Trestles Stage Sponsored by VOSS Water

The past two years, KAABOO has been finding its voice as a festival. Pegged early on as the resurrected ghost of Street Scene, it has shown itself to be much more, instead becoming a larger, more inclusive place for music, food, and art. The third iteration continued to grow, showcasing a new and improved layout, and great entertainment throughout the weekend.

The big winners of the weekend: the always-expansive art displays throughout the festival taking shape over the course of three days, resulting in multiple 30-foot tall murals at every turn, the high-quality food at every stage and building, and easy access to bands in the new layout of the fairgrounds utilized by the festival.

Friday’s highlights were clear: the Red Hot Chili Peppers controlled the main stage, providing the crowd with the California-centric music they came to hear. But earlier in the night, Weezer, DJ Diesel, and long-time local favorite Little Hurricane all had their chance, each bringing their unique sounds to the early-coming crowd. Kelis showcased her cooking skills on the dedicated culinary stage (though did NOT make milkshakes) while Patton Oswalt delivered his perfectly tailored comedy to the Humor Me tent with surprisingly short lines.

Things got in to full swing on Saturday, where both P!nk and Muse delivered incredible headlining sets. Muse brought their light show and refined stage presence to the secondary stage, while P!nk brought her high-flying wire act to the primary headlining stage, rocked previously in the day by both Ice Cube and Garbage. Orange County band ARMORS wrapped up their west coast tour with their first festival appearance, bringing the small but mighty crowd joy with their pop-rock jams. Crowds filtered through the Palate tent, jam packed full of food from local eateries and incredible art installations, taking advantage of the air conditioning and visual stimulation before heading back out to the music awaiting them, which included The Wallflowers’ nostalgia-filled set and Jane’s Addiction re-proving their rock and roll legend status in the mid-afternoon sun.

Saturday differed from last year, as the festival figured out the logistics of ride sharing this year, moving the cars to the side of the venue and refining traffic patterns inside the gates. The result? A smooth-flowing audience, both inside and outside of the festival, and less frustration for everyone involved.

And, as strong as Saturday was, the festival peaked on Sunday, with Andy Grammar, Live, Fishbone, and Milky Chance giving the early comers their money’s worth. Alanis Morissette may have been the happiest of all to be there, her smile shining through her music as she played her hits of the past to an adoring audience. Jackson Browne filled the tertiary stage, all before the only act remaining was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Petty, celebrating his 40th year on tour, did not disappoint, jumping in to the hits early on before closing out the festival with (what else) American Girl.

Next year’s lineup is already in the works (c’mon, Mighty Mighty Bosstones…) and early birds tickets are already available for purchase.

REVIEW BY: DAVID ISRAEL

PHOTOS BY: ALEXANDER DANTÉS