Interview with The Belly Up’s Meryl Klemow: Booking the Fiesta Del Sol

Belly Up
For the past four years, the Belly Up Tavern has been using its booking influence, expertise and enthusiasm to turn the Solana Beach Fiesta Del Sol into two days of non-stop musical must sees. It was four years ago when the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce turned to the Belly Up to help create a music lineup that could ensure a good time for all at its annual (this is the 32nd year) summer kick-off party. Since then, the Belly Up has jumped on the opportunity, taking pride in presenting musicians they believe in. That was definitely the feel I got when I interviewed Belly Up’s Meryl Klemow about the role the Belly Up plays in the event.

Stating that the selection process starts about five to six months out, Meryl was adamant about the fact that these artists are not just picked randomly.

“These are key bands to us, artists that do well at the Belly Up, bands that have earned their stripes and are stoked to be playing the Fiesta. Bands we feel are up and coming, who are building their audience, we believe in them. All of them are extremely talented, professional bands.”

This year’s lineup is diverse in its nature, a true cross pollination of not only national bands, but local bands, which is important to the message the Belly Up is trying to send.

“It’s very important for people to see the San Diego talent,” Meryl told me. “There are neighbors, friends, and family coming. We look for a mix, each day something for everyone: kids, parents, and the older generation. We do our best to reach the wide scope of the audience.”

Saturday’s lineup features Common Sense, a Belly Up staple; San Diego’s Dead Feather Moon, a new band who the Belly Up is showcasing with an album release party July 1st; Sol Y Mar, a family oriented world class World Beat/Fusion dance band with flamboyant costumes and stage show; local artist Mike Pinto who is fast becoming a favorite in San Diego; and a Springsteen tribute band Thunder Road. Also playing Saturday is Rheanna Downey, graVity, and The Heavy Guilt trio.

Sunday’s lineup features the national touring act Bedouin Soundclash, the always good times of Bushwalla, Encinitas’ own rootz/rock/reggae band Shoreline Rootz, the amazing Doors tribute band Wild Child, and one of Belly Up’s slam dunk happy hour performers Atomic Groove. Also on the bill for Sunday are Hoi Polloi, The Farmers, and Combo Libertad.

When asked who she is looking forward to seeing the most, Meryl was hesitant to pick out one act from the many she seemed so proud of on this year’s lineup. Though she was partial to Mike Pinto, who she shared was unknown to her two years ago when he was jamming with her roommate in her living room at 2am. Meryl chuckled when recounting that at that time, she was begging him to stop, and now she is booking his shows and watching his career sky rocket.

The Belly Up is also keeping the after party going both nights with Platinum Rockstars 70’s vs. 80’s costume party classic rock extravaganza on Saturday, and then Sol Y Mar’s funky samba party Sunday night following the fair, right up the street at the Belly Up Tavern.

The Fiesta Del Sol is free to the public and runs for two days, Saturday June 4th and Sunday June 5th. The 32nd annual event takes place adjacent to Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach within the area bordered by South Sierra and Acacia Avenues.

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