By Salomon Maya
The first music festival according to scholars was in the year 582 BCE. Held in honor of the Greek god Apollo, the Pythian Games sat neatly between the original Olympic Games and featured music, dance and art competitions. Since then, music festivals have gone through numerous metamorphosis from festivals during the Middle Ages to more contemporary festivals seen through out the world. These more contemporary festivals offer visitors a wide array of entertainment, making todays music festivals “not your grandmothers Woodstock.” From Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas to Coachella in Indio, California, the Southwest part of the U.S. is no stranger to these jubilees. However, if you’ve ever been to either, you’ll notice that you have to have a Liam Neeson certain set of skills to survive them. EDC will ravage your eyeballs as well as your eardrums with house, techno, and electronica while Coachella offers a more range of musical acts however inundating your ever-dermal crevice with sand, dirt, and maybe something that isn’t listed on the periodic table.
Now both of these “local” festivals cater to a specific demographic. If you like the type of music offered, I’ll more than likely guarantee your satisfaction with either Coachella or EDC. But when it comes to my particular demographic (mid-thirties married father) I believe I’m done with EDC glow sticks and Coachella camping. If ever there was a perfect music festival to save me from my despair…cue super hero anthem and scrolling title sequence with baritone male voice over…well there is.
Now the people at KAABOO probably wouldn’t want me calling it a festival since it actually says on its own website stating KAABOO is “a new kind of entertainment and arts experience designed around comfort, quality and good times.” Well if that doesn’t hit my demographics perennial dad bods bulls eye nothing will. According to that same website, KAABOO was created by music lovers for music lovers. An adult escape, uniquely curated to appeal to all five of your senses, with world-class music, hilarious comedy, incredible cuisine, craft libations, inspiring contemporary art, and personal indulgences.
Now in its third year inhabiting the Del Mar Fairgrounds, I recently spoke with the Vice President of Marketing for KAABOO, Emily Byer, and asked her about this music/comedy/art/food “non” festival.
L’CHAIM MAGAZINE: What brought KAABOO to San Diego?
EMILY BYER: Our founder and CEO Bryan Gordon had been conjuring up this concept of a music festival that had elevated type of experiences and knew that the space to have it had to have that upscale feel to it and really wanted a destination location. And so the Del Mar Fairgrounds were presented to us they were excited about the opportunity and have been a great partner and we were able to really make that dream come to fruition with that location.
L’CHAIM: How did your team come up with the KAABOO concept?
EB: It’s really a four-pronged approach with art being that fourth pillar [music, comedy and food being the other three]. It came from Bryan Gordon’s vision of creating this festival experience for adults to enjoy and really wanted the music to be a front-runner but also to have these other experiences that adults really feel like they can enjoy, so when we set up to create KAABOO we had the comedy experience in an indoor seated venue so it really feels like an actual comedy club so that’s a big differentiator compared to some other festivals that have comedy in a tent where it’s not exactly the comedy environment that someone might be accustomed to when they walk into a real comedy club. From the art side, the experience is very different from what you see at a typical festival in that we have a massive amount of public art and live art being created onsite in addition to the indoor contemporary art fair that we call artwork and that experience alone is an experience that people who collect art or enjoy looking at art come for where they may not be as keyed in on the music side and it’s really the same for the culinary and craft beverage experience where we’re really curating that experience to appeal to somebody who is a foodie who might go to a traditional food and wine festival and then come to KAABOO, having learned about KAABOO through the food channels, and then discovering the music side once they’re onsite.
L’CHAIM: Since comedy is so objective how did your team choose stand-up comedians for the KAABOO lineup?
EB: It’s looking at what’s going to appeal to that multi-generational demographic so someone like an Arsenio Hall is going to really appeal a little bit older demographic where as Sebastian Maniscalco has a broad audience, younger demographic. So [Talent Team] just set those pieces into the puzzle of how do we create a lineup that will have a little something for everybody to enjoy and also some new up and comers for people to discover while they’re there.
L’CHAIM: With EDC and Coachella being large regional festivals, where does KAABOO fit?
EB: We have a lot of people who have either said, I’ve outgrown other festivals or never were really into that festival theme but enjoy the idea of live music and are attracted to the KAABOO model because it does have those higher end amenities and have the other experiences that make it not just about the music so we really draw from everybody from the college crowd up to 55 to 60 year old age range then some outliers on either side. We have some people who bring their kids; one of our VIPs is excited to bring her 10-year-old daughter to experience the music with her so we really draw out a multi-generational experience and people feel comfortable bringing, whether it be college kids or a little bit younger aged, into the festival.
L’CHAIM: So KAABOO really is for everyone, regardless of age or past festival experience?
EB: The entire event itself is really geared towards the adult audience but it’s not straying away from kids. So what we always tell people if they want to bring their kids, they’re welcome to but it’s not like there are designated areas for kids. One of the great things about the Del Mar Fairgrounds is that we aren’t isolated to beer gardens so you can purchase alcohol anywhere in the venue and take it with you so you’re not isolated into one area. 18 and up can be [at KABOO] unaccompanied [by adult], anyone under 18 we ask they be accompanied by an adult.
L’CHAIM: Give our readers one hidden gem in your eyes, whether it be music, comedy, art or food, we’ll see at this years KAABOO.
EB: From the music side I would say Emily Warren is one of the acts I’m most excited to see. Emily was on our lineup last year as one of our emerging artists, she also writes for The Chainsmokers, so she got up onstage with them last year and then her career has just exploded, so I’m super excited for her and seeing where she has gone since last year… as far as general experiences, I would say Bask is one of the experiences onsite that is really neat and fun. It’s our pool party at the Grandview Stage and you can get weekend passes or even rent a cabana and see the Grandview Stage from there. So you’re getting this Vegas-style pool party while you’re watching the action.
[YOU CAN CUT THIS IF THERE ISNT ENOUGH ROOM]
L’CHAIM: What’s in store for KAABOO 2018?
EB: More of the same but we’re always looking forward to tweaking anything we can to make it better, listening to what people liked, what they didn’t like. From the standpoint of the lineup, we can always look forward to multi-generational and up and comers [acts]. Some throw back rock to contemporary hot acts that are in the market right now.
Check it out: Kaaboodelmar.com