Kaaboo Del Mar 2016 – Festival Preview, Sept. 16-18

Published by Ryan on

This year Labor Day is NOT the end of summer. The Kaaboo music festival taking over Southern California from September 16-18, like the pre-autumnal groundhog, appears to have given us at least three more glorious weeks of music festival sunshine. However, you can argue its always be summer in the city of Del Mar and in the entire life of Friday’s headliner Jimmy Buffet, who you know always has his flip-flops, salt shaker, & lime close at hand.

Zuma Stage at Kaaboo 2015

There are not a lot of beachfront rock festivals in So-Cal that are this loaded, so this one has forcibly grabbed our attention.  The incredibly diverse lineup covers just about every decade of music over the past 40 years so there will truly be something for all music lovers, while making it ever so difficult to decide which mood you’re into when planning out your schedule… “Do I want to dance my feet off to a DJ set by Steve Aoki? Lose my voice at a huge 90’s sing-along set by Third eye Blind? Or let Ludacris make me move (expletive deleted).” These are questions I can’t answer now, so I’ll just have to let the ocean breeze guide me while I’m there. Here is just a taste of the bands and artists that will be performing.

1980’s (and before): Rock & Roll legends Aerosmith headline Saturday night for their only U.S. tour date of 2016 as they contemplate a farewell tour for 2017. This is a chance to see one of the greatest bands of all time, maybe for the last time in Southern California, with the full band in tow including iconic front man Steven Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry fresh off his Hollywood Vampires tour with Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper. The aforementioned Buffett is a headliner on Friday for a reason, with almost as many hits as blenders sold. His loyal parrotheads (his fans) travel in huge numbers and for this seaside set it should be a sight to see. They may be the first people tailgating on Tuesday to get ready for Friday night.

1990’s: While you’re waiting for the next killer 90’s cover band show (shout-out to Saved by the 90’s), you can get your fix in this weekend with ALL of the originals! The classics of the 90’s including Sugar Ray, Third Eye Blind, Gin Blossoms, Goo Goo Dolls, Blues Traveler, Rooney, Collective Soul, and …Lenny Kravitz? You know all the words to all the songs whether you will admit it or not 🙂

Kaaboo Poster

2000’s: Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Fairytales album (2001) created a new sound for California beach and surf music, taking the torch the Beach Boys lit so many years ago, which of course makes him the perfect musician to close out the weekend Sunday night and take us into Fall. But the party will be raging hard before then, refusing to let summer go that easily. Fall Out Boy, Grouplove, Flo Rida, Cypress Hill, and Rebelution are all shows that can quickly become events all by themselves.

2010’s: Well, this is where we dance. If it is your birthday this weekend you will definitely want to check out Steve Aoki’s set. He has become one of the most recognizable figures in electronic dance music, and will also throw a cake in your face if you get too close. Now that Shamu is gone from Sea World, this is the real splash zone. Aoki’s is an artist rider I would love to see. The Chainsmokers are also coming off of a major festival tour that provided some massive performances including a Coachella show that took over a corner of the polo grounds.

*Comedy: Bonus! There is actually a major lineup of comics that may or may not be family friendly, well actually they are pretty assured to not … and that may be the best part. SNL veteran Dana Carvey of “Church Lady” and “Garth from Wayne’s World” fame, Sarah Silverman, roastmaster Jeff Ross, and Cheech & Chong are just a few of the household names. Be sure not to miss Comic and Hard Rock aficionado Brian Posehn who is coming off a very well-reviewed performance at Psycho Las Vegas last weekend opening up for mythical rock hero Arthur Brown.

One of the most unique facets of this festival is the amazing location in the beautiful and clean seaside city of Del Mar. Instead of wearing bandanas to protect your face from desert sands you can sink your toes into the cool beach sands and the Pacific Ocean. By all accounts this is expected to be a well-organized, clean festival, with even real flushing toilets (not porta-potties). It appears to be ready to accommodate both the young partiers and the family music education crowd.

Pick one day, go for all three, whatever you want. Tickets are still available for all of the options. Just don’t pack away your swimsuit and rainbow sandals quite yet. There is more music to be heard before the pumpkin flavored everything hits the shelves.


Los Angeles Editor of Rabbits Black. Frequenter of club shows and arena shows alike. Get in touch with Ryan for anything LA: coverage for artists, albums, concerts, events, and charity partnerships.


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