DEL MAR — Anyone who’s attended knows there is plenty to take in at KAABOO Del Mar, the three-day music festival held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds each September. Popular music acts are always a huge part of the appeal — this year has several big names on the books, including Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon and Mumford & Sons. Still, there is another significant piece of this event that you may have noticed.
“The owner, Bryan Gordon, wanted to create an event where the art was as important as the music,” Amanda Lynn, art director for KAABOO, said. “He has always been very art forward and art centric, engaging people in a visual manner as well as musical.”
Because of this initiative, festival-goers at KAABOO Del Mar are surrounded by art on stages, in galleries and at other locations throughout the fairgrounds. This year, one of the featured works tackles another KAABOO priority — sustainability. In a project sponsored by the environmental nonprofit PangeaSeed Foundation and its program, SeaWalls: Artists for Oceans, an artist will live-paint a 30-foot mural to highlight the importance of a healthy ocean.
“For us to be able to engage with a whole new audience — especially one that is so captive, like people at a music festival — is really exciting,” Akira Biondo, director of operations for PangeaSeed, said.
KAABOO has partnered with PangeaSeed since the festival started five years ago. The partnership goes beyond just the art — this year, PangeaSeed and a few other organizations are assisting with efforts to reduce plastic waste at the festival.
The SeaWalls: Artist for Oceans program commissions artists to paint murals around the world that advocate for ocean conservation. So far, they have about 350 murals in 15 different countries. Art is a universal language, Biondo explains, which has led to the SeaWalls program’s impact across the globe.
“We can engage with these communities on these very important issues through beautiful storytelling,” Biondo said.
This year, Santa Cruz-based artist Caia Koopman has been selected to bring the piece to life. Several of her works contain subtle messages on the environment, and she says she is looking forward to creating something crowds will want to stop and see.
“My goal is to create something beautiful to look at that has an ocean theme, a great message, plus a lot of color, a lot of eye candy, and maybe even a spaceship, just for good measure,” Koopman said.
According to Lynn, the live-painting aspect of this mural adds another layer of engagement, especially because PangeaSeed’s outreach booth will be stationed next to the work.
“The message will mean more, because crowds were able to be a part of it, watch the process, talk with PangeaSeed,” Lynn said.
Last year, Biondo said people were lining up to take selfies with the completed mural, which featured the phrase “Be Kind, Sunshine” on a backdrop of flora, fish and marine debris. This year, Biondo says she hopes the mural will have the same effect while also educating passersby.
“We will be right on the ocean, which most people kind of forget once they’re on the ground and enjoying themselves,” Biondo said. “I hope that people will do a sort of double take and start thinking about their own impact.”
This year, 1% of festival ticket proceeds will go toward PangeaSeed, as well as other organizations. KAABOO Del Mar takes place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds from Sept. 13 to Sept. 15, and attendees can catch the finished mural for SeaWalls and PangeaSeed on the final day of the event.
Photo Caption: Painted by Australian artist George Rose, last year’s mural at KAABOO Del Mar from the PangeaSeed SeaWalls program had festival-goers lining up to take photos. This year’s mural will be created by Santa Cruz-based artist Caia Koopman with the purpose of promoting ocean conservation, PangeaSeed’s main priority. Photo courtesy of PangeaSeed
Editors Note: The original version of this story named PangeaSeed Foundation as PangeaSeed on first reference. The Coast News regrets the error.