8 questions with KAABOO Del Mar


KAABOO Del Mar takes place this weekend in San Diego. The festival will feature performances by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Pink, Tom petty & the Heartbreakers, and so many more – plus comedy, art, food, drink, and even a spot to get your hair done. To find out what’s going on this year and what it’s like to put on a festival this big, Cactus Hugs linked up with Emily Byer, the VP of Marketing for KAABOO.

Cactus Hugs (CH): The music lineup of KAABOO is always very diverse, which seems to be a hit with a lot of people as most of us have a big range of musical tastes. What types of things do you look for when it comes to the artists who perform at KAABOO?

Emily Byer (EB): We strive to create a diverse lineup that appeals to a wide range of musical taste. When selecting bands, we look for a combination of alt-rock legends, today’s hitmakers, bucket list acts and everything in between. Our comedy lineup offers similar variety with some of today’s hottest acts mixed with legendary crowd favorites.

CH: Speaking of the lineup, Saturday has Jane’s Addiction, The Wallflowers, Ice Cube, and Muse all performing at the same time. Why do you hate me? (kidding) But seriously, why do you hate me? As a multi-stage event, some overlap is unavoidable with as many great performances as we offer. We do try to stagger the times of our acts to allow our guests to see as much music and comedy as possible.

EB: There has been an explosion of festivals in Southern California over the last few years to the point now where it seems that at least one happening every single weekend. What would you say separates KAABOO from the other fests? KAABOO is more than just a music festival – KAABOO combines live music, an indoor comedy festival, a gourmet culinary and craft beverage festival and a contemporary art festival all in one. KAABOO’s indoor ARTWORK experience is one of the largest art fairs in southern California. Our level of amenities is also a big differentiator – we are lucky to have great weather in San Diego, and we have plenty of indoor venues to escape the sun. We also offer all real restrooms – you will not find a porta-potty at KAABOO!


CH: It’s amazing how far festival food has come over the last few years and it looks like KAABOO has some really cool things going on this year. Can you fill us in a bit on what sorts of things we will be able to eat and drink this year?

EB: KAABOO’s PALATE experience offers a spread of delicious cuisine – with food ranging from lobster tacos to beignets to fresh seafood, and even cookie shots. We curate the menus specifically to appear to foodies and encourage that our vendors keep their ingredients high-end. We ensure that our vendors offer a selection of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. You’ll also find some healthy options, if that is what you prefer.

CH: Here in the Greater Palm Springs area, the promoters of the big fests have worked hard to not just have their events in the community but to actually be part of the community – with area improvements, tickets for locals, etc. How important has working with the local community been for KAABOO?

EB: It is very important to us to be an active member in our community. KAABOO’s charity program, KINDNESS, supports many charities in the local community. Through the Brees Dream Foundation, KAABOO donates $1 per ticket to four major charities in the San Diego community. Those charities are the The Recording Academy’s MusiCares, Armed Forces YMCA, Surfrider San Diego Chapter and Voices for Children. We also offer an opportunity for charities to raise funds for their organizations by selling KAABOO passes. We provide a local discount to members in the Del Mar and Solana Beach neighborhoods. You can learn more about our community relations program at www.kaaboodelmar.com/charity

CH: You’re now entering your third year of the festival and, like anything in life, there are always lessons you learn the more you do something. What would you say are some things that KAABOO has improved upon since its launch in 2015?

EB: We are always looking for ways to offer our guests an even greater guest experience! This year, we have moved a few stages to improve crowd flow and increase capacity at a few of our stages. In addition, we have increased the late night activities, including a new experience called CLUB ELEVATE. This is an after hours night club with great DJs where guests can continue the party, with lounge seating and bottle service available as an upgrade. We have expanded our Rideshare area through a partnership with UBER to include a dedicated ride share zone with food and beverage, restrooms and even entertainment. Rideshare guests will receive a dedicated stall number when their driver arrives to expedite the pickup service.

CH: There is so much happening at KAABOO with music, comedy, food, art, and you can even get a massage and your hair done at the festival. What would you say would be the ideal day for someone attending the festival? 

(Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage for Kaaboo Del Mar via imageSPACE)

EB: Plan your schedule in advance to make sure you catch everyone you want to see – you can customize your schedule on the app! Arrive early! This will be a great time to wander around the venue and get familiar with the layout of the experiences. Be sure to check out the art exhibitions in ARTWORK, grab a bite to eat in PALATE and grab your laugh passes for some of the comedy shows later in the day. For the ultimate party environment, our Vegas-style Day Club called BASK, allows you to splash around in our pool while catching all the shows at the Grandview Stage. After the headliner performances, be sure to stick around for our late night activities. We have one of the largest silent discos with live DJs, our night club called CLUB ELEVATE, and a pub with arcade games called Pub + Play. For transportation, we highly recommend you arrive via Rideshare or take one of our KAABOO Motorcoaches. Information on the bus routes available can be found at www.kaaboodelmar.com/directions

CH: Do you have any tips or hidden gems that will be at the festival this year you care to share?

EB: As mentioned before, BASK is one of my favorite experiences. I love the combination of the Vegas-style day club mixed with the large-scale performances. It is a fun place to hang out and has a great vibe. Passes are available to BASK, as well as private cabana rentals through our app.

KAABOO takes place this Friday, September 15 – 17 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. A limited number of one and two day passes are still available.  You can get more info here.

Cactus Hugs will be streaming many of the performances for free here.