DEL MAR — The three-day festival with the funny name is just a few weeks away from making its inaugural presence at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Two years in the making, Kaaboo is the latest project from businessman and investor Bryan Gordon, and it’s since become his full-time focus over that period.
As the Sept. 18 event nears, Gordon and a team of some 40 consultants and experts have been spending the majority of their time planning Kaaboo down to the most granular details, from band line ups on the entertainment side to addressing residents’ concerns over noise and festival goers leaving in the early morning hours.
“We have a well thought out plan,” Gordon said in regards to addressing concerns that have been voiced over a number of Del Mar City Council meetings.
He said they’ve been working for a long time with the Sheriff’s Department and other local municipalities, adding that they’re following the lead of Fairground’s officials, who put on hundreds of events on a yearly basis.
“And then hopefully, the nature of our audience in our demographic is not likely to lend itself to as rowdy a participant on average,” Gordon said.
The festival’s website describes the event as an “adult escape.”
“Hopefully,” Gordon said, “all that adds up to little in the way of problems on site and off site.”
While they anticipate having security and law enforcement present throughout the event, he thinks that by the late hours of the festival, the audience will be down to smaller levels after 8 p.m. maybe down to 8,000 to 10,000 people at 1 a.m. compared to multiples of that at 8 p.m., he said, to which they’ll adjust security accordingly.
As for noise level complaints or other community concerns, the festival has created a direct hotline that will be staffed by Kaaboo personnel, and will be monitored through the entirety of the event.
“Any kind of community concerns, there will be a hotline that will come to senior people on my staff and that will be answered and attended to promptly,” Gordon said.
That hotline number is (858) 794-1104.
According to previous news reports, the festival organizers are donating $1 to be split evenly between four charities, which include Feeding America, Operation Amped, the Surfrider Foundation and the San Diego Music Foundation.
In regards to next year, Gordon said they’ll stick to a relatively small universe of charities.
“We want to concentrate our energies and not get spread too thin,” he said. “We picked four charities that we thought were themes that were relevant to this part of the world and charities that were local.”
They want to create a meaningful impact on those charities, that’s their philosophy going forward, not donating to national charities that don’t have a strong local presence, Gordon explained.
Gordon said the 350-acres of the fairgrounds proved a large enough venue for the festival to do almost anything and not outgrow it.
Location was another prime reason the spot was selected, being close to Interstate 5, hotels, the Pacific Ocean and a train station in Solana Beach.
“I think Del Mar is ready for this type of event,” Gordon said. “There’s nothing that conceptually is happening at Kaaboo that Del Mar has not experienced before and then some. On peak days for the San Diego County Fair they get 90,000 to 95,000 people, on opening day of the races, they get 45,000-ish people. So this venue has the capacity to deal with a lot of people, to process them efficiently, to keep traffic interruption to a minimum and all the other externalities to a minimum. There’s nothing that we’re going to be doing here that this venue and this community hasn’t had experience dealing with.”
With an operating budget of seven figures this year, Gordon said he’ll know the event was a success when, “just about everybody that walks out the gate on Sunday night has a smile on their face and looks relaxed and joyous. That’s when it’s been a success. That’s what it’s all about.”
Kaaboo begins Sept. 18 and ends Sept. 20. Festival passes and tickets are available at kaaboodelmar.com.