KAABOO executive shares insight on festival


KAABOO Del Mar returns to the fairgrounds for its third consecutive year from Sept. 15 to Sept. 17.

This time around, 70 musical acts such as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, P!nk, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse and Weezer will grace the event’s stages. The festival will also include works from visual artists, food from craft vendors and more experiences.

Jason Felts, chief brand and marketing officer of KAABOO, who now lives in Los Angeles but grew up in Del Mar, answered questions about the festival’s past, present and future.

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What are you looking forward to most this year at KAABOO?

Bask [Day Club]! I love our differentiated concept of having a Vegas-style day club onsite at KAABOO near the Grandview Stage. This is such a fun party zone. It offers views of the stage while hanging out poolside. I think it’s an amazing way to wrap up the summer with friends.

Is there anything new or different this year that fans can be excited about?

We have relocated a few of the stages to improve the onsite traffic flow to allow guests to move around more freely. We’ve added a new experience called Club Elevate, a late-night dance club. This experience will include live DJs and the option to purchase table seating with bottle service. And, we have added additional infrastructure to our rideshare area. By partnering with Uber, we are ensuring a seamless experience this year for our guests when arriving and departing.

Do you have any favorite memories of KAABOO?

My favorite KAABOO memory so far was watching Jimmy Buffett hanging out in the crowd as just another guest dancing and enjoying the music of another band performing. I found it so flattering that one of our headlining artists decided to come back the day after he performed to enjoy the KAABOO experience himself as a guest.

How would you say KAABOO has evolved over the years?

KAABOO will continue to change and get even better each year as we refine our special formula for our world-class event. This year, one of the biggest changes is moving the Grandview Stage into the east parking lot. We have also taken steps to improve our guest experience by offering new cashless wristbands that will enable guests to move through our bar and food lines faster. And, we have made improvements to our rideshare program, in partnership with UBER, to provide guests with a dedicated waiting area that offers food and drinks, entertainment, and even bathrooms. We had record-breaking Uber use last year and are excited to be offering an expanded footprint for an improved experience.

What attracted you to Del Mar for KAABOO years ago?

KAABOO is really shifting the paradigm for festivals. I am an avid festival-goer and I attend dozens of festivals each year. You really feel a difference when you’re at KAABOO. From the diverse lineup, to the incredible art exhibitions, to the fact that you will never see a port-a-potty, KAABOO has an upscale feeling which I believe the residents of Del Mar and all of San Diego appreciate.

Why does Del Mar continue to be the ideal place for KAABOO?

The Del Mar Fairgrounds is a great partner and the venue lends itself to our vision. With the infrastructure in place and a staff and management team at the Del Mar Fairgrounds that share our vision for creating a world-class live music event, it is an ideal location.

What do you envision for the festival’s future?

We look forward to having a long-term relationship with this venue. Each year, we will continue to spread the word about the uniqueness of KAABOO and beauty of the area by inviting guests, both local and worldwide, to enjoy our three-day event. KAABOO Del Mar will always be our flagship venue and we are proud to call San Diego/Del Mar our home.

What would you say sets KAABOO apart from other music festivals?

Our lineup is very diverse and arguably more diverse than any other festival. KAABOO truly appears to a more mature demographic. We often have multiple generations enjoying the event together. Also, KAABOO’s art program is another substantial differentiator. Our art program is more robust than most festivals with both the large-scale onsite murals and the full contemporary art exhibition inside ARTWORK. One other major differentiator is all of the experiences on-site – KAABOO is truly more than just music. Our comedy experience, Humor Me, is an indoor, seated comedy club. Our Bask Day Club is comparable to a Vegas-style day club with CLUB Elevate as the nighttime equivalent. The culinary spread in PALATE is also very different. At KAABOO, we strive to have a wide assortment of gourmet food and craft libations available, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. Our PALATE experience really is a mini food and beverage festival within the greater KAABOO event co-mingled within the ARTWORK experience. I am personally excited about the dessert options, as well.