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Launch of entertainment venue in Del Mar Fairgrounds expected to bring economic boost

A new entertainment venue called THE SOUND opens Friday on the Del Mar Fairgrounds, with a sold-out first show.

The venue will be operated by Belly Up Entertainment.

“We couldn't be more excited. The Belly Up has been around for over 40 years and providing music to North County and all of San Diego County at a 600 (person) capacity," said Chris Goldsmith, the president of Belly Up Entertainment.


Goldsmith said the venue has capacity for 1,900 people, and features a general admission dance floor, a giant stage and reserved seating in the balcony and terrace. 

He said a larger venue like THE SOUND will bring new musical opportunities, attracting national touring artists.

"A lot of (artists) have had to skip San Diego for many years because there just hasn't been a venue of this size in San Diego," he said. "What the fairgrounds has done is filled a need for the San Diego music community."

Events held at THE SOUND are also expected to bring a revenue boost to the state owned fairgrounds. The site was facing some financial troubles when the pandemic shut down all its events.

"It's a very timely moment in the fairgrounds history, because a lot of things got delayed during the pandemic. We couldn't have any mass gatherings... no fair," said Katie Mueller, the chief operations officer at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.


She said the opening of THE SOUND joins a packed schedule of events at the fairgrounds.

“We are now in full swing of events. In 2024 we're almost booked almost every single weekend, all of our buildings for events," Mueller said. "Events are just coming back with a vengeance. We have a major horse show happening right now. We have the King Tut exhibit which everyone is really excited about... and of course planning a full scale San Diego County Fair for 2023." 

Mueller says the launch of the new entertainment venue is also expected to boost business for nearby restaurants, hotels, and create job opportunities.  

Ziggy Marley will play two nights at THE SOUND — Friday and Saturday — and both shows are sold out.

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