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POSTPONED: Del Mar Fairgrounds to host drive-in concert with Rebecca Jade, Steve Oliver, Kyle Eastwood

San Diego singer Rebecca Jade will perform as part of the July 11 drive-in concert at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
“I’m super-grateful to be included in ‘Jazz the Night Away,” says San Diego singer Rebecca Jade, who will perform as part of the July 11 drive-in concert at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
(Photo courtesy of Rebecca Jade)

The concert, billed as ‘Jazz the Night Away,’ will provide employment (at least for a day) for employees at the dormant fairgrounds

Indoor and outdoor concert venues across California and the nation remain shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic, but San Diego is gearing up for its third drive-in concert in barely a month.

On July 11, the Del Mar Fairgrounds will host “Jazz the Night Away,” a drive-in concert that will take place in the parking lot located across Jimmy Durante Boulevard from the fairground’s main entrance.

The three-act lineup includes smooth-jazz guitarist Steve Oliver, bassist Kyle Eastwood (the son of actor/director Clint Eastwood) and award-winning San Diego vocalist Rebecca Jade, who sang with Elton John in this year’s Academy Awards’ telecast.

Jade, Oliver and Eastwood will perform individual sets at the 7 to 10 p.m. Del Mar drive-in concert. Gates open at 5 p.m. and parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets, priced at $125 per vehicle, are available online at eventbrite.com.

“My last gig was Feb. 28, so I’m excited and super-grateful to be included in ‘Jazz the Night Away’,” said Jade, who sings each Sunday during livestreamed services for Seaside Center for Spiritual Living in Encinitas. This week marks her third anniversary as a vocalist in former Prince collaborator Sheila E’s touring band, which is currently inactive because of the pandemic.

The July 11 Del Mar drive-in concert comes 36 days after Grammy Award-winning San Diego band Switchfoot played a sold-out June 7 drive-in evening concert at Petco Park. It was preceded by a noon concert in the same parking lot by B-Side Players and two other area bands. Proceeds from both Petco Park shows, hosted by the San Diego Padres, benefited the nonprofit Feeding San Diego.

As at the two Petco Park events, the July 11 Del Mar drive-in concert will feature a large video screen on the stage and two screens to either side. The lot for the Del Mar concert has room for 1,000 vehicles. Attendance will be limited to 500 vehicles, according to a fairgrounds representative and Graywolf Production Group owner Larry Vasquez, whose San Diego company is staging the “Jazz the Night Away” drive-in concert.

“The event is designed to keep live entertainment going, and to get our crew, artists and venue employees working again,” Vasquez said. “I will be using the fairgrounds staff and security to help the Del Mar Fairgrounds generate some type of revenue.”

Any infusion of revenues will be welcome by the fairgrounds, which on June 18 announced its year-round staff of 156 full-time employees will be reduced by 58 percent in October. At its June 16 board meeting, fairground officials projected revenue for the year will be down $65 million by the end of the summer, which is 92 percent below their pre-pandemic projections.

Depending on response to the July 11 “Jazz the Night Away,” Graywolf Production Group honcho Vasquez hopes to do more Del Mar drive-in concerts this summer.

“Our events department is open to hosting other drive-in events, such as church services and concerts,” said a fairgrounds representative. “We have an abundance of space and we are trying to find ways to activate it with social distancing in place.”

Locally and nationally, the number of drive-in concerts appears to be growing on an almost weekly basis.

On Saturday, country-pop superstar Garth Brooks will perform a socially distanced concert that will stream to more than 300 drive-in venues and is being billed as the “World’s Largest Drive-In Concert.”

One of those venues, the South Bay Drive-In, is in San Diego. Its Saturday 8:45 p.m. Brooks livestream concert is sold out. But tickets are still available through Ticketmaster — at $100 per vehicle — for an 11:30 p.m. Saturday Brooks encore screening at the South Bay Drive-In. (San Diego County’s only other drive-in, the Santee Drive-in Theater, is closed “until further notice” because of unspecified technical difficulties, according to the venue’s website.)

Also on Saturday, comedians Neel Nanda, Steven Briggs and Joe Sib will perform what is being billed as a drive-up comedy show at Kit Carson Park in Escondido.

On July 4, Los Lobos and Mariachi El Bronx team up for a joint drive-in concert at Irvine Lake in Orange County. On July 10 and 11, Andrew McMahon will do a pair of drive-in concerts at the City National Grove of Anaheim. Also on July 10, Live Nation — the world’s largest concert promoter — will launch “Live from the Drive-In,” a series of nine concerts set to take place over three days in Tennessee, Missouri and Indiana. The performers include Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Jon Pardee and Nelly.

Perhaps the biggest drive-in concert series announced thus far is the Utilita Live From The Drive-In series in the United Kingdom. It will include 19 separate performances between early August and early September by such varied artist as Gary Numan, Dizzee Rascal, Beverly Knight and the Brand New Heavies.

Updates:

5:01 PM, Jul. 06, 2020: The July 11 “Jazz the Night Away” drive-in concert at the Del Mar Fairgrounds has been postponed. No new date has been announced as yet.


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