KAABOO Expands With Cayman Islands Festival

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Cayman Islands

KAABOO, the multi-sensory music, comedy, art and culinary festival that is going into its fourth year this September in Del Mar, Calif., is growing. In one step, KAABOO is going international with a second annual festival, scheduled for the Cayman Islands on Feb. 15-16, 2019. The announcement was made last night on the Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman Island by Jason Felts, chief brand officer of KAABOO and CEO of Virgin Produced, the entertainment arm of Richard Branson’s group of companies and producing partner of KAABOO.

KAABOO was founded in 2015 by Brian E. Gordon and in its first three years, welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests to the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Southern California. The target audience is adults from 18-80 who love music but who aren’t interested in festivals with dust, dirt and porta-potties. “They want a sophisticated infrastructure and a range of music from bucket list artists they grew up with to today’s hit-makers on the radio,” Felts told Billboard shortly before the announcement of KAABOO Cayman.

The international expansion has been two years in the planning. “KAABOO was never envisioned as a one-destination, one-weekend event,” says Felts. “In looking at the growth of KAABOO into a multi-event business and as a lifestyle brand, it was important to us to identify destinations that would resonate with the KAABOO fan looking for a more elevated experience. Cayman was the right fit. It’s a destination that has close proximity to the United States, which is where a lot of our brand fans live. It has a very sophisticated infrastructure and has a wide range of lodging options from three-star all the way up to five-star, with [hotels], villas, condos and many places to sleep. And it is the safest country in the Caribbean.”

Visitors to Grand Cayman can be there in one hour from Miami by airplane. At the moment, other cities with direct flights to the Caymans include New York City, Houston, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Minneapolis, Newark, Philadelphia, Toronto and London, with Fort Lauderdale being added in October and Los Angeles a future possibility.  

While the Del Mar version of KAABOO takes place on the already-existing fairgrounds, KAABOO Cayman will be staged on a purpose-built site owned by the Dart company, just north of the Kimpton Seafire Hotel on Seven Mile Beach, which has regularly been voted the best beach in the Caribbean by Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine. Grading has begun on the site, with construction that will include the infrastructure needed for a festival like KAABOO. “It’s an incredible opportunity for us to have a blank canvas and take our experiences and build this as a custom site,” says Felts.

KAABOO Cayman will be slightly smaller in size than KAABOO Del Mar, with two main stages. In its first three years in Del Mar, performers have included P!nk, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Snoop Dogg, Train, Counting Crows, Zac Brown Band, No Doubt, Aerosmith, Jimmy Buffett, the Chainsmokers, Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind, OneRepublic, Kesha, Jane’s Addiction, Weezer and well-known comedians like Dana Carvey, Patton Oswalt, David Spade, Darrell Hammond and the cast of Silicon Valley.

The line-up for the first KAABOO Cayman will be announced on May 15. Pre-announcement “blind” tickets are on sale through March 31 at kaaboocayman.com.

“Cayman is already known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean,” says Felts.  “We’re looking to further amplify that with our event and make sure we keep that bar high just as they’ve already established it. “We’re really looking to embrace local talent, local musicians and local artists. This is about fostering an environment where local artists are going to have a stage before an influential audience and other artists they admire to showcase themselves. We have an extreme focus on hospitality, customer service, and tapping into those five senses of music, art, comedy, culinary and indulgences. In Cayman, we’re calling it, ‘Five senses under the sun.’ This event is going to turn the Caymans into the live entertainment capital of the Caribbean.”