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Kaaboo team presents plans to address traffic, noise

DEL MAR — As part of an ongoing effort to clear up misconceptions about a three-day music festival that will be held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in September, the event organizers made a presentation during the April 14 meeting of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which governs the state-owned facility.

“We are respectful neighbors,” Julie Coleman, project manager with HorsePower LLC, which is producing Kaaboo, said. “We are well-known for our commitment to work with neighbors to build relationships and adhere to community standards.”

The event is described on its website as an “adult escape” and arts and entertainment “mix-perience.”

It is expected to attract about 40,000 people per day on Sept. 18, 19 and 20. A small VIP reception is also planned for Sept. 17.

Kaaboo will feature more than 100 bands on seven stages – the lineup includes a variety of music genres with acts such as No Doubt, Killers, Snoop Dogg, Foster the People and Counting Crows – and offer upscale dining, an art fair, and an area called Indulgences that offers massages, henna tattoos and hair and nail services.

Single day tickets are not being sold. Prices for three-day passes range from $109 to $2,499, although many of the lower-priced options are already sold out.

“Our target demographic for Kaaboo is 25 to 55,” Coleman said. “And it’s interesting to note so far the average age of ticket buyers is 38 years old. So we’re definitely targeting an older demographic, more mature, people who like the finer things in life.”

She said the organizers are “trying to create an artistic experience with a contemporary art fair showcasing regional and national artists and live art components.”

They plan to use “cutting edge design to transform the fairgrounds into an artistic escape to make an event like no other, a place with no port-a-potties.”

The event is expected to generate approximately $1.5 million in sales tax and book 10,000 room nights at area hotels, resulting in an $200,000 in transient occupancy tax revenue.

Coleman said she expects attendees to also spend money at local businesses and restaurants and possibly visit other San Diego attractions.

She said according to an economic study, a similar event in Delaware contributed more than $68 million to the local economy.

Coleman also said her colleagues are working with local restaurants, breweries, wineries and artists “to bring the best of the local community into Kaaboo.”

The event will benefit local charities. A silent auction will be held during the VIP event and $1 from each pass sold will be matched by the organizers and donated to Feeding America, Operation Amped, the San Diego Music Foundation and the San Diego Surfrider Foundation.

She said the goal is to donate at least $100,000 to those groups and possibly others closer to home, such as the Del Mar Village Association, Del Mar Community Connections, the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Don Diego Foundation.

Coleman also presented plans to address traffic and noise, concerns that have been raised by City Council members and residents from Del Mar and Solana Beach.

To help reduce the back-up of cars trying to enter the venue, event-day parking will not be available at the fairgrounds. Parking fees will not be collected at the entrance. Only vehicles with prepaid parking passes will be allowed onsite. All others will have to use off-site lots.

A free shuttle service will be provided from the Solana Beach train station. The organizers are also partnering with public transit providers to offer bundled transit with the admission pass.

Attendees who arrive with more than three people in a vehicle will receive food tickets and late-night party discounts. A complimentary bike valet will be located near the entrance.

Coleman said Kaaboo staggered its programming “so the in-flow should resemble a slow day at the fair.”

The event must follow all local noise ordinances. To help keep sound at a minimum the organizers are using a national sound engineering expert “to conduct testing and develop a plan to mitigate noise in the neighborhood,” Coleman said.

“We’ve also worked on the indoor stages to direct them away from surrounding neighborhoods,” she added. “And all indoor performances will feature modified sound levels and temporary insulation to help keep the sound on the fairgrounds property.”

All outside entertainment will end at 10 p.m. Indoor entertainment that will include comedy shows and dance parties will stop at 2:30 a.m.

Coleman said HorsePower has a “deep bench of traffic, safety and other professionals” working to ensure appropriate staffing levels.

“No resources will be pulled from the local communities to provide services, such as EMT, police or ambulance,” she said. “We have all of that onsite and we will not be detracting from the local cities’ needs.”

She also said her team is working with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department to make sure “they are well involved and understand the plans we have in place.”

Onsite lodging will be available for a few hundred people willing to pay between $3,500 and $35,000 per person to spend four nights in luxury tents or campers. That area will be patrolled 24/7, Coleman said.

Although Kaaboo’s target audience is older, anyone younger than 18 is allowed with a parent or guardian. Wristbands will be used to prevent underage drinking.

But Judi Strang, from the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth, and area resident Tom Heatherington said they have concerns about younger attendees.

HorsePower founder Bryan Gordon said so far less than 5 percent of ticket buyers have an annual income below $50,000 so they expect an older crowd.

Board President Fred Schenk said teenagers don’t usually have credit cards and often use their parents’ for purchases.

Coleman said they are working to be proactive rather than simply compliant to prevent problems.

“We hope to be here for many years to showcase the best in music, food and entertainment,” she said.