Solana Beach’s free, two-day music festival--Fiesta del Sol--returns
Get ready to dance because the 30th annual Fiesta del Sol has it all--jazz, swing, rock ‘n’ roll, reggae, ska, samba. From Fiesta favorites such as The Mar Dels and Sol e Mar, to new faces, including West Indian Girl and Donavon Frankenreiter, the diverse lineup promises to make this summer kickoff celebration a real party.
The seaside festival in Solana Beach features two days of free music June 6 and 7. Arts and crafts booths, plenty of children’s games, a food court and beer and wine garden take over the Distillery parking lot, South Sierra and Plaza Streets.
More than 50,000 people are expected to attend during the two days, said David Carroll, president of the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event as its annual fundraiser.
“Fiesta del Sol is all about families coming to enjoy dancing to music,” Carroll said. “The whole eclectic group will satisfy anybody’s desire for music.”
Sol e Mar is back for its sixth appearance at Fiesta del Sol.
The group fuses traditional Brazilian drumming with guitars and keyboards, and vocals by Fernando Ebano, for their own style of samba and funk fusion. Accompanied by colorful Carnaval dancers, the energetic rhythms transport the audiences to the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
“It’s a whirlwind tour of Brazilian culture in music and dance,” percussionist Mark Lamson said.
Lamson and Kevin Delgado started a Brazilian drumming rehearsal group at San Diego State University in 1985, and were soon joined by Allan Phillips, a Venezuelan keyboardist and percussionist. The band has been playing ever since, growing to have as many as 18 performers on stage at once, including students from the nonprofit Sol e Mar samba school.
Lamson said they look forward to Fiesta del Sol because the audience appreciates music from different countries, even those who are not familiar with it.
“If the music is so well presented people can’t help themselves but to move to it, that’s most gratifying for me,” Lamson said.
West Indian Girl, a psychedelic indie rock band with four keyboards, is new to the festival but not to the region.
“For awhile there we thought we were more a San Diego band than Los Angeles because San Diego was one of the first cities that really embraced the band,” said bassist Francis Ten.
While mellower in the past, the recently downsized group (they went from six to five members) is getting more aggressive with their sound, Ten said.
“We’re definitely going to bring a whole lot of cool vibes to the festival,” Ten said, “But we’re going to give it a little attitude.”
Also making his first appearance at Fiesta is headliner Donavon Frankenreiter, who plays his own brand of laid-back, surfer rock.
A Southern California native and professional surfer, Frankenreiter recently sold out two nights at the Belly Up Tavern and said he is excited to come back to play the outdoor festival.
“I love coming together and having a great time in that moment,” he said. “I enjoy the camaraderie with the musicians on stage and the people in the audience.”
Frankenreiter said surfing, especially, the rhythms of the waves, influence his music, which is a mix of acoustic and electric guitar. It also means professional surfing buddies like Rob Machado sometimes stop by to sit in on a song or two.
“I like keeping the element of surprise open,” Frankenreiter said.
Fiesta del Sol runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Music begins at 1 p.m. For more information, go to
Brought to you by the Belly Up TavernSaturday
1 p.m. Sara Petite (Folk)
2 p.m. Hoi Polloi (Reggae)
3 p.m. Steel Rod (Live Band Karaoke)
4:15 p.m. The Brokers (Rock Cover Band)
5:30 p.m. West Indian Girl (Indie Rock)
6:30 p.m. Skanic (Ska)
8 p.m. Common Sense (Reggae)
1 p.m. Randy Fontaine The Swingers (Jazz)
2 p.m. Atomic Groove (Dance Jams)
3 p.m. Sol e Mar (Brazilian)
4 p.m. The Mar Dels (Party Band)
5 p.m. The Drowning Men (Alternative Rock)
6:15 p.m. The Devastators (Reggae)
7:45 p.m. Donavon Frankenreiter (Rock)
Fiesta del Sol kickoff show at the Belly Up Friday night with Dread Zepplin and Hoi Polloi ($14), and the after party with Sol e Mar on Sunday ($10). For more information, go to