DEL MAR — As the second annual KAABOO Del Mar music and arts festival prepares to open Sept. 16, organizers of the three-day event are confident adjustments made in the past 12 months will hopefully eliminate — or at least drastically reduce — noise issues that bothered people near and far last year.
The most significant change is one that has consistently frustrated residents when they call to complain about activities at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, where KAABOO takes place.
This year a living, breathing person rather than a machine will answer calls to the hotline, which is (858) 794-1104.
“The KAABOO team will be answering calls live, so only those that choose to leave a message or those calls that can’t be answered due to volume will be sent via email (to a team member),” according to Emily Nugent, account executive with Behrman Communications. “As soon as a person leaves a message the team gets an email of that voice message.”
During the inaugural event there were a few complaints the first two days that most residents at a public meeting this past July said were addressed fairly quickly.
But unexpected “perfect-storm” weather conditions and a few other unforeseen conditions resulted in music that could be heard as far away as Carmel Valley. Some residents there said the noise shook their windows.
Julie Coleman, director of community relations for KAABOO, said most of the 91 calls received over the weekend came in on Sunday, but she returned all of them almost immediately.
Organizers have spent the past year working with residents and representatives from Del Mar, Solana Beach and the fairgrounds to improve the noise situation.
Using a sound engineering team with members who hold doctorate degrees, the audio system was redesigned and stages have been angled and repositioned “to make sure we really contain the sound onsite,” Coleman said.
Technology is being used to manipulate sound waves and the use of sound blankets will be increased.
Other major changes include the addition of six roving monitors who will travel through neighborhoods in Del Mar, Solana Beach and San Diego to provide real-time feedback so the sound team can make immediate adjustments.
Last year only stationary monitors on the fairgrounds were used.
Another key modification is that performers have been contractually required to maintain sound levels dictated by KAABOO.
“At the end of the day we control the right to control the overall volume of the performance,” production manager Jim Dorroh. “We will be able to override their console.”
Organizers at the July meeting discussed setting up an online forum where residents could log complaints but that did not occur for this year’s event.
KAABOO is described as an “adult escape” arts and entertainment “mix-perience” that features about 100 music and comedy performances. The target audience is between 25 to 55 years old. Last year the average age of ticket buyers was 38.
Earlier this year Del Mar Fairgrounds officials approved a contract that will bring the event to the state-owned facility for potentially the next 10 years.
The initial agreement is for five years with five one-year options and an annual lease payment of $1,150,000.
Based on last year’s event the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which governs the fairgrounds, expects to net about $5 million for the initial five-year agreement and more than $10 million over the 10-year term.
Organizers will be fined $1,000 for each noise violation up to a maximum of $10,000 per event and $150,000 per year. The fairgrounds can terminate the use of sound-producing devices that result in violations.
Last year organizers were hoping to attract about 40,000 people per day but the three-day attendance numbers were about half that.
This year the Friday headliner is Jimmy Buffett. The lengthy list of other performers on opening day includes Fall Out Boy, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Gin Blossoms, Dumpstaphunk and DJ Snoopadelic.
KAABOO will be the only U.S. performance this year for Aerosmith, the Saturday night headliner. Lenny Kravitz, Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind and Ludacris, among many others, will also be onstage Sept. 17.
The event closes — one hour earlier this year — with Jack Johnson as the final performer. The Avett Brothers, Rebelution and Jason Isbell top the list of the 20 bands that will perform Sunday.
Dana Carvey, Sarah Silverman and Cheech & Chong are the comedy headliners Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Other scheduled comedians include Darrell Hammond and Vanessa Bayer.
The most expensive passes, at $2,499, have sold out. Passes and tickets ranging from $299 to $799 are available. One-day tickets sold at the door will cost $350.
Visit kaaboodelmar.com for additional tickets and performance information.