KAABOO is taking place on the weekend of Sept. 16-18 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
San Diego is fortunate to having many incredible music events on the annual calendar, but nothing compares with KAABOO, which is taking place on the weekend of Sept. 16-18 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Now in its second year, KAABOO will brings together music, comedy, arts and food over its three days and nights, including headliners such as Aerosmith, in their only U.S. show this year, as well as Jack Johnson, Hall & Oates and Jimmy Buffet. There is also a great comedy lineup, which will feature the likes of Cheech & Chong, Dana Carvey and Natasha Leggero.
While attendees see and hear a seamless entertainment experience, according to KAABOO spokesperson Emily Nugent, it takes nearly 2,000 people to bring the event together, with a the management team consisting of a smaller group that works year round on the strategy, site design, talent booking and general operations.
“Preparing for KAABOO is a year round project,” said Nugent. “The physical build of the site starts as the Del Mar races are winding down and will go up until Thursday night when the AMPLIFY VIP Sneak Preview event starts, so about two weeks. It takes a similar amount of time to load out.”
For those who attended last year, there are a few changes, including moving the Grandview Stage to the Racetrack infield. Meanwhile, the comedy performances will be in a larger hall than last year.
The mix of music at KAABOO includes everything from hip-hop to classic rock, with diversity an important part of the planning. “Everything is on the table for consideration,” Nugent continued. “When booking talent for KAABOO, the team looks at the overall curation of the lineup and the experience that it will provide to our guests. It is our goal to have some iconic acts, some current chart-toppers and some up and coming acts that we project as being acts to watch for in the coming years.”
KAABOO also considers San Diego musicians for the event, with Steve Poltz, Nancarrow, The Verigolds, Bang Pow and Aquile amongst the artists performing this year. “Local talent is extremely important to KAABOO,” Nugent said. “There was the entire Discovery Tour that took place, which gave local bands a chance to win a spot performing at KAABOO on The Tourmaline stage! The Discovery Tour was a great way to spread the word about the amazing local talent out there and we are excited to welcome those winners to our stage.”
Guitarist Graham Nancarrow notes an event like this is special. “I feel very proud and incredibly grateful to be on the lineup at KAABOO. This is the kind of stuff I’ve dreamed about doing since I was a kid.”
Having attended last year, he is expecting a great, if brief time at the event. “I did attend one day last year,” he remarked. “It was epic! This year, I’m just looking forward to performing and putting on a fun show for the hometown. I wish I could stay and watch all the great acts but I only get to be there for a couple of hours because we’ve got to be in Half Moon Bay on Sunday morning for the Fish and Fleet Festival,” Nancarrow said.
Nugent points out that visual artists at KAABOO are chosen in a similar fashion to the musical lineup. “Led by our creative director, Amandalynn, a committee of visual artists reviews the applications from the galleries and artists,” Nugent said.
Amongst those taking part this year is former Jefferson Airplane front woman Grace Slick, now an acclaimed painter. “This year, our muralists come to us from all over the world, including Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and more.”
As with any event of this scale, public transportation is recommended. “Guests have many options,” Nugent said. “There will be on-site parking for purchase, bike valets for safe keeping of your bicycle at both entrances, and public transportation will be available (with) a shuttle from the Solana Beach Coaster Station for $5 each way.”
To be good neighbors to surrounding communities, it’s requested that guests do not park on side-streets in adjacent neighborhoods.
While everyone is looking forward to this year’s edition of KAABOO, Nugent points out the behind the scenes team is already looking ahead. “We are thrilled to have Aerosmith joining us as their only U.S. show this year,” she said. “(But) our team is always scouting talent for future years, for all levels, from emerging acts to headliners. We can’t give any hints as to next year’s lineup yet, but we are already booking talent!”