The fourth annual KAABOO festival took place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on September 14-16. The sold out event mixed some of the best musical artists of the past fifty years with art, food and comedy for an event that was truly a feast for the senses. The events headliners; Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, Imagine Dragons and Robert Plant all delivered crowd pleasing, hit filled sets that had fans singing along to almost every note. There were also numerous classic bands, across genres, that packed their stages, including reggae with the Wailers, 1960’s era British rockers The Zombies, new wave faves Blondie, singer songwriter Melissa Etheridge and Funk/Soul legends Earth, Wind & Fire.
Highlights were many, including Katy Perry’s special effects laden set, complete with backing dancers and multiple costume changes. Meanwhile, for sheer energy it would be hard to beat the Foo Fighters, whose frontman Dave Grohl had the crowd going from the moment he was visible onstage. Grohl spoke of playing at the Del Mar Fairgrounds twenty-seven years earlier, when Nirvana played in Pat O’Brien Hall on December 28, 1991. But perhaps one of the most fitting moments of the festival was when Plant also spoke about having played in the area in the past and then performed a version of his previous band, Led Zeppelin’s classic song, “Going to California.”
Current and former San Diegans were also well represented amongst the talent. Jewel spoke of her time in San Diego, telling a lengthy story of the genesis of the song “You Were Meant For Me,” while War frontman, Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan spoke about growing up in the area. On the event’s opening day, Stone Temple Pilot’s DeLeo brothers were rocking just a few miles from their former stomping grounds of La Jolla. A number of local developing artists were also well received by the crowds, including Raelee Nikole, Sully & The Blue Eyed Soul Band, Elise Trouw, Sweet Tooth and Creature Canyon.
There were also many nice surprises at KAABOO, such as Billy Idol throwing out autographed KAABOO Frisbees to the crowd during his set, Jewel’s seven year old son making his stage debut on ukulele, original Elvin Bishop guitarist Johnny Vernazza joining his old band leader for a version of their 1976 hit “Fooled Around and Fell In Love” and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers drummer Steve Ferrone sitting in with Sully & The Blue Eyed Soul Band.
For fun in the sun, KAABOO can’t be beat, with plenty on offer for just about everyone. Advance tickets are already on sale for next year’s edition of KAABOO, set for September 13-15, 2019