Perform on Stage

Perform at the Fair

The San Diego County Fair has some of the Southern California’s finest entertainment on eight different stages. You can be part of it!

The application deadline of Tuesday, March 13, 2018, has passed; however, you can still apply for a performance spot. You will be placed on a wait list.

2018 San Diego County Fair Dates

Friday, June 1 through Wednesday, July 4.
The Fair is closed Mondays and Tuesdays in June; open July 1-4.

On Opening Day, the Fair opens at 4:00PM.

Fair Theme: How Sweet It Is

Get ready for treats that will tempt all of your senses, as the Fair sets the scene for kid-in-a-candy-store wonder and fun.

The application process takes 10-15 minutes to complete, and requires a $20 non-refundable processing fee.

For a smoother transaction, have your credit card, music clips and photo (if needed) ready before you fill out your application.

Music Groups: You will be required to upload a photo of your group, along with a minimum of two examples of your music. You can also submit the examples of your music on the application using any of these: YouTube, SoundCloud, Website or EPK.

Dance Groups: You are not required to upload a photo of your group on the application.

General Information

Take time to read the Entertainer Handbook and other information before you start the application process. Most of the answers to questions you have will be in this information.

Entertainer Handbook
Application Overview
Booking Process
Stage Spec Sheet
Map of Fair Stages

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have questions after reading through this material, please see our Frequently Asked Questions farther down this page.

I Want to Apply!

The application deadline of March 13 has passed, but you can still submit your application to perform at the 2018 San Diego County Fair, and be put on the wait list.

Apply Today

I’ve Applied

Do you need to add or change information on the application you already submitted? No worries, we’ve got you covered.

Change My App

FAQs – Application Process

What you need to provide when you apply, why we ask you for multiple dates/times, and more.

We work on booking acts as soon as the first applications arrive. This is one reason to apply early.

When we have a spot to offer you, we will contact you by email. This email will have information about the paperwork you’ll need to complete, and a link to a private website page with tons of information you’ll need to know as a Fair performer.

Watch your email! You will have 10 days from the “Sent” date on the email to complete your Final Booking Paperwork, which includes such things as a Confirmed Participant List and a stage plot. It’s a good idea to start thinking about how you want the stage set up, and who will be participating in your performance, so you’re ready when that email arrives!

Yes. The limit is 300 performers for one performance.

We need photos from bands only. This photo needs to show each member of your group clearly. Avoid photos that are very horizontal or very vertical. Please do not take a photo of a photo or a photo of a stage performance. A clear shot of the band is needed
The San Diego Showcase Stage and the Albertsons|Vons Funville Stage have the largest dance floors. Please see Map of Fair Stages for their locations.

Even if you applied really, really early, you might not get your first choice date, time or stage. This is because some Fair events, such as contests or daily shows, are already booked at certain times and on certain stages. The more choices you give us, the better chance you’ll be performing!

Our night spots are 90-minute sets. If on your application you wrote that you only would like to perform 60 minutes, then we will book you in a spot before 6:00PM. If you want a night spot, consider doing a 90-minute set.

The San Diego Showcase Stage is a popular choice among dance and variety groups. These are some of the reasons you might not be booked here:

  1. Weekends and Wednesdays (the latter is a Pay One Price ride wristband day) are desired by most every applicant, so they go fast and first!
  2. We don’t book dance/variety groups after 4:30PM on the San Diego Showcase Stage because of scheduling already in place.
  3. All bookings on the San Diego Showcase Stage are a maximum of 60 minutes, including your setup and teardown time. (You are welcome to set up off-stage, if you can do that.)
  4. On weekdays, performances start at 11:30 a.m. On weekends, performances start at 10:30 a.m.
  5. One of our major entertainment series, the Solid Gold Concert Series, happens on this stage each Thursday, which means we can’t book you on the San Diego Showcase Stage any Thursday of the Fair.
  6. We receive more than 800 applications, and do our best to book on stages requested, but are not always able to accommodate.

Put all these reasons together, and you see that we have very few available booking times on this stage. If you ask for multiple bookings and we are able to book you here, you will receive one slot on the San Diego Showcase Stage, and the other booking(s) will be on another stage, with a maximum total of three.

