Photo By: Hunter Cole
Photo By: Hunter Cole

Catch Big-Name Celebrities Like Wu-Tang Clan and Boys 2 Men at This Year’s KAABOO Festival

The Top 5 Reasons to Visit Del Mar’s Very Own KAABOO Festival

Written By: Erik Hale
Photography By: Hunter Cole KAABOO Festival

Over the past half-decade, KAABOO Del Mar has become synonymous with the close of summer in San Diego County. Returning for its fifth year to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, KAABOO, which sold out last year, has returned with a lineup that might yield its most fun-packed weekend to date. Whether you are a chef groupie with an appetite, a Dave Matthews Band fan or a street art enthusiast, this seaside festival will be worth the price of admission.


1 | Decades in the Making KAABOO Festival

KAABOO‘s popularity can most widely be attributed to its performing acts’ diversity in genre and decade. You “Can’t Fight the Feeling” of singing along to ‘70s-ish iconic soft-rockers REO Speedwagon, wax nostalgic with ‘80s bands The Cult and Duran Duran, pretend you know all the lyrics to “Motownphilly” from ‘90s R&B powerhouse Boys 2 Men or dance your ass off to this millennium’s uber-talented DJ Mark Ronson. The lineup is anchored by arena-stuffing bands like The Dave Matthews Band and Kings of Leon, but we are personally making the trek to watch the Snoop Dogg + Wu-Tang Clan collaboration.

Native Knowledge: Make sure to at least be in the general vicinity of the Trestles Stage at 2:35 p.m. on Saturday so you can sing along to “No Rain” by Blind Melon.


2 | The Strokes

Much of the “draw” of this festival is aesthetic. You can pretend you know about art at locations all over the festival grounds. KAABOO has a killer lineup of muralists and exhibitions from artists like Spanish street artist SABEK (who has painted his colorful and chaotic murals on buildings from Russia to Monaco) and Australian-born contemporary artist Georgia Hill. We are most excited to see Oakland’s own Kalani Ware wield his spray cans and brushes.

Native Knowledge: KAABOO cares! The festival has created KAABOO Kindness: Land + Sea, an initiative meant to spread sustainability knowledge inside and outside of the festival grounds, encouraging respect for our land and coastal communities. 


3 | It’s Kind of a Foodie Festival KAABOO Festival

OK Food Network nerds, this place is for you, so just DVR your reruns of “Chopped” for this weekend and come watch some in-person culinary displays. You can stuff your ears listening to featured chefs Michael Mina and (our past cover and favorite local chef) Richard Blais, or stuff your faces with Afters Ice Cream, Monsters of Fries, Rice Balls of Fire and Bling Bling Dumpling.


4 | A Barrel of Laughs

You didn’t think you could escape your weekend workout, did you? Work out those ab muscles with some feel-good belly laughs over at Humor Me, KAABOO’s indoor comedy club. Catch a full lineup of nationally-recognized comedians like Netflix sensation Bert Kreischer, Grammy-nominated Bob Saget and Emmy award winner Wayne Brady, just to name a few! We guarantee you’ll be smiling even before the show starts—Humor Me gives guests a fabulous chance to beat the heat in their comfortable, air-conditioned space.


5 | Treat Yo-Self

KAABOO has found a way to set itself apart from the (now it seems weekly) addition of local music festivals. Every festival has food, almost all now have a heavy dosage of art and a few have comics. KAABOO has set itself apart with a pool party (a real pool at a music festival) called BASK. There is an area to play in the sand, pool party DJs, cabanas for rent and even showers. The pool party experience, provided by Las Vegas hot-spot Jemaa, might make it more difficult to join your less enlightened friends at the main stage later. 

Native Knowledge: The Ultimate Hang pass is available and offers a true VIP experience with front stage viewing areas, chef and band meet-and-greets and a luxury lounge.


Native Knowledge: While most associate the typical festival experience with a head-to-toe dirt getup, KAABOO provides ample indoor and outdoor places to sit, chill out and clean up. The best part? Flushable facilities only—you won’t find a single porta-potty here!

Del Mar Racetrack + Fairgrounds
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd
Del Mar, CA 92014

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Erik Hale is the visionary and publisher behind LOCALE Magazine. He launched the magazine in 2010, wanting to give the community of OC a premiere lifestyle magazine that knew all the native knowledge behind OC. “Six years ago Ashley and I sat at a table scratching the name LOCALE (among some other names) onto a sheet of paper,” says Erik, “coming up with story ideas and basically dreaming. Everything we imagined has happened and we have been blessed with so much more. I am so grateful as we start another year for my family, my two wonderful children, my health, our amazing writers, designers and photographers, our advertising partners and you.”


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