Del Mar Fair Concerts Going Video This Year

The popular Del Mar Fair grandstand concerts have finally entered the Video Age.

This year’s series of 20 evening pop concerts, starting June 15 with a performance by the Little River Band, will also be broadcast live on a 20-foot video screen in the newly erected Infield Stage, across the race track from the grandstand.

Now, if the 15,000-seat grandstand fills up for a show, concert-goers who get turned away at the door no longer will have to miss out on the action.

“Last year, we had several concerts that sold out,” said fair spokeswoman Diane Scholfield. “We couldn’t fit any more people in the grandstand, and we had to turn people away. It was really too bad: We felt as bad as the people who got turned away.


“So this year, we’ve arranged for a second stage in the infield of the race track, where at night, a few thousand more people can see and hear the grandstand concert on a video screen.”

The complete lineup of grandstand performers in the 1990 series is the usual grab-bag of pop, rock, soul, country, and jazz acts: the Little River Band, June 15; Tom Jones, June 16; the Charlie Daniels Band, June 17; Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, June 18; the Robert Cray Band, June 19; Donny Osmond, June 20; Dionne Warwick, June 21; Expose, June 22; Johnny Rivers, June 23; Poco, June 24; and Kool and the Gang, June 25.

Also on tap: Willie Nelson, June 26; the Band, June 27; Gordon Lightfoot, June 28; Laura Branigan, June 29; John Kay and Steppenwolf, June 30; Air Supply, July 1; Natalie Cole, July 2; the Gap Band, July 3; and the Oak Ridge Boys, July 4 (the fair’s closing night).

In addition to these 20 evening shows, which start at 7:30 p.m., there will be two afternoon concerts starting at 2 p.m.: the Harry James Orchestra, June 21, and Carmen McRae, June 28.


“We always try to get a wide variety of entertainment,” Scholfield said. “The fair is for people of all ages, with all sorts of different musical tastes. And we have to take that into account when deciding on which acts to book: We try to get a little something for everybody.”

Also as usual, there’s a heavy emphasis on nostalgia, with no fewer than eight oldies acts in the lineup-including such 1960s hit machines as Jones, Warwick, Rivers, the Band, and Steppenwolf.

“People are really into nostalgia,” Scholfield said, “and these artists certainly bring back a lot of old memories. But at the same time, many of them are recording new stuff instead of merely living off oldies, thus broadening their appeal.

“To give you an example, Tom Jones, who was Mr. ‘60s, recently recorded a cover of Prince’s ‘Kiss’ (with Art of Noise) and it was a big hit. So now, a second generation is discovering his music from earlier times and liking it, and we’ll probably get a cross-generational crowd for his show-and for shows by other so-called oldies acts like him.”


While the Infield Stage will broadcast grandstand concerts at night, during the day, it will host a separate series of afternoon concerts.

The lineup: local classic-rockers Dr. Feelgood and the Interns of Love, 2 and 5 p.m., June 15; 1960s singles band the Guess Who, 2 and 5 p.m., June 16 and 17; rhythm-and-blues group the Dynatones, 2 p.m., June 18-20; country singer Mel McDaniel, 2 and 5 p.m., June 22-24; country singer Claudia Nyggard, 2 p.m., June 25-27; “Animal House” frat-rockers Otis Day and the Knights, 2 and 5 p.m., June 29-July 1; and rhythm-and-blues band Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, 2 p.m., July 2-4.