For only its second year, KAABOO Del Mar has provided a festival “mix-perience” with unique offerings for a diverse section of fans. Whether looking for high-end, low-end, daytime, nighttime, new music or old, festival organizers made a concerted effort to get it all covered.
And thus far, patrons of the 3-day festival overlooking the ocean have mimicked that same pattern - young, old, in between, students, CEOs, music fans, onlookers, and of all diversities.
DiscoverSD braved the KAABOO crowd (estimated to be the biggest to date) on Saturday to get to know a few them.
David, 24; Tomas, 24; Gill, 25; and Javier, 26
New York and Orange County
Who they came to see: DJ Snoopadelic, Flo Rida, Ludacris, and Cypress Hill
These four lifelong friends grew up together in Massachusetts and three of them are recent graduates of the State University of New York (SUNY). The only SUNY non-graduate and non-current Empire State resident, Javier, moved to Irvine for work two years ago.
Their 3-day adventure is a reunion of sorts, a chance to “check out California” and “reconnect with Javi” at an event near his new home. But more than just check out some of their favorite hip-hop acts, this crew had one main agenda.
“We’re here to party. Hard,” said Gill. “We don’t know when the four of us will be together again so we’re going to make the most of this.”
Ingrid, 8; Kaelyn, 8; Sydney, 8; and Alex, 6
Passes: Saturday, single day
Who they came to see: Karl Denson, and The Chainsmokers
This fearsome foursome of girl power was pumped to be at KAABOO on Saturday when DSD spoke with them while they were watching Lenny Kravitz. Identical twins Kaelyn and Sydney were brought to the festival by their mom, Janice, and had their friends Ingrid and Alex (sisters) with them. Although no one in their group had yet hit double digits, they were no strangers to live music. Kaelyn and Sydney had been to concerts by ZZ Top and Ziggy Marley (among others) before, and Ingrid had a good time watching a “Johnny Cash band on the 4th of July” this year.
But some things are just better than music. When asked what the best thing she’d seen all day was, Kaelyn did not hesitate in answering “ice cream!”
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Ken, 71; and Terri, 68
Passes: Saturday, single-day
Who they came to see: Flo Rida, Aerosmith, and Ludacris
Ken and Terri are a local couple who only live a few miles from the venue. While they stay clear of the areas surrounding the fairgrounds on the days they’re not there, they haven’t felt any negative day-to-day impact from the festival so far. “It’s better than the fair,” said Ken. “Compared with putting up with that for six weeks, or even the races, it’s nothing.”
Fresh from Burning Man this year, Ken is no casual music fan. He’d love to see The Killers return to Del Mar, or the addition of reggae up-and-comers Stickfigure and the good-timey fingerpicking of Greensky Bluegrass.
Although DSD caught up with Ken and Terri as they were leaving Aerosmith, their highlight of the day was Flo Rida.
“Old guys like good music, too,” Ken said with a smile.
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to email@example.com.