Residents still wary of Kaaboo

Residents still wary of Kaaboo
Julie Coleman, with Kaaboo producer The Madison Companies, and Pat Kerins, chief of security for the Del Mar Fairgrounds, address the concerns of Del Mar residents during an Aug. 3 meeting to discuss impacts from the three-day event scheduled to begin Sept. 18 at the fairgrounds Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — At an Aug. 3 presentation to address the concerns of Del Mar residents, the organizers of a three-day “music voyage” scheduled to begin Sept. 18 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds outlined plans to increase security and  keep noise, traffic and parking to a minimum.

An additional 70 law enforcement officers will be hired. Plans for onsite lodging in luxury tents or campers have been eliminated. Bands that don’t rely heavily on bass have been selected to play later in the evening.

But the updated information, as well as details already provided during a June council meeting, did little to squash concerns.

“We think it’s going to be a mess,” Bud Emerson said.

Kaaboo is described on its website as an “adult escape” and arts and entertainment “mix-perience” expected to attract about 40,000 people per day.

It 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 provides massages, henna tattoos and hair and nail services.

Julie Coleman, project manager for The Madison Companies, which is producing the show, said the target demographic is 25 to 55 years old, with 38 being the current average age of ticket buyers.

“This is not a kids’ party,” she said.

One dollar from each ticket will be donated to San Diego charities, including the San Dieguito Boys & Girls Clubs, Feeding America, the San Diego Music Foundation and the San Diego Surfrider Foundation.

To help reduce the back up of cars trying to enter the venue, event-day parking will not be available onsite and parking fees will not be collected at the entrance.

Only vehicles with prepaid parking passes will be allowed to park at the fairgrounds. All others must use off-site lots.

Coleman said about 9,000 cars will park at the fairgrounds. Spots will not be oversold.

To help with parking, council recently authorized the use of an off-site vacant lot on Border Avenue west of Camino del Mar and south of Via de la Valle for employee parking only.

About 500 cars can fit on the 5-acre lot. A van will shuttle workers to and from the fairgrounds.

Kaaboo programming has been staggered so the in-flow should resemble a slow day at the fair, Coleman said.

Event hours are 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Outdoor music will begin at 1 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. To help stagger traffic leaving the fairgrounds after that, Kaaboo organizers added indoor entertainment that includes dancing and comedy shows.

To minimize sound a national sound engineering expert will conduct testing and develop a plan to mitigate noise in the surrounding neighborhoods, Coleman said.

Indoor stages will direct sound away from adjacent neighborhoods and feature modified sound levels and temporary insulation, she added.

Attendees can leave the venue once but must return by 8 p.m.

Residents appeared confident activities on the fairgrounds will be well managed and in control. They seemed more focused on what happens off the venue, such as people parking in their neighborhoods and returning to their cars in the early morning hours with “big voices.”

Other concerns include people listening to the music at off-site locations, public drunkenness, trash and possible camping on the beach.

Coleman said ticket buyers are being told parking on residential streets is prohibited, but there is no way to stop attendees from doing so.

Pat Kerins, head of security for the fairgrounds, said the additional law enforcement officers will be patrolling neighborhoods.

He said the increased law enforcement efforts may be overkill, “but we want to err on the side of safety.”

City Manager Scott Huth said modified parking restrictions similar to those used on July Fourth to prevent overspill into residential neighborhoods will be implemented pending community approval.

Resident Ed Yuskiewicz said if there aren’t enough officers in the right areas at the right times, it won’t matter because people will already have been awakened in the middle of the night.

Coleman said most event-goers would leave after the final outdoor act at 10 p.m. She said only “a couple of thousand” are expected to remain onsite for the late-night activities.

Coleman would not disclose the number of tickets sold so far, but Kaaboo is already up to its third tier of ticket pricing. She said plans are already under way for next year’s event.

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