"If it loses money, I'm prepared to do it again," said Chris Wepsic in 2005 when he launched the first Festival Del Mar. Wepsic produced and bore primary financial responsibility for the two-day event at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. First-year headliners included Etta James, Taj Mahal, and Macy Gray. This year, Dr. John, Don Carlos, and George Thorogood were the big names.
After a two-year run, the festival has been put on hold.
"We are hoping to bring it back in spring 2008," says Wepsic, a Solana Beach dentist.
One promoter estimates Festival Del Mar lost between $100,000 and $125,000 this year. "The first year they did 8000 to 9000 [in paid attendance]," says the promoter. "[In 2006] it was more like 6000 to 7000."
Wepsic admits attendance was off last year, "but we did better in sponsorships." He wants to pull the event back to a weekend in the spring. This year it was held in September. "We had it the same weekend as the [free admission] Adams Avenue Street Fair, and that hurt us.... The only date in the spring  we could get from the Fairgrounds was Mother's Day weekend." He says a 2008 date has yet to be nailed down.
After 30 years of existence, following reaction from businesses and citizens over huge crowds and rowdy behavior, the annual Pacific Beach Block Party did not return this year. Benjamin Nicholls, executive director of Discover PB (an alliance of businesses), said he hoped that there would be "something low key" to replace the Block Party in May, but at present he is unaware of any plans.
Following Hank Williams III's obscenity-laced appearance at the 27th annual Fiesta del Sol in June, Solana Beach City Council members said that the two-day event may not return. The City subsequently decided the Fiesta could continue if the bands were approved by the City and the sheriff's department. The Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event, says band contracts would include a stipulation to withhold pay from bands that used obscenities. The Fiesta del Sol returns June 2 and 3.
(Ken Leighton is the talent coordinator for Fiesta del Sol.)