Kaaboo Lineup Announced and Festivals Continue to Flourish

The plethora of festivals is evidence that folks are moving more toward collecting experiences rather than collecting things. A festival that has been growing nicely into its third year is Kaaboo. Situated in the relatively sleepy seaside town of Del Mar north of San Diego, Kaaboo just announced its lineup for the September 15-17 weekend. With headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, P!NK and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the organizers have gathered a pleasantly eclectic collection of performers. Although RHCP headlined Coachella several years ago, the Kaaboo organizers are wisely curating their lineup for a slightly older crowd. Hence the appearance of road-tested artists such as Alanis Morissette, Jackson Browne, The Wallflowers, Dave Mason, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Eric Burdon and the Animals and The Tubes. As to the latter, I look forward to seeing the Del Mar crowd sing along to “White Punks on Dope.”

But the lineup also ambitiously includes MUSE, Weezer, Jane’s Addiction, David Guetta, Ice Cube, Milky Chance, T-Pain and DJ Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal). Bridging the generations will be the seminal Fishbone, sporting a near-intact original lineup.

Tom Petty (photo by Brad Auerbach)

Prior to the inaugural Kaaboo I had a chance to make the acquaintance of Bryan Gordon, the event’s founder. He had been looking for a venue around the country and after being introduced to the Del Mar Racetrack he found his spot. Overlooking the Pacific, with easy freeway access and balmy breezes, the facility was ideal. Last year Gordon’s team brought in sand to ease the feeling of being on asphalt for one of the several stages.

Higher end cuisine and a comedy lineup amplify Kaaboo’s eclectic nature.

The locals have almost uniformly embraced Kaaboo, but there are the inevitable NIMBY folks who write into the local newspaper about increased noise and traffic. Festival organizers have moved to address these issues, moving louder bands indoors later in the evening and schedules that promote staggered departures of guests.

“I am thrilled with this year’s extraordinary lineup and proud to be building on the success of our last two KAABOO Del Mar events,” says KAABOO founder and CEO Bryan Gordon. “We strive to curate an event that is multi-generational and diverse – something for all of our fans. When you look at this lineup, we have everyone from Alt Rock legends and bucket list icons, to today’s hottest hitmakers and incredible up-and-comers.”

Southern California has shown an ability to cater to an impressive depth of festival goers, willing to sign on for a range of festivals in the area. CoachellaStagecoach and Oldchella (er, Desert Trip) suck up many available dollars, but also on offer are last weekend’s Beyond Wonderland, May’s Joshua Tree Music Festival, Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco Weekend (also featuring Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), the urban FYF Fest, Dana Point’s sophomore Ohana Festival, among several other festivals. Also notable is the mega pairing of Eagles and Fleetwood Mac at Dodger Stadium in July. None of the foregoing include the burgeoning festival scene as you head up the coast.

Three-day passes are on sale now via KAABOOdelmar.com. General admission Hang Loose passes are currently $259, while HANG FIVE and HANG TEN (VIP) passes are currently priced at $799 and $2799, respectively.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.