
More information about the inaugural show and tickets can be found online at thesoundsd.com.