Don’t Call It a Comeback: Kaaboo is SD’s first big fest since Street Scene

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No Doubt kick off the three days of Kaaboo on Friday, Sept. 18. (Billy Kidd)

No Doubt kick off the three days of Kaaboo on Friday, Sept. 18. (Billy Kidd)

Kaaboo kind of came out of left field this year. I mean really, who expected a city like San Diego to come out of the woodwork with a major festival like this, especially with such a big lineup on year one. San Diego has always been a relatively quiet place, inviting for families; a military town at heart, and by birth. Sure SD’s got its craft brew scene and its quirky Comic-Con, but let’s face it, musically, San Diego often gets overshadowed by its noisy neighbor to the north. Why try and throw a festival down there, when all the kids are going to blow their summer cash on FYF, Hard or Coachella anyways?

Well, for one thing, you don’t make it all about the kids. For another, you get real open about your genres. Friday is a perfect example of what we’ve got going on here: You start with some crowd pleasers like No Doubt and Snoop Dogg. To make sure that the older generation has an incentive, you throw in a couple of (and I mean this admirably) relics like Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt, then a few more crowd pleasers like Dirty Heads or Los Lobos. Throw in the White Panda, you know, for the kids; some Jamestown Revival for novelty, and you’ve got yourself one hell of an eclectic, potentially ticket-selling lineup. Not to mention that the comedy lineup, all weekend, is stacked with the likes of Lewis Black, Joel McHale, Jeff Garlin and Hasan Minhaj.

But the real headliner, is the location, location, location. Have you ever been to Del Mar? There’s a reason Bing Crosby kept coming back. The place is gorgeous: Those old Spanish colonial buildings set against the backdrop of a beach that you can literally walk to (albeit there are fences), hot and dry – with a cool breeze from the Pacific. Half the fun of this festival is just going to be the fact that it’s at Del Mar; at a racetrack that will only be a few weeks out of season by the time the date rolls around.

Saturday night, (and you can buy single day passes, fyi) is the big show. Zac Brown Band is a big deal in SD. People down there love the new reincarnation of Hootie. But then you’ve got the Roots, Spoon, Neon Trees, AWOLNATION and Counting freaking Crows. Maybe no acts to go gaga over, really … but the lineup is deep. Say what you want about reggae music, but go see Slightly Stoopid. San Diego is the one place to see Slightly. Besides, they’re way more of a jazz band these days, anyways.

Speaking of Slightly Stoopid, they should have moved those guys back a day, and named Day 3 San Diego Sunday … maybe even add Jason Mraz and Blink-182 as a cherry on top. Sunday’s lineup is more or less San Diego music, in a nutshell, minus a few key players; POD, maybe, being another one. When you have the Killers, 311, Ben Harper, Switchfoot, and Donavon Frankenreiter playing on the same bill, it pretty much looks like 91X just vomited all over the lineup. You could say that about the whole weekend, but it’s especially prominent on Sunday. Speaking of Sunday, some acts to look for would be Trombone Shorty and Iliza Schlesinger on the comedy stage.

In any case, San Diego’s been dying for a good festival ever since Street Scene up and died sometime after 2009 (RIP). And if the very impressive CRSSD Festival back in March was any indication of how Kaaboo might turn out, then I think we should all expect good things.

For tickets and more information, visit kaaboodelmar.com.

Patrick Meissner is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment.
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