Few festivals go above and beyond. Sure, the point of these three-day endeavors is to have the best time possible, considering most cost hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars for a mere weekend’s worth of music. For that price, the experience better be transformational. A decade ago, there used to only be a core three events to choose from, reigning supreme at the top of a music lover’s destination list. You remember those days: Cali’s Coachella, Bonnaroo down south and Chi-town’s Lollapalooza… with Van’s Warped Tour in between, of course. Nowadays, festivals are a dime a dozen and if you live anywhere near a main American metropolis, there are usually three or more happening within a few towns of each other on any given spring-summer-fall weekend. Festival season virtually lasts February to November these days and no one is complaining. That said, the struggle is real when it comes to determining which festival is more worthy than the others, for your hard-earned cash can only stretch so far. Enter, KAABOO Del Mar.
KAABOO Del Mar has rapidly become one of the most prestigious three-day festivals in the nation...
San Diego’s Del Mar Racetrack has been home to world-class events throughout its existence, most notably the Del Mar horseraces and the Del Mar Fair. Nestled between Solana Beach and La Jolla on the Pacific coast, Del Mar emits a luxurious vibe through upscale dining, shopping and discourse. Naturally, this part of town exceeds that of its neighbors, rendering it a prime candidate to host San Diego’s premiere interactive music, art, comedy and cuisine festival MIX-perience known familiarly as KAABOO. Now back in its fourth year, KAABOO Del Mar has rapidly become one of the most prestigious three-day festivals in the nation, comparable (and some would argue surpassing) that of its predecessors.
But, why is KAABOO so unique? Besides bringing top musical performers to the stage (with past headliners being Red Hot Chili Peppers, the late Tom Petty, No Doubt, Muse, Aerosmith and beyond), KAABOO Del Mar further satiates an attendee’s mind, body and soul with A-list comedians, renowned chefs, pamper stations, relaxation zones and too many hidden thrills to count. Get ready to strap on your explorerer hats, festy fans, for here are 10 things you probably didn’t know you could do at KAABOO.
1. Soak up the sun
KAABOO is proud to call San Diego home, so much so that the KAABOO crew brings the beach to you! Stationed throughout the fairgrounds are ‘soak zones’, with pop-up pools, shaded cabanas and stretches of sand to lounge, lay out and get your tan on. Can’t find them? Follow the sand!
2. Enjoy even more music
Speaking of pop-ups, KAABOO bands and artists tend to do extra intimate performances around the grounds each day – before or after their scheduled set! Vendors like Krave Jerky and others host acoustic performances, meet-and-greets and offer contest prizes, so keep your eye out for signs that promote special, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to interact with your fave artists.
3. Catch a bird’s eye view
Ever want to look out on a festival high in the sky? Well, KAABOO Del Mar will make your dreams come true with hot air balloon rides from sponsors like Hendrick’s Gin running around the clock, free or close to free!
4. Get styled & snipped
Every year, art vendors line the KAABOO-levard footpath that separates the main two stages, as well as pack into the air-conditioned building just adjacent to the Humor Me and Cuisine Stages (praise be to the AC, for it’s hot!!). Once there, you may notice KAABOO leisurely amenities intermingling between the artwork, with workers who will do your hair, fix your makeup or give you a full-body massage. Go ahead and get styled – you have time! To really get an interactive art experience, go find the Sniptease Clothing booth, where Melodie and her merry band of snippers will take whatever you’re wearing and turn it into a woven piece of art using nothing but scissors and their bare hands… and they do so while you wear it! If you’re worried about durability, don’t fret: your one-of-a-kind piece of clothing won’t fall apart in the wash.
5. Watch music collide with food collide with sports
KAABOO likes to break boundaries. Do you want to see Shaq DJ sporting full Laker garb? Do you want to witness Kelis literally making milkshakes to bring all the boys to the yard? KAABOO takes cross-sections from all pop culture and throws it in a blender. One could only ponder how this trend is going to continue for the 4th Annual!
6. Laugh your @$ $ off
Throw the boundaries away completely with KAABOO’s Humor Me Stage. Over the past three years, comedians have had KAABOO audiences falling out of their chair, such as David Spade, Nick Swardson, Janeane Garofalo, et al. 2018 promises Craig Ferguson, Craig Robinson, Kevin Nealon, Nick Offerman, Pauly Shore and more, so get ready to ROFL.
7. Drink free Don Julio all day
VIP and VVIP packages may be steep when it comes to ticket pricing, but the perks are priceless. Enjoy free drinks, all day every day, from premium brands such as Don Julio while standing next to all the artists you love, just by upgrading your passes. Let's raise a glass to that!
8. Bring the kids
This fun fact may seem conflicting to the last hidden gem about drinking free tequila the minute you step foot on the grounds, but KAABOO Del Mar still allows all ages to come and join the festivities. Just be sure to drink responsibly enough to remember your kids are there. Challenging, but doable.
9. Stay after hours
The party isn’t over after the headliners leave the stage. When it seems it's time to go home, head on over to KAABOO’s Vegas-style late-night Club Elevate where you can rage until the wee hours of the morning. What’s Vegas-style, you ask? Well, imagine a cirque du soleil meets parkour meets Transformers vibe set to top EDM beats. These acrobats defy gravity, defy logic, defy explanation. It's simply mind-blowing.
10. Escape the hangover
Okay, so you stayed up late. You haven't slept in days, in fact. You shelled out so much cash for a weekend of fun and now, you feel like death before it’s close to over. Don’t stay home, KAABOO has your back! Straggle and stumble your way over to one of the various instaMEDS booths, where certified professionals and nurses can administer electrolyte-infused IVs to get you back in the game within the hour. Even if you aren’t necessarily dying, for a reasonable amount of money, you can choose from a menu of Vitamin C, B12 and multivitamin boosters to get you hydrated and having the time of your life without taking such a huge toll on your body.
To be honest, there is so much to do at KAABOO Del Mar, that this list barely scrapes the surface. To be immersed in the MIX-perience yourself, tickets are still available for the 4th Annual going down this upcoming September 14th-16th. For more information or to purchase your 2018 passes, visit www.kaaboodelmar.com.
Photography & videos by Kristy Rose, Chris Gomez & Celina Porter