Food, folks and fun rock the North County at 3rd Annual KAABOO Festival


Alan Hickey

Waiting for the Red Hot Chili Peppers to take the stage at the 2017 KAABOO Festival, Del Mar, Sept. 15, 2017.

Esai Melendez, Arts/Features Editor

Camaraderie, food, beer, and some of the world’s biggest music artists took center-stage from Friday Sept. 15 to Sunday Sept. 17 at Del Mar’s young, but expanding, KAABOO music festival.

This year’s headliners included the Red Hot Chili Peppers, P!nk, Muse, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Other acts included Weezer, David Guetta, Ice Cube, Jane’s Addiction, and more. Despite the festival being just three years old, the star power of the attending artists increases every time.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were arguably the festival’s biggest attraction, put on an outstanding performance based on the crowd cheering, clapping, and singing along to most of the band’s songs. Performing staple hits such as “Californication,” and “Give It Away” to their more modern singles “Dark Necessities” and “Go Robot.” The band still has just as much energy and fun in their shows now then when they were much younger.

One of the other headliners, Muse, began the set 20 minutes later than its original 7:55 p.m. time slot on Saturday. Despite the late start, the band gave an amazing performance which captivated the audience. Muse had the best special effects on screen compared with other artists throughout the festival.

Maria-Camilla Murcia
Weezer rocks out on the main stage on Day 1 of the Del Mar KAABOO festival, Friday Sept. 15, 2017

With so many vibrant colors and special effects, it seemed as if the audience was watching two Matt Bellamys, the lead singer/guitarist, singing at the same time. The crowd was moving and singing along to the Muse’s staple songs such as “Supermassive Black Hole” and “Uprising.”

“Muse. I’m totally pumped about Muse,” said Nate , a San Diego native, when asked what band/artist he was most excited to see. “It’s really awesome to see these guys perform. I’m glad about what they’re doing so I can partake in the experience.”

The KAABOO music festival wasn’t just a local attraction though. Alex and Carolina Cordova, who travelled to the festival from San Francisco, said “We bought our tickets back in April. We’ve been anticipating this for a while.” However, it wasn’t just Californians attending the festival either.

Alan Hickey
Muse’s Matt Bellamy’s guitar flying through the air during the band’s energetic performance.

Graffiti artists from around the world attended KAABOO to show off their work during the festival’s art exhibition that went on in Del Mar Fairground’s Mattress Firm building. Case Maclaim, a graffiti artist from Frankfurt, Germany, attended KAABOO to show off his art pieces. Another international artist, Bicicleta Sem Freio, came from Goiânia, Brazil.

Food was also one of the festival’s highlights. From national chains such as Chipotle and Dunkin’ Donuts, to smaller food businesses such as Rock & Roll Pizza and Dogtown Dogs, a varied selection was on every corner and each gathered their share of attention and business. One stand that stood out was Spicy Pie.

Alan Hickey
The Wallflowers headlined the Trestles stage on the Saturday night at the 2017 KAABOO festival, Del Mar, Sept. 16, 2017. Pictured is lead singer Jakob Dylan.

Spicy Pie is a pizza stand business popular for their pepperoni/jalapeno pizza. They have been a staple at music festivals like Coachella here in California, Bonnaroo, in Tennessee, Ultra in Florida, and Electric Forest in Michigan. Lauren Gray, an employee for Spicy Pie, said “We attend music festivals from March till New Year’s.” The pizza lived up to its name and it’s not surprising that they were one of the busiest stands at the festival.

Not only was there music, art and food to keep guests entertained, but comedians and guest celebrities such as Patton Oswalt, Norm Macdonald, and Arsenio Hall made appearances at KAABOO’s Humor Me building.

With the increasing amount of star power that KAABOO showcases each year, it’s becoming more apparent how well KAABOO is creating its brand. If you missed out on this year’s KAABOO Festival, tickets for next year’s festival which will take place from Sept. 14-16, 2018 have already gone on sale.

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