Aside from the big names like Cold War Kids, Chromeo and 311, it looks like the Del Mar Racetrack is placing bets on local music in a big way during their 2016 concert season.
In a partnership with Pacific Records and their director of A&R, Gary Hyde, 10 San Diego acts have been tapped to play the Racetrack’s Seaside Stage a couple hours prior on nights featuring those big Grandstand headliners.
On July 22 (the same night Cold War Kids kick off the concert season), Otto Pilot will perform their acoustic rock tunes, followed on July 29 by indie pop/jazz multi-instrumentalist (and quite the exceptional drummer) Elise Trouw, who’ll play prior to the Fitz & the Tantrums show.
Things heat up in August as the hip-hop production trio the Kneehighs open for Girl Talk on Aug. 5; roots-rocker Ryan Hiller warms up the crowd before Brian Setzer’s performance on Aug. 6 at 2:30 p.m.; Morgan Leigh Band bring the country-pop prior to Chris Young’s show on Aug. 12; indie-rock group Creature Canyon perform at 5 p.m. before 311 and Matisyahu's show on Aug. 13; soul/R&B chanteuse Rebecca Jade treats audiences before Thievery Corporation on Aug. 19; and Sandollar deliver all the beach rock vibes you can handle prior to Pepper’s set (another hometown group by the way) on Aug. 26.
When the Racetrack concert season wraps up in September, we’ll also see local world-music superstars Todo Mundo head up the Seaside Stage right before the Wailers’ main stage set (Sept. 2) and Super Groupie (San Diego purveyors of “beach soul”) on the same night as the red-hot EDM/pop duo Chromeo (Sept. 3).
Needless to say, the opening slots afforded to local acts are huge opportunities to spread the good word about their music.
“I am stoked!” Creature Canyon frontman Austin Steele told SoundDiego. “It’s cool this year too because it’s the first year that there are opening acts for the big headlining bands, and all of the acts are local talent.”
Even when there are stylistic differences between the San Diego artists and the headliners, as in the case with Steele’s band and the 311/Matisyahu show for example, true music fans should be able to appreciate the pairings.
“We have great songs and the guys in the band are amazing musicians, so as long as we are well-rehearsed, I’m sure their fans will dig our stuff,” he said.
For fans of the openers, keep your eye on their respective social media accounts for tickets. Steele (who also plays in Super Groupie) gave us the rundown on how to get in.
“Anyone who buys tickets to the races gets into the show for free! We will also be giving out free tickets through our Facebook and Twitter through contests and fun shenanigans. [Del Mar Racetrack] is giving us a bunch of tickets to give out for free!”
The other local acts scheduled to perform will also be hitting their pages with details on how to score tickets so be sure to check them out. Looks like everyone’s a winner this year. For more information and complete details, visit the official Del Mar Racetrack website.
2016 Del Mar Racetrack Lineup
- July 22: Cold War Kids, Otto Pilot (Seaside Stage at 6 p.m.)
- July 29: Fitz & the Tantrums, Elise Trouw (Seaside Stage at 6 p.m.)
- Aug. 5: Girl Talk, the Kneehighs (Seaside Stage at 6 p.m.)
- Aug. 6: Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot, Ryan Hiller (Seaside Stage at 2:30 p.m.)
- Aug. 12: Chris Young, Morgan Leigh Band (Seaside Stage at 6 p.m.)
- Aug. 13: 311 and Matisyahu, Creature Canyon (Seaside Stage at 5 p.m.)
- Aug. 19: Thievery Corporation, Rebecca Jade (Seaside Stage at 6 p.m.)
- Aug. 26: Pepper, Sandollar (Seaside Stage at 5:30 p.m.)
- Sept. 2: The Wailers, Todo Mundo (Seaside Stage at 5:30 p.m.)
- Sept. 3: Chromeo, Super Groupie (Seaside Stage at 5:30 p.m.)
Dustin Lothspeich books The Merrow; plays in Diamond Lakes and Boy King; and runs the music-equipment-worshipping blog Gear and Loathing in San Diego. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.