KAABOO returns to Del Mar Fairgrounds Sept. 16-18

A view of the fans and the atmosphere during KAABOO Del Mar 2015.
A view of the fans and the atmosphere during KAABOO Del Mar 2015.
( / C. Flanigan/WireImage for KAABOO Del Mar )

After a successful debut last year, KAABOO is set to return to Del Mar in September.

With an even bigger and better lineup, the three-day festival will feature about 100 performances on multiple stages Sept. 16-18 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, including headliners Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band, Aerosmith, Jack Johnson and Fall Out Boy.

“We’re getting close to game time,” said KAABOO founder and CEO Bryan Gordon. “I’m just anxious for September to come.”

It was a gamble when Gordon came up with the concept and brought his vision to Del Mar last year.

A lifelong lover of live music, Gordon wanted to move beyond famous music gatherings such as Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza and transform the festival scene. His goal was to create a festival geared toward an older crowd, rather than target the younger generation.

“Music festivals bring people together in an extraordinary and healthy way,” said Gordon, adding that going to concerts and festivals with his 23-year-old daughter has been a bonding experience.

“But most of these events are really not very comfortable and really not well put together,” he said. “I really wanted to bring creature comforts, and in fact, some measure of luxury and a journey of exploration into the experience with live music.”

More than 50,000 people attended the first-ever KAABOO, which kicked off with more than 100 acts on seven stages, including headliners No Doubt, The Killers and Zac Brown Band. Rolling Stone, Gordon said, named KAABOO one of the top five festivals in the country last year.

“We were thrilled with the results from last year,” Gordon said. “Most importantly, you could just see big smiles on people’s faces and this look of real contentment and real relaxation. People had a good time, and that’s what it’s all about.”

KAABOO organizers anticipate a larger crowd this year. Though a little more than a month away, the most costly VIP package for this year’s event sold out weeks ago.

From country to pop, and rap to rock, the long list of scheduled acts also include Daryl Hall and John Oates, Lenny Kravitz, Goo Goo Dolls, Flo Rida, Gavin DeGraw, Ludacris, and dozens of other artists.

“We started working on the lineup even before KAABOO happened last year,” Gordon said. “We’ve already started work on next year’s lineup.”

KAABOO will be back at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for at least five more years. In April, KAABOO organizers and the 22nd District Agricultural Association Board of Directors, which runs the state-owned fairgrounds, signed a contract that will keep the festival at the fairgrounds for the next five years, with up to five one-year extensions.

“It’s a great, great relationship,” Gordon said. “We’re thrilled to be there. The venue is just absolutely extraordinary in so many ways.”

A view of the atmosphere at the comedy stage during the 2015 KAABOO Del Mar at the Del Mar Fairgorunds.
A view of the atmosphere at the comedy stage during the 2015 KAABOO Del Mar at the Del Mar Fairgorunds.
( / Brian Spady/WireImage for KAABOO Del Mar )

Billed as a “mix-perience,” KAABOO combines a diverse mix of music, comedy, contemporary art exhibitions, culinary offerings and craft libations.

Back by popular demand and doubling in capacity, KAABOO’s Humor Me Comedy Club will host more than two dozen performers throughout the weekend, including T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Thomas Middleditch and Jimmy O. Yang from the HBO comedy series “Silicon Valley,” as well as comedians Dana Carvey, Cheech & Chong, Darrell Hammond, Jeff Ross, Janeane Garofalo, and others.

The second annual KAABOO ArtworK Experience will showcase a variety of contemporary art, including live mural painting, art installations and exhibitions by dozens of international, national and regional artists.

At PALATE, festivalgoers can sample local and regional dishes and pair with drinks from wineries, craft distilleries and local craft breweries. Beyond PALATE, there will also be several pop-up shops offering food and drinks on the fairgrounds.

“We’re hopeful to be in Del Mar for the next decade, and frankly, beyond,” Gordon said. “We have very long-term plans to really settle in and make the Del Mar Fairgrounds and Del Mar home, and to continue to grow and refine the experience there.”

Gates will open at noon each day. Outdoor music will end at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and at 9 p.m. on Sunday night.

Prices for three-day passes range from $279 to $2,499, but the $2,499 “Hang Ten” passes have already sold out. “Hang Five” passes are still available for $779, as well as “Hang Loose” passes for $279. Both include a variety of benefits.

Neighborhood discounts are available for Del Mar and Solana Beach residents. Locals should purchase their KAABOO pass by calling the box office at 855-798-5995, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Eligibility will be confirmed by address and billing zip code.

For more about KAABOO, including the full lineup, visit