Coachella for adults? This month, cool meets SoCal swanky at new festival Kaaboo in Del Mar.
Knock ‘em dead! Brandon Flowers of The Killers will headline at Kaaboo.
There’s no rule, of course, against adults of a certain age attending Coachella, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits or the like, even if port-a-potties, greasy pizza, long lines for cheap—yet pricey—beer, and hot, sweaty crowds aren’t great incentives. But Kaaboo, a new festival debuting September 18–20 at San Diego’s Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds, is changing all that.
The music mega-event is focused not only on great live music—the lineup includes headliners No Doubt, The Killers, and Zac Brown Band alongside Snoop Dogg, 311, Fitz and the Tantrums, The Roots, Counting Crows, and Minnie Driver—but also on a curated suite of polished and pristine amenities to boot. Want a blowout between sets? Easy. A hot shave and a cigar? No problem. A couple swings on a golf simulator, a glass of small-batch tequila with a bite from SD hot spot Herringbone, or a dip in the pool? Done, done, and done.
This sounds-too-good-to-be-true weekend is the work of Sausalito-based serial entrepreneur Bryan Gordon, who after attending many a music festival with his 22-year-old daughter, wanted something more. “I’ve been a lifelong music fan and just a fan of experiences,” says Gordon. “Over the years I’ve attended a number of different festivals, I’ve been a longtime patron of Cirque du Soleil, I’ve watched the evolution of Las Vegas—all that blended together in my mind’s eye and helped me develop a recipe for a more elevated experience for adults.”
The 53-year-old aims to reach those between 20 and 65 who love the experience of live music and discovering new bands but also appreciate upscale food and drink, art—one highlight is the gallery-like pavilion known as Artwork—pampering, and even comedy (an impressive lineup of comedians is set to perform inside an air-conditioned structure with comedy club-like seating and food and drink service). Though there’s an ocean breeze, producers are also building a sandy beach with a pool and cabanas. After all, even die-hard music fans need a little R&R in the midst of a 12-hour day.
The musicians performing at Kaaboo—which Gordon says is “100 percent a rock festival”—were chosen for their relevance, diversity, and performance quality. To that end, Bonnie Raitt, who has been performing for decades, was booked alongside relative newcomer The Apache Relay.
As for the name, Gordon says it’s a fictional word that occurred to him at 5 am around a fire pit after imbibing too much tequila. Like his concept, “some form of lightning metaphorically struck,” he says, “and Kaaboo was discovered—it had the right sound. We knew we had found it.”