Food, Art, Music & Lifestyle Collide; Kaaboo Del Mar 2016

Once again, the racetrack was the site of San Diego’s newest BIG annual fest, Kaaboo Del Mar. Taking over nearly the entire venue, the festival intrigued festival-goers with comedy shows, great musical acts, plenty of eye candy with incredible works of art, lifestyle lounges to be pampered and great food.

As you can imagine, there were throngs of people everywhere especially surrounding the big acts. The most wide-spread complaint was surely that the headliner’s were scheduled at the same times leaving most to have to choose or go between. After a second year it was still a surprise that they don’t use the grandstands. Believe me, by the end of a long day walking at Kaaboo it wouldn’t sound so bad to just sit in a seat and enjoy the show off your feet.


The Rockin’ Chefs competition was CLEARLY going to be the highlight for us and we were NOT disappointed. The talent was amazing and the combo of Chef Brian Malarkey and San Diego Magazine’s food writer, Troy Johnson as MC’s was a good decision. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to share photos of the action of the competition because in contrast to last year’s format that allowed us to shoot photos on stage, this year we could only photograph the after photos from the floor level. We also heard some grumblings from the judges panel that not being able to see the action was a let down.

The final say from the judging panel deemed Chef Steve Brown, who will be opening up a fine dining restaurant in his home turf in Imperial Beach. What did he win besides bragging rights? He won a seat at the World Food Championships, where he will compete for $100k! (You might remember that one of our own San Diego chefs, Chef Ricardo Heredia, won it a few years ago.) 

After the competition, it left all the audience members hungry and salivating, so luckily there were some talented guys on the floor of the Bing Crosby Hall selling gourmet sustenance.


The visual aspect of the festival is breathtaking. The backdrop as the sun goes down over the Pacific Ocean across the street from the racetrack is stunning on its own but with the addition of the beautiful works of art that flank each activation entrance, Kaaboo Del Mar truly distinguishes itself. An entire makeshift art “gallery” allowed for attendees to glimpse the talent of known and undiscovered artists showcasing their works, big and small.


With a great lineup of big and small acts, Kaaboo kept us engaged. A young, 18  year old DJ by the name of Andrew Luce was a surprise as was the duo Colvin and Earle. Our favorites for the weekend acts… Fall Out Boy & Chainsmokers. The energy at both these were phenomenal even though Drew Taggert fell off his own stage. (He wasn’t hurt.) The Goo Goo Dolls brought it way back and PACKED the house while Lenny Kravitz brought us into sundown. Aerosmith and The Chainsmokers were on the bill at different stages simultaneously which made it difficult… watch the legend or dance your ass off. We watched Aerosmith briefly and opted for dancing our ass off instead. All in all, as exhausting as these giant festival productions can be to attend and produce, it leaves a lasting impression and we are elated by them. It’s also amazing to not have to leave home venturing off to some dusty, hot af desert venue.