SOLANA BEACH — Guitar riffs and excitement surged through Solana Beach over the weekend with the return of the 41st annual Fiesta Del Sol beachside music festival and market.
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, anticipation for this year’s festival was higher than ever, attracting hundreds of music and beer enthusiasts from all over San Diego County who flooded the area of Fletcher Cove Park and the concert space set up in the parking lot of Dirty Dogs and Meow Grooming.
With a lineup of 20 performers — including reggae icon Don Carlos, 70s-era surf rock band Yächtley Crëw and other performers in the rock and roll and soul genres — between two days at the community stage, the 2022 Fiesta Del Sol was the largest iteration of the event yet, sponsored by the Belly Up Tavern and Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s super fun — we’re having a blast,” said Escondido resident Chrissie Preston. “I’m a big music gal, and it’s a fun local event also supporting small businesses.”
With free entry to all the shows, the standing room-only concert space steadily filled as the day went on with folks dancing, enjoying beer and singing along to original songs and classic rock and roll covers. Others also took advantage of the VIP seating area for a more exclusive experience.
First-time attendee Larry Visconti and veteran attendee Linda, who chose not to share her last name, enjoyed the Sunday afternoon performance by Calgary-based band Daring Greatly from their lawn chairs. Like many residents at the event, they brought along their dogs to enjoy the day.
“It’s a great lineup,” said Visconti. “You can’t get any better than Solana Beach.”
Longtime attendee Linda lauded this year’s festival as the largest yet, with among the most impressive performers. For her and many others, the event was a form of soul fulfillment after the COVID-induced absence of live music.
“It’s definitely more crowded, but it’s more exciting. The lineup is the best it’s ever been,” she said.
Performers themselves were equally as excited to be at the festival. Some were seasoned Fiesta Del Sol superstars, while others were stepping on the community stage for the first time.
“This is our first Fiesta, and it feels damn good to be here,” Patrick Croome, lead singer of Daring Greatly, said to a cheering crowd.
In between performances, attendees ambled along South Sierra and Acacia avenues to purview the line of vendors selling handmade wares, purchased grub from the collection of food carts, and headed to the beer garden to sample libations from local breweries.
One of the many tents set up over the weekend was occupied by small business Vintage Printage, run by a woman and her daughter. Shoppers sifted through crates of what at first glance appeared to be records, but were actually vintage magazine covers, many saved from a library collection set to be destroyed.
The resident said she first caught wind of Fiesta Del Sol after recently being recruited to set up shop at the event, and has appreciated the artistic clientele brought by the festival.
“Events like this, and especially festivals like this, are our lifeblood. With the attendance it has, and the type of people that attend, it makes it easy to sustain. We sell a $10 product, and thousands of people come through,” she said.
Further down the line of vendors, artist Rick Macaw could be seen sketching a grasshopper in front of a tent displaying small ink and watercolor drawings of buildings, cars, and flora and fauna.
“This is my first art fair I’ve ever done,” Macaw said. “I’m just out here trying to talk to people … trying to put some peace and love into the world.”