KAABOO Festival Day 1 @ Del Mar Fairgrounds – 09/18/2015
Full coverage of KAABOO Festival Day 2 can be viewed here.
Full coverage of KAABOO Festival Day 3 can be viewed here.
With a laid back vibe consistent with the local lifestyle, the inaugural KAABOO Music Festival took over the Del Mar Fairgrounds Friday, August 18th, 19th and 20th. The 3 day event transformed the grounds into a giant party, complete with over 100 musical acts spread out over 5 stages. An estimated 40k daily fans made their way to the suburban San Diego venue to partake in a festival that has learned much from other festivals. Advertised as ‘port-o-potty free’ event, the organizers stayed true to their word and supplied a generous mix of permanent restrooms and upgraded temporary bathroom options. Staffed hydration stations, supplying free water to all were a welcome site as temperatures daily reached into the mid-80s.
Throughout the weekend, art installations were modified daily by the artists—evolving and morphing throughout the 3 days. Those needing a break from music were also offered comedic options, where the air-conditioned ‘Humor Me’ building played host to top tier comedians Lewis Black, Joel McHale and Jeff Garlin. While many local breweries and eateries were present, there was also many high end culinary options that bordered on posh dining. Over 25 locally celebrated chefs provided an improved festival menu for those wanting to shy away from standard pizza and sausages.
The main stage (dubbed ‘Sunset Cliffs’) was epic in size—complete with a functional boardwalk and cabanas for the corporate types. Sand (in the general admission area) and artificial turf (VIP) were a welcome addition to the site, making the surroundings feel less like a giant parking lot. On the outskirts of the main stage area, a pool (sponsored by Ciroq Vodka) and volleyball court helped complete the Southern California vibe. As festivals continue to evolve, so does the VIP experience. Many levels of premium access was offered for KAABOO, those lucky enough to grab a HANG 10 package were greeted with elevated seating and many other perks.
As for the musical highlights, day one included a broad mix of musical acts such as country artists Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow to alternative acts Fitz & The Tantrums, Foster The People, Dirty Heads and the night’s main stage headliner No Doubt. As a 10pm curfew set in nightly for outdoor music the party shifted indoors to the Encore venue, where acts like Griz, Icona Pop and The White Panda entertained fans past 2am.
Many of the bands in attendance over the weekend seemed to have local flavor, with a majority of the bands possessing ties to SoCal. Most notably was Orange County’s No Doubt…with no album to support the band has been criss-crossing the US attending various festivals this summer. The act’s iconic lead singer, Gwen Stefani was here usual charismatic self—but with a catch as reports have announced a recent separation and impending divorce from her husband and Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale. Gwen went as far to say that many of the songs that were played that evening had new meanings to her due to recent developments. Lyrics on hits “New” and “Ex-Girlfriend” were modified slightly, it was apparent to all in attendance that Gwen was directing the lyric changes toward Gavin Rossdale.
Opening the night with “Hella Good” and “It’s My Life”, the band had the crowd in the palm of their hands from the onset. Their breakthrough album Tragic Kingdom turns 20 years old next month, no surprise that the setlist comprised 7 tracks off this groundbreaking album. Many of which were presented later on in the performance, including “Bathwater”, “Happy Now?” and “Sunday Morning”.
Taking a break midway through the set, the band sat down for a brief 3 song acoustic set that included “Simple Kind Of Life”, “Magic’s In The Makeup” and “Excuse Me Mr.”. Bassist Tony Kanal and lead guitarist Tom Dumont displayed a ton of energy throughout the set, but always coming in a distant second place to their lead singer. A four song encore culminated with “Spiderwebs”, completing a solid 20 song set that ended the main stage’s day one in triumphant fashion.
The only complaints heard around the venue was in regards to the scheduling conflict that pitted No Doubt against Snoop Dogg, who was given an identical 8:25pm start time. Many fans were seen migrating throughout the venue to catch pieces of both acts. Day one ended with a bang, many in attendance could only look forward to a full Saturday schedule that included The Roots, AWOLNATION, Counting Crows, Slightly Stoopid, Young The Giant, Neon Trees and the headliner—Zac Brown Band.
While this event does not replace the now defunct Street Scene, it definitely brings what is now a blossoming festival market back to San Diego. With a multi-year agreement with the fairgrounds in place we can look forward to next September already.
No Doubt Setlist: Hella Good | It’s My Life | Underneath It All | Settle Down | Ex-Girlfriend | Hey Baby | Sparkle |New | Simple Kind Of Life | Magic’s In The Makeup | Excuse Me Mr. | Sunday Morning | Bathwater | Happy Now? | Don’t Speak | Just A Girl Encore: Guns Of Nazarene | End It On This | Push & Shove | Spiderwebs
No Doubt Photo Gallery
Sheryl Crow Photo Gallery
Foster the People Photo Gallery
Delta Rae Photo Gallery