KAABOO hits fifth year in stride

San Diego music festival returns to Del Mar on Sept. 13-15.


The end of summer is upon us, and that means, at least for San Diegans, it’s time to head back to the beach. From September 13 through 15, KAABOO Del Mar returns for another three days of music, art, comedy and food by the Pacific Ocean.

The 2019 version of KAABOO Del Mar not only hits its first real milestone this time around (that’s right — KAABOO turns a half-decade this fall), the festival has expanded far beyond its local beginnings in recent years.

Once billed as a “mixperience,” the music festival that doesn’t want to be called a music festival debuted at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in 2015. Now, it also hosts similarly eclectic fests in both Texas and the Cayman Islands.

While it remains to be seen if that bodes well for KAABOO’s future in San Diego (promoters signed a five-year deal — with up to five additional one-year extensions — in 2016), there’s no denying that it has done right by the city so far.

A solid and diverse roster of talent has played the event in the past, including Tom Petty, Pink, The Roots, GriZ, The Chainsmokers, No Doubt, David Guetta, Aerosmith, Flo Rida, Cheech & Chong, Fall Out Boy and many more.

But last year seemed to pack that much star power by itself, with a lineup that included Halsey, Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry, Post Malone, N.E.R.D., Robert Plant, Wiz Khalifa, Blondie and Gucci Mane.

This year has its fair share of seemingly “must see” moments as well, including a special, anniversary-based dual set from Snoop Dogg and Wu-Tang Clan (who both released their respective debut albums in 1993), and an appearance from Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Maren Morris, who, along with Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby, recently formed the country supergroup, The Highwomen.

And, of course, there are the headliners. Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews Band and Mumford & Sons will each anchor one of KAABOO Del Mar’s three nights. Fun fact: Festival closer Mumford & Sons will join the ranks of artists like Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp and Joan Baez when they receive the 2019 John Steinbeck Award from San Jose State and Stanford universities just a few days after KAABOO Del Mar ends.

While it also would be smart to check in on sets from the likes of reggae legends Toots & The Maytals, one-time Beastie Boys DJ Mixmaster Mike or synth-pop superstars Duran Duran, as always there are plenty of other things to do.

Kevin Smith, Wayne Brady and Bob Saget lead a solid comedy lineup that also includes Pete Holmes (HBO’s Crashing), Jimmy O. Yang (HBO’s Silicon Valley) and Tig Notaro.

Tom Green, the one-time MTV star and former Mr. Drew Barrymore, is also set to appear.

If it’s food you’re after, KAABOO has you covered there as well. Not only will celebrity chefs Richard Blais, Michael Mina, Antonia Lofaso and others be on hand, a variety of local eateries are setting up shop, from Morton’s The Steakhouse and Broad Street Oyster Co. to Madre! Oaxacan and Stoked Poke.

Art is everywhere at KAABOO Del Mar and 2019 is no exception. Once again, there will be murals, installations, galleries and dozens of exhibiting artists at the fairground, both selling their work and just making the surroundings better for all attendees.

For those who can fork over the additional charges, there are also things like private cabanas, spa treatments, a pool and VIP-only performances.

But whatever poison you pick (or can afford), KAABOO Del Mar probably has you covered. Happy fifth birthday, guys. Here’s to another five!


When: Sept. 13-15
Where: KAABOO Del Mar, Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.