Cool on the Coast: April wraps up with street fair, music, relaxation

Layla Marino

2016_COLUMN_MARINOApril is a very special month in San Diego County, especially on the North Coast. With the freshest local strawberries beginning to sprout and the Carlsbad flower fields in full bloom, there is nothing like spring on the coast. We must not forget, however, that there is also plenty of music and culture in our fair region as the weather warms up. Plays, music and, best of all, beer abound this month, so be sure to take a break from the beach and check out some of the North Coast’s world-class culture.

The Belly Up in Solana Beach

What’s left of this month at the Belly Up is a fabulous range of music. Everything from goth punk to jazz and reggae are on offer before the end of April. Check out the Belly Up’s website for the full list, but here are a few of the highlights:

  • April 22: Johnny Clegg — This British-born South African ex-pat has combined his love of music and African history into an emotionally charged style he calls afro-pop. He’s so prolific in his field that KPBS will be filming this show. Come hear the tales and be moved by Clegg’s unique take on African history.
  • April 23: The Ann Wilson Thing — Rock legend Ann Wilson has been working on her solo project quietly for years now. A more blues-fueled experience than her iconic group Heart, Ann’s powerful voice can carry anything she sets her mind to. This show will likely sell out, so if you love Ann Wilson’s beautiful vocals in all their forms, this is a can’t-miss.
  • April 24: Six String Society — With a huge and rotating cast of musicians, this pseudo-musical theater experience brings the music of New Orleans to life. Each Six String Society show is never the same as the last, but one thing is always assured: a raucous and entertaining jaunt through jazz, funk, blues and zydeco. This music is the beating heart of NOLA, and this show will be in your heart for years to come. Don’t miss it.
  • April 28: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down — The unique sound of this indie rock outfit cannot be denied. Part traditional Chinese strings, part minimalist indie rock, part country hoedown, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down deliver a unique and fun musical experience. Having already played at Austin City Limits and gaining steam, it’s only a matter of time before this group becomes larger than life. The show will likely sell out, so reserve your spot today.
  • April 30: Josh Garrels — Already sold out. Josh Garrels is being hailed as the hottest new folk artist on the scene, with his evocative, Christian-themed style. If you don’t have your tickets yet, good luck for next time.

Arts, culture and outdoor

As the weather heats up, North County Coasters will head to the hills, the beach and just outdoors in general. Sometimes we have to take a break. Check out this list of the best bets for arts and culture once the sun goes down, and also a few outdoor activities you may not have thought of.

  • Now through May 8: “Way Downriver” at North Coast Repertory Theatre — Edward Morgan’s powerful adaptation of the Faulkner novel about the flooding of the Mississippi Delta comes to life on the stage of North Coast Rep. This play runs Wednesdays through Sundays each week until May 8. For tickets and information, visit
  • Now through April 24: “The Elephant Man” at Sunshine Brooks Theatre — The Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company stages a theatrical version of the legendary “The Elephant Man.” Tickets and information at
  • April 22: The Touchies and Love Distortion at Pier View Pub — Punk with a surf kick is what The Touchies bring to the stage in spades. Support your local punk scene and join this great throwback group on the dance floor for pogoing and Ramones-like fun. Go to for more information on this up-and-coming venue.
  • April 23 and 24: Encinitas Street Fair — One of the most highly anticipated street fairs in San Diego County, the Encinitas Street fair has something for everyone. Three music stages, a huge craft beer garden and the family-friendly Adventure Zone are featured in this fair, plus lots of food, crafts and fun. For more information, go to
  • April 23: Tai Chi Chuan at Cole Library — Carlsbad Library’s wellness series moves from lectures to practical application with relaxation-based exercise. Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient Chinese modality combining fluid movements and breath to tone the body and calm the mind. For more information, go to
  • April 28: Candlelight Yoga at Cole Library — Part of Carlsbad Library’s wellness series, this yoga class will help students reduce stress through stretching, mind body exercises and proper breathing technique. Let the candlelight take you away as you spend an hour doing something for yourself. More information online at

Spend the rest of your April in style with music, culture, theater and mind/body conditioning to supplement all your outdoor hours. No matter what the season, San Diego’s North Coast is the place for any kind of activity you can dream of.

Columnist Layla Marino is a San Diego music and arts writer. Visit Follow her on Twitter at Send questions and comments to