KAABOO Del Mar Looks to Redefine the Multi-Day Music Festival

KAABOO organizers seeks to take the festival experience beyond music. (Photo courtesy of Alive Coverage)

This year seems to be one of music-festival innovation. The combination of a decent venue and standard festival-circuit lineup (you know, those 20 or so artists who are chosen to make the annual rounds) is no longer enough to set one music fest apart from the rest. Without a well-established name such as Bonnaroo or Coachella, newer events have to get creative to sell tickets. As a result, art installations, culinary exhibitions and even virtual-reality opportunities have nearly become commonplace at such multiday festivals. 

This concept is clearly something the minds behind KAABOO Del Mar understand. For 2019, the event (which, according to its website, is not merely a “festival”) will feature contemporary art exhibits, upscale food and drink options, world-class comedians, and a diverse musical lineup. And one of its biggest selling points is a commitment to being an “anti-dirt event.” 

If you’ve been to a multiday music festival before, you know how incredible this sounds. If you haven’t, just imagine how filthy you might feel after dancing around in the dirt, camping, not showering, and using portable potties for a few days. At the Del Mar Fairgrounds, KAABOO will be able to provide guests with such amenities as climate-controlled indoor seating areas and clean, flushable toilets. 

But KAABOO seems to be shooting for more than basic comfort. Craft libations, spa treatments and even massages are among the luxuries guests can look forward to. Day passes can also be purchased for the BASK pool party, which includes its own lineup of poolside DJs and a view of one of the event’s main stages. It doesn’t get much more Southern California than that. 

Of course, KAABOO also offers a refreshing variety of genre-spanning artists. Where else could you find Sublime With Rome, Duran Duran, and Snoop Dogg + Wu Tang Clan on the same bill? 

For Los Angeles-based band Vintage Trouble, KAABOO is a rare opportunity to play in their home state. “We don’t get home enough,” says drummer Richard Danielson. “This band is coming up on our 10-year anniversary, and we’ve spent the lion’s share of that overseas.” 

Del Mar is a beautiful setting for KAABOO. (Photo courtesy of Alive Coverage)

The retro-soul quartet have gained international traction with their hard-rocking rhythm and blues, landing TV appearances, a cameo on a Honda Civic commercial and tours with everyone from AC/DC to Dave Matthews Band (who are also scheduled to play KAABOO).

This fest is also an opportunity for some up-and-coming local artists to share their music more widely. “It’s our first big, major festival,” says Chase Klitzner, vocalist and guitarist of indie rock band the Gooms. With only one EP and a couple of singles out, they’re one of the freshest groups on the bill. 

“I think we’re all very much looking forward to it, and it’s going to be a new experience,” adds guitarist Nicole Rosenbach. “I think we’re going to use our passes to the fullest and hang out the whole weekend. It really feels nice, like we earned them.”  

Bob Saget, Wayne Brady and Kevin Smith all appear on the comedy lineup. But don’t think it’s all funny business. KAABOO takes things such as sustainability very seriously. The festival has teamed up with international nonprofit PangeaSeed Foundation to produce an art mural live during the event. According to a press release, “Attendees will be able to see the collaborative Sea Walls mural painted by Santa Cruz-based artist Caia Koopman, following the nonprofit’s theme of ocean health and the impact of humankind on the marine environment.”

PangeaSeed has also worked with KAABOO to reduce single-use plastics and carbon emissions while increasing the number of recycling and composting stations throughout the event. Luxurious, diverse and environmentally friendly aren’t often used together to describe your typical music festival. But then again, KAABOO is far from typical. 

KAABOO Del Mar at Del Mar Racetrack + Fairgrounds,2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar; www.kaaboodelmar.com. Sept. 13-15. Check website for times. $139-$959.

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