Live music returns to Belly Up Tavern more than a year after closing due to pandemic

SOLANA BEACH (KUSI) – The iconic Belly Up Tavern will open their doors to a sold-out show Wednesday for the first time in over a year.

“We’ve been waiting too long for this and we’re so excited to be at this point,” said co-owner Phil Berkovitz. “It’s going to be a bit surreal; we had a private event last night and Steve and I were just looking around at people having fun after a 15-month break.”

Belly Up is celebrating their return to the stage with an LL Cool J inspired swag that you can purchase here: 

It’s a surreal moment that’s come with its fair share of heartbreak and resilience. The multi-million-dollar live event industry was one of the first to close amid the global pandemic, and the last to finally get guidance for how to safely restart.

The Belly Up has already sold out four of the next five shows with bookings that now reach the fall of 2022. First to take the stage in what is sure to be an emotional return is country/Americana singer Charley Crockett who is scheduled to play Wednesday and Thursday.

See full calendar here: 

“We’ve been updating some stuff over the last few months and we’re really excited to show it to the world,” said President of Belly Up Entertainment, Chris Goldsmith. “We’re keeping the same vibe and good music that everyone loves, but the back of the bar is a new kind of steel look instead of a patchwork of wood we’ve built up over the last 20 years.”

Some improvements while preserving the same iconic feel to a venue that’s been drawing crowds to watch stars like Willie Nelson, Etta James, BB King, and John Lee Hooker since 1974.

“It’s going to be a really emotional moment for all us. Because this is our passion and not being able to do it for so long has been a challenge,” said talent buyer for Belly Up, Pete McDevitt. “The first show is Charley Crockett playing two nights that are sold out. I’m personally a big fan so there’s probably going to be some tears of joy when he comes on stage.”

McDevitt won’t be the only one with tears of joy Wednesday night. The Belly Up crew has been counting down the seconds until they could finally open their doors and return to the work they love.

“That’s going to be a tough moment for me personally because that’s what I love about my job,” McDevitt said. “To see people having a shared experience that makes them happy and knowing you had a role in it. It’s pretty powerful.”

See full list of shows here: 

KUSI’s Hunter Sowards was live in Solana Beach with more details on the long-awaited return of live music to the Belly Up Tavern.

Categories: Coronavirus, Entertainment, Good Evening San Diego, Local San Diego News