Del Mar fairgrounds deems KAABOO a success

The second KAABOO proved the three-day festival needs some improvements, but overall, Del Mar Fairgrounds officials deemed it a success.

“Overall, I think it was a good event,” said Tim Fennell, CEO and general manager of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which runs the fairgrounds.

The inaugural KAABOO debuted last September with more than 100 acts on seven stages, attracting 50,000 attendees. The attendance during the second annual event last month, Fennell said, was up 71 percent.

Although deemed a success, Fennell said the three-day festival does need to improve traffic and crowd control.

Last year festival organizers utilized shuttles and offsite parking, which Fennell said organizers did not do this year. KAABOO received four complaints about traffic and two complaints about ride-sharing services this year, according to a report submitted to the Del Mar City Council.

“I suspect that we’re going to strongly encourage them to take a hard look at offsite shuttling and better handling of Uber and Lyft,” Fennell said.

As for crowd control, Fennell said festival organizers need to better craft next year’s schedule.

When two outdoor concerts ended at the same time on Sept. 17, crowds from both tried to enter another venue. The situation left the venue filled to capacity and the entrance gridlocked. Sheriff’s officials had to step in.

“You don’t necessarily want two big stages ending at the same time,” Fennell said.

Fairgrounds officials were pleased with the steps organizers took this year to reduce noise levels.

Last year 91 people made 123 calls to a KAABOO hotline to complain about noise. This year 46 people made 56 calls.

“There’s a learning curve,” Fennell said. “There are growing pains that took place.”

KAABOO representatives will come before the fair board with a full report next month.

Fennell said the fairgrounds will work with KAABOO organizers to make sure that next year’s festival runs smoother. KAABOO is set to return Sept. 15-17, 2017, to the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

“The goal is to obviously have everybody here safe and secure, and have great customer service,” he said.