Today I attended only for the second time the second day of the 31st Fiesta Del Sol street fair in Solana Beach, California. Not sure when I first attended this festival but it had to be at least 5 years ago. At first it looked pretty much the same when I got there until I turned the first corner and I think it grew at least four times in size! More booths, more food, more bands and thousands of more people (around 50,000 during the two days). So this small beach festival had changed into a huge pre Del Mar Fair with not as much art but lots of shoes and clothing knock offs, chiropractors, massage therapy, home improvement companies, insurance companies and other corporate booths trying to get you to stop. Even saw a politician campaigning, which I was actually happy for since she reminded me about the election on Tuesday.
In addition to the booths, kids rides and pretty much the same type of food you can find at the fair there was lots of music! There were around 14 acts, mostly local bands (which San Diego has an awesome local music scene that most people don’t know about). I choose to go Sunday just to see and take pictures of the local blues artist Candye Kane. She was great and so was her band. The people around the concert area were having a blast dancing, listening and socializing.
After Candye Kane the mood of the crowd seemed to shift for the worse. I’m not sure if it was the afternoon of consuming alcohol, dehydration, fatigue, large number of people crammed into a small area or a combination of some or all of those factors but it would be advised for parents and kids to go home around this time (4pm). So based on my good and not so good time there and some lessons learned, here are my tips for the 2011 festival:
- First off… have a good time! Be nice to people, talk to people, get to know your neighbor! You just might be surprised on who you might meet or what you might learn. There are also a lot of good non-profit group booths at the festival too. Check them out. Oh, also don’t forget to get off of your chair and dance if you like the music! Life is too short (I see you sitting there with your arms crossed in the picture above).
- Drink LOTS of water! Beer does not count it only makes it worse! Both times I have been to the festival the weather was experiencing a major case of “June Gloom”. Very heavy cloud cover for those of you that are new to San Diego. Don’t let this fool you! You can still get major sunburn and experience sunstroke which I think I had a slight case of after only being there around 4 hours and drank two bottles of water. It even carried on into the next day.
- Parking is non-existent near the site! Well almost… the organizers actually suggested to park at the train station lot, this is pretty much a joke after the first few hundred people. They should have strongly suggested the off site parking and provided more of it. You just can’t expect 50,000 people to park in neighborhoods. So if you are coming so see a band, arrive early (at least an hour) and bring your walking shoes.
- Remember you are in a public place. Act accordingly, help someone who needs a hand, get out of someone’s way if you are blocking them. Don’t think you are the only person there. Also if you don’t want to be photographed by me or the thousands of other people there with cameras or cell phones, then I would re-think even coming. What I’m about to tell you is 100% true. As you can see from the picture above, besides taking photos of the bands there, I also was taking people shots, mostly of couples dancing. I would wait until they were doing something “photo worthy” like a complicated move, dancing cheek to cheek or just having a lot of fun and then take my shot. Well, there was this one older couple that was dancing cheek to cheek and I had my camera trained on them and was waiting for the perfect moment to snap the picture. As soon as the woman saw me she said something to the man and they ran from the area where people were dancing, grabbed their belongings from a bench and high tailed it out of the festival! I have never seen anyone, even an older couple move so fast. This was way beyond someone not wanting their picture taken because they are shy. At first I thought they were making cheating on their spouses but on the drive home I thought it might even be more than that. Maybe they are hiding from the law, in a witness protection program etc.? What ever the reason, the lesson here is if you don’t want to be photographed or video taped, you might want to stay home.
- Parents, when Dick Dale starts to play, it’s time to take the kids home! For the first few bands that play, the music is pretty much jazz, blues or R&B. Everyone has a great time, dances or just soak in the tunes. Then at around 4pm or so, surf guitar legend Dick Dale takes the stage and the
crowd goes crazy which is not a bad thing, but many get mean (pushing and shoving) and more. This is when I left because I didn’t think it was worth it.
So have fun, but be warned and be nice to the person next to you.