The San Diego area’s largest music, arts and entertainment experience, KAABOO Del Mar 2017 is now one for the record books. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the beautiful beachfront community of Del Mar, the annual three-day event took place this past weekend, Sept. 15 - 17. Situated at the Del Mar Racetrack and adjacent fairgrounds, festival-goers enjoyed the laid-back vibe, all along savoring the sunny 72-degree weather.
Elevating the festival paradigm by redefining what a festival experience can be, KAABOO, dubbed a “mixperience,” has already established itself as a major player in the live event sector, appealing to locals and tourists alike. The all-ages extravaganza was designed to indulge all five senses with upscale music, art exhibits, comedy, late-night disco, gourmet food, craft drinks, cooking demonstrations, replete with a swimming pool and private cabanas and much more.
KAABOO’s unique concept continues to build momentum on the success of the last two multi-generational and diverse events. “This year is definitely better than last year,” KAABOO’s creator and CEO Bryan Gordon, stated in an exclusive press statement. “We’re very pleased with where we are. Our goal has always been to put together a festival for everyone — from people 17 to 70,” Gordon said. “We have attendees from all 50 states and 35 countries.”
KAABOO provided a myriad of musical choices spread out over four stages. The world-class musicians included some of the biggest acts in the music scene today; Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Guetta, P!nk, Muse, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Jason Derulo, Weezer, Jane’s Addiction (the group’s only 2017 scheduled performance), Alanis Morissette, Jackson Browne, X-Ambassadors, Machine Gun Kelly, The Wallflowers, Michael McDonald, Kesha, Ice Cube, DJ Diesel, and 40+ other top-tier musicians.
Some of the high spots of this weekend’s brilliant lineup included the Friday night headliner, the alternative rock icons Red Hot Chili Peppers. Opening with “Can’t Stop,” the Peppers ripped through the 90-minute set on the Sunset Cliffs stage, performing a variety of songs spanning their 34-year catalog. Included in the setlist were the mega punk-funk hit, 1991s "Give It Away,” together with “Californication,” and “By the Way,” tunes that kept the entire audience engaged and singing along.
Also sharing the Sunset Cliffs Stage just before the Peppers were the much-anticipated iconic power pop band, Weezer. Playing a roster of classic hits like “Perfect Situation,” “Buddy Holly,” and “Beverly Hills,” Weezer also performed new tracks off their upcoming eleventh studio album, Pacific Daydream.
An all-around exhilarating moment was when basketball great, Shaquille O’Neal (DJ Diesel), decked out in a Lakers T-shirt, hit the Grandview Stage and played an epic EDM DJ mix surrounded by dancing fans appareled in the proud purple and gold (L.A. Laker’s team colors). The four-time NBA champion even performed a few classic rock hits; Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”
Saturday night’s headliner was the pop singer/songstress, P!nk. Hitting the Sunset Cliffs Stage right on cue, she opened with her biggest-selling single, 2001s “Get the Party Started,” and that’s what she did. P!nk's set, bathed in a wash of colorful lights, included a mix of old and new songs, including tracks off her forthcoming album, Beautiful Trauma. Known for her high-octane dance numbers and aerial performances, P!nk connects with her audiences regardless if she is sailing through the air, or sitting on a stool performing a pared-down acoustic song. As day two closed out, and tens of thousands of her avid fans headed for the exits, there wasn’t a doubt P!nk knows how to throw a party, and luckily, we were all invited.
The three-day festival concluded Sunday night with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ 18-song set on the Sunset Cliffs Stage. Celebrating their 40th year on tour, Petty told the ecstatic audience, “Tonight, I’m going to (play) this show like it’s a one-sided vinyl record — and we’re going to drop the needle wherever it wants to land.” Some of the classics that then followed, “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Learning to Fly,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” “Refugee,” and the crowd’s apparent favorite sing-along performance of “Free Fallin’.”
As part of the “mixperience,” guests of KAABOO enjoyed local and regional gourmet cuisine and spirits created by today’s culinary rockstars, to include chef’s Michael Voltaggio and Robert Irvine at Palate. They laughed with nationally recognized comedians, including Arsenio Hall and David Spade at the indoor, seated comedy club, Humor Me. Art lovers appreciated the international, national, and local artists in this year’s contemporary art exhibition as well as inspiring mural artistry that was created on-site during the entire three-day event. The high-end, late-night dance parties entertained the 18+ crowd with award-winning DJs at Club Elevate. Spa, relaxation, and beauty services were a welcomed downtime at Indulgences.
“We are never complacent about the experience we will present. We always want to be new and fresh, and offer up some surprises — hopefully, delightful surprises,” says creator Gordon. “You’re not going to show up at KAABOO and say, ‘That’s exactly the way it looked last year,’ because that’s not what we’re about. Our model is constantly evolving and constantly trying to be a new and exciting journey for our guests.”
Gordon continued, “It has been a joy to see the relaxed smiles on everyone’s faces and hear the positive feedback and excitement from our guests. It is heartwarming to hear that our guests appreciate what we have created, and for that, we thank you.”
With year three successfully behind them, the KAABOO team has already announced early-bird tickets for the 2018 edition of the festival. It will be held next Sept. 14-16. Early bird prices for Hang Loose (general admission) three-day passes can be purchased for $209. Hang Five three-day passes are available for $799 and Hang Ten three-day passes are on sale for $2799.
Check out the festival's website for ticket options and all things KAABOO.