Written By Arik Chapin
Photography- Justin Olageur
Kaaboo Festival, set at the Del Mar fairgrounds, CA on September 16th-18th, boasted headliners such as Snoop Dogg, No Doubt, The Roots, and The Killers, along with a cacophony of artists ranging from reggae to folk. Sporting $20 red bull and vodkas and Mercedes Benz sponsorship, Kaaboo was designed for the corporate animal. Unable to get off work in time to see Snoop Dogg at 8PM (performing at the same time as No Doubt, unfortunately), my friend and I opted to get on it Saturday.
Looking at the schedule there were odd gaps and schedule conflicts, but that’s part of festy life. Being familiars to dirty grinding festivals such as Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival and transformational gatherings like Lightning in a bottle, this festival was definitely a mellower drop in the bucket. We shared the bus ride to Kaaboo with a group of teens and a mom with a newborn baby. I asked the guys behind us if they made it to the Snoop Dogg set? He replied, “Yea, it was OK. He played a Katy Perry song.”
The Del Mar racetrack is a beautiful setup with clean bathrooms, multiple hangars to house artists and a massive area for a main stage. The "Experience" section of the Kaaboo website listed: palate, indulgences, artwork, encore, humor me, bask, crafty, and posh nosh. I’m really not sure what all of that means, but the vendors showed up. Kaaboo is creating a new type of festival environment that caters to both the 18-25 and 30+ demographic, as long as you've got the coin to afford it. It is not a festival like Coachella or Burning Man that will inspire the more budget conscious among us to save up all year. It's a festival for those who have $229 for a "Oh, that sounds fun..." sort of weekend.
We headed first to see Tribal Seeds. Very chill as expected, it was nice way to get into the rhythm. We cruised around, checked out the main stage for a bit and admired the fake volleyball setup, complete with hired models "playing." After that we knew it was time to hit the comedy stage. Jeff Garlin had an amazing set. He got on stage, looked at the sign behind him and said, “Do you know how offensive this is?” Ripping into the corporate vibe of Kaaboo, he delivered a searing set and poked fun at “The Shitting Crows,” who were, quote, un-quote, his friends.
Kaaboo seems like a bring-your-parents festival. We sauntered on over to see X, a punk band from the 70’s, and the crowd looked like it was mostly made up of people with children who attend EDC. I had dislocated my knee the week before and the ache was starting to return as my buzz wore off. As much as my brain wanted another drop of liquor, I couldn’t justify buying a $20 dollar drink to keep the party going. I looked at my friend as he let out a yawn, and said, I don’t think I can make it tomorrow with my knee all jacked like this. Part truth. Part giving us an easy way out. Are you going to go? He looked at me and said, “do I look like a forty year old white man with kids?”