We have worked hard to improve the Albertsons|Vons Funville Stage in the infield. It is no longer on dirt, it is covered, and has more seating. Consider requesting this stage when you apply.

FAQs – What The Fair Supplies

What we give you or will have for you to use, and what you need to bring.

Yes, we have a sound system at every stage, along with a stage manager who will assist you with your performance.

Music on MP3 device, IPod, or CD. Be sure to bring a backup. MP3 device preferred.

No. We provide a plug-in for your recorded music (CD, iPod or MP3 device), but you will need to provide the person who will play it. Be sure to organize your music for fast play.

If you are a solo musician, you can ask the stage manager if he/she will help, but it’s not guaranteed. Better to bring an assistant.

Your personal performance equipment, such as guitars, drums, etc.

Some things you might normally bring to a performance may be on the Fair’s prohibited items list. For example, you can’t pass out flyers, stickers or solicit tips (if you do, your performance will be cancelled and you probably will never be booked again). See the Guest Services section of our website for a list. Martial arts teams, Polynesian groups, and others should call the Special Events Office at 858-792-4259 for details regarding pyrotechnics equipment or weapons if any are considered part of your performance.

Of course! You’re part of the show. Here’s how it works:

Each act’s main contact is required to submit the Confirmed Participant List. The main contact receives a confirmation card for each of the names on this list.  Each performer brings his or her confirmation card to the Fair on the day of the performance. The card is checked against the Confirmed Participant List at the Special Events check-in area.

Once approved, we stamp the performer’s hand, which will allow him or her free access into the Fair that day. Each performer who is under 18 can bring a parent/guardian 21 or older with them, and this person will also be allowed free admission into the Fair. (This is for the performer’s transportation and supervision while at the Fair.)

All your other fans (parents, relatives, social media followers, etc.) will need to purchase a ticket to enter the Fair.

Yes, but we ask you to “buddy up.” Parking on site is very limited, so each group receives parking passes for 70 percent of their Confirmed Participant List. You can carpool using the passes, use mass transit, or park at an off-site parking lot to save money.

Passes are valid only at the Green Lot, which is accessed through the Solana Gate off Via De La Valle, between Jimmy Durante Boulevard and the Coast Highway

Yes. Performers enter through the Special Events check-in area, which is next to the West Gate, the public entrance. Friends and family can enter the West Gate while you’re checking in, and then you can meet up on the other side, or they can meet you at your stage.

Some things to know:

You can buy Fair tickets at the West Gate, or use tickets you’ve bought in advance. Ticket booths open one hour before the gates do.

Most of the people who enter at the West Gate have either parked in the performers’ Green Lot, or they have taken public transportation. If your family and friends drive separately and are parked in paid or off-site parking, chances are they will enter the grounds at the O’Brien  or Arena gates, which are on the opposite side of the grounds. In this case, they will meet you at the stage.

If you have the first performance of the day, you may be entering the grounds before your family and friends can. For security reasons, they will need to wait until the gates open to the public. (Adult chaperones will enter with youth performers as part of the group.)

FAQs – Solo Artists Who Also Perform in a Band

Solo artists and bands are separate performers in our system. Here’s what you need to know if you perform alone and with others.

You can apply to perform as a solo musician, and you can apply to play with a band. To do this, fill out two separate applications, one under your name as a solo artist and one under the band name. You cannot apply with one application and perform as a solo musician and also with a band.

If you still want to play as a solo artist AND with a band, fill out two full applications — one for your solo performance and one for your band performance. Keep in mind the application deadline. It’s better to submit on time as a solo artist, and then apply later when you have found a band. We keep applications open after the deadline, and applicants are put on a wait list.

No, you must fill out an application as a solo musician. Complete the new application as a solo musician, then contact us (choose Be A Performer from the drop-down menu), and explain your circumstances. Your revised booking time may be reduced from the original booking parameters, or a new booking may be required.

No. If you want to switch from a solo performance to a band performance, you must fill out a new application. After you complete the application, contact us and explain your circumstances. Depending on the information in the new band application, the revised booking may remain the same (the time will not be extended), or a new booking may be required.