Here’s what it’s like at the KAABOO Del Mar festival

(photo; KAABOO Del Mar)

KAABOO Del Mar is taking place this weekend in North San Diego with a lineup that includes MUSE, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink, Tom Petty, and a ton more (btw, you can watch a lot of the performances streamed for free right here).  Here’s what I experienced at Day One of the event.

As the mecca of craft beer, Stone Brewing’s World Bistro and Gardens was on the way, the wife and I decided to have some lunch and some delicious beer there for a bit of a pregame.

I know this is not directly KAABOO related, but dammit, this place is just amazing and it deserves some recognition.

From there it was on to the fest where traffic wasn’t great, but not terrible to get in to the $35 per-day parking lots.

Luckily, parking wasn’t too far from the entrance at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and it was onto KAABOO!

The first thing you notice is there is some type of art displayed or being created everywhere you look…

This particular piece was freakin’ huge!

Hey wait.  Is that Shaq?

(photo: KAABOO Del Mar)

Why yes it is.

KAABOO also has some live performers as well, including this dude juggling while riding a bike…

And this woman doing some cool tricks on top of a tall pole…

There were also a few places to get a haircuts, because sure, why not?

Even though the festival was on the beach, it did feel a little warm under the sun – so it was cool that they had plenty of free hydration stations on hand…

There were also some solid food choices. Of course it being a festival in Southern California, you-know-who was there…

We opted for, and I did not know this was a thing, chicken-fried lobster tail.

Dude, this thing was delicious!!! I seriously could have eaten twelve of them.

Note: you can order this all year at The Oceanaire in the Gaslamp – and you should because it’s sooo good.

KAABOO also had some tasty, though not-inexpensive, drink options.

A beer sets you back anywhere from $12 to $15 and booze anywhere from $14 – $18 (so yeah, we were glad we stopped by Stone first). There were several craft breweries as well as some specialty craft cocktail sites. The wife and I figured why not just spend the extra couple of bucks and get something good – so she got a cucumber gin thing and I got a Manhattan (above) and an Irish mule


These days festivals are full of surprises and at KAABOO, there’s a nice surprise right there for everyone to see. Next to the main stage, there is a hot air balloon.

And, if you knew where to go (the Hendrick’s Gin booth), you could sign up for a free ride.

Look at that view!

The tethered balloon took us a good 40-50 feet into the air for a good 10 minutes and had some awesome views both of the scenery and, well just look up.

The music of the fest was ecletic and fun. We opted for DJ Shaq Diesel (yes, that is his stage name), X-Ambassadors, Michael McDonald (Yah Mo Be There!), David Guetta, and the Chili Peppers. This had us missing some standup from Patton Oswalt – which was a bummer, but it’s a festival, so what are you gonna do?

The staging was pretty good. Nothing was too crowded and you could have a good view of the stage and screens at all of KAABOO’s stages.

(photo; KAABOO Del Mar)
(photo: KAABOO Del Mar)

We ended up leaving a few songs into the Chili Peppers, which ended up being smart as, according to twitter, traffic got pretty bad getting out of the parking lot at the end of their set. I’m thinking next time, taking the train in might be the best option.

Overall, it was a pretty fun day. And it’s just the first of three at the festival.

For more info check out KAABOO.  For the live stream, click here.