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Nancy Fisher | 24th Street

The Sunset Cliffs stage, with Jason Isbell on stage.
Photo Betty Wheeler.
Clicik on image to enlarge.

In a complete reversal of last year’s reviews, the recent KAABOO music festival scored high in reducing nuisance noise to the community, but lower in over-all internal organization and traffic management. The Sandpiper reached out to the City of Del Mar and to residents for input on this year’s festival.

Residents Betsy Winsett and Robin Crabtree with friends at KAABOO.
Photo courtesy of Robin Crabtree.
Clicik on image to enlarge.

Kristen Crane, from the City Manager’s office, explained the many steps taken by KAABOO this year to address noise concerns raised last year, including hiring a team of nationally-renowned sound engineers, making modifications to their stage configuration, modelling projected sound in advance of the event, and using multiple different types of equipment and technology to better control the concert sound. She added that “they also had off-site noise monitors actively monitoring in the community and communicating with the stage managers. Though the City is still awaiting the official analysis on the sound ratings from the weekend, based on comments on NextDoor.com and compared to the volume of calls received by the City last year, there seems to have been a noticeable decrease in volume for the surrounding community. Regarding this year’s KAABOO event, the City received five emails and phone calls. KAABOO has 2also reported a low volume of calls to their hotline.”

“As far as off-site impacts,” said Crane, “while the crowd was largest on Saturday and did generate more traffic arriving and departing the Fairgrounds (most heavily at the intersection of Jimmy Durante and Via de la Valle), traffic on Friday and Sunday flowed more smoothly. Other off-site concerns that the City prepared for, such as parking in neighborhoods, pedestrians walking on or crossing the train tracks, and late-night loitering, were well prepared for and presented no concerns.”

Vanessa Bayer, cast member of
Saturday Night Live. 
Photo Lee Haydu
Clicik on image to enlarge.

Social media sites, such as Yelp and Reddit, included reviews that were all over the map. The music was either “fantastic” or “for 50-60-year-olds reliving their glory days.” The food was generally rated as excellent, but the length of lines and price of alcohol was widely criticized. Even last year’s lavishly praised non-port-a-potty bathrooms presented another opportunity to stand in long lines at times.
The most serious incident occurred on Saturday night when popular bands Aerosmith and the Chainsmokers finished their sets simultaneously and crowds created a logjam attempting to reach another venue which quickly filled to capacity. Police arrived to control concertgoers, a helicopter flew overhead to order them to clear the area, and one deputy used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Maybe the third year of KAABOO will be the charm. Proper sound control along with smart scheduling of the lineup and a realistic number of ticket sales for the venue could work.



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