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KAABOO is Sept. 15-17 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Courtesy photo
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Third annual KAABOO announces 2017 improvements


The first presentation was to the Del Mar City Council on July10.

Modifications to the ride-hailing system and a few stage relocations are among the major changes being made to improve this year’s event, which begins Sept. 15.

KAABOO is described as a “uniquely curated adult escape sound voyage” offering music, comedy, cuisine, craft libations, contemporary art and personal indulgences.

The average attendee is 38 years old. Ticket prices range from $119 to $2,800.

Improvements have been made to stages and Uber and Lyft pickup to reduce impacts from this year’s KAABOO Del Mar, which will be at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Sept. 15-17. Courtesy rendering

The main complaint during the inaugural event in 2015 was noise so loud it shook windows in homes as far away as Carmel Valley. Traffic, crime and other expected problems were minimal that year.

Efforts to reduce noise in 2016 were mostly successful, with complaints down to about 55 from approximately 125.

“On the other issues of traffic control and security … I thought they did significantly less of a job this year than they did last year,” former Del Mar City Councilman Al Corti said after the 2016 event.

When two outdoor concerts ended at the same time Saturday night, attendees from both tried to get into a venue for another performance. The entry became gridlocked, the facility filled to capacity and the crowd got somewhat out of control.

There were also issues with traffic in and around the fairgrounds and inadequate planning to accommodate ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, which turned out to be the preferred transportation mode for a little more than half of the attendees.

Last year the worst traffic congestion issues occurred after 10 p.m., when the headliners finished, according to a report presented by Julie Coleman, KAABOO’s director of community relations.

“The 2016 ride share program was not able to efficiently handle the demand,” the report states. “As a result, patrons were picking up ride shares in the middle of city streets.”

KAABOO hired Fehr & Peers, a transportation planning expert, to analyze traffic and design a transportation demand management plan.

To decrease wait times and make ride-hailing more efficient from a traffic perspective, Fehr & Peers created a large onsite hub for pickups and drop-offs. KAABOO also partnered with Uber and Lyft to use an electronic queuing system within fairgrounds property.

The ride-hailing companies will only allow ordering and pick-up inside the venue and not on city streets or in nearby neighborhoods, a system similar to the one used at San Diego airport.

The new staging area will have seating, food and facilities for attendees while they wait.

The traffic management plan also includes two bike valets and shuttles to the Solana Beach train station and local hotels.

There will be no changes to the Sunset Cliffs stage on the west side of the fairgrounds and the Palate stage.

Some late-night programming has been moved from the Wyland Center to the Exhibit Hall to accommodate a larger number of attendees and ensure pedestrian traffic within the venue is optimized.

The Trestles stage that was in the paddock will be moved to the area in between Wyland Hall and the stables. The paddock will house the Tourmaline stage, which was in the Plaza de Mexico last year.

The Grandview stage has been relocated from the infield to the main parking lot to optimize pedestrian traffic and provide space for increased attendance. The stage has been oriented away from Del Mar residences and the wetland area south of Jimmy Durante Boulevard.

A buffer of shipping containers will be added to block the view, sound and light. The size, location, orientation, design and programming of all stages have been strategically selected to maintain noise ordinance requirements and direct all lighting away from nearby neighbors and the San Dieguito Lagoon, the report states.

Performers have been contractually required to maintain sound levels dictated by KAABOO, a requirement added before last year’s event. Sound monitors will be strategically placed throughout surrounding neighborhoods to provide real-time data so adjustments can be made if noise levels get too high.

According to a study by San Diego State University students, KAABOO’s 2016 financial impact to the county was approximately $26.6 million. More than 3,000 hotel rooms were booked, resulting in an estimated $63,000 in transient occupancy tax.

Coleman said she expects close to 4,000 hotel rooms will be booked this year.

KAABOO employs about 4,000 people and donates to local charities, including the San Diego Surfrider Foundation, Voices for Children and the Armed Services YMCA.

Organizers were hoping to attract a maximum of 40,000 people daily. In 2015, total attendance over the three days was about 50,000 people. That number increased to approximately 39,000 on peak days last year. Attendance in 2017 is expected to be approximately 39,000 people daily.

“With that we understand that we have a great responsibility to make sure we’ve got things ready and prepared and we are able to … accommodate this number of guests and keep the city and the residents happy,” Coleman said.

This year’s musical lineup includes Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Pink, Muse, Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, Alanis Morissette, Jackson Browne, Kesha, The Wallflowers, Smash Mouth and more.

Also scheduled are DJ Diesel, better known as NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, and comedians Demetri Martin, Sebastian Maniscalco, Norm Macdonald and Arsenio Hall.

Visit for tickets and more information. Discounted passes are available to Del Mar and Solana Beach residents by calling (855) 798-5995.

1 comment

Shasta Lavigne July 16, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Hello I’m curious whom will be doing the hiring for bartenders for this years Kaaboo event? When and where will the hiring take place? Thank you

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