The inaugural KAABOO Cayman festival lineup has been announced, led by The Chainsmokers, Duran Duran, Zedd, Jason Derulo, Bryan Adams, Counting Crows, Flo Rida and many others Feb. 15-16 in what talent buyer Roger LeBlanc says will be a yearly event taking the “elevated” KAABOO brand to the Caribbean.
Filling out the lineup are multi-generational artists including Sean Paul, Blondie, Live, Shaggy, Salt-N-Pepa ft. DJ Spinderella, Maren Morris, Blues Traveler, Los Lobos, and many more on the shores of the world-famous Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, known for its tropical climate and providing an ideal location for an upscale island getaway.
KAABOO Cayman also features a comedy lineup with Wanda Sykes, David Spade, Jenny Slate, Darrell Hammond and others.
Talent buyer Roger LeBlanc, one of the first people involved in the original KAABOO project, says while KAABOO Cayman is somewhat of uncharted territory, the 100-strong team has learned a lot over the last three Del Mar events.
“The biggest thing was trying to get a sense of the pulse locally,” LeBlanc said of booking the lineup for the first KAABOO Cayman. “We’re not entirely a destination festival. So we really tried to focus on things that will appeal in America but have a little Caribbean flavor, such as Jason Derulo and Sean Paul.” LeBlanc added that the blind presale for KAABOO Cayman sold out its allotment before any lineup announcement, and that the audience will probably be about 50/50 as far as off-island versus on-island guests.
LeBlanc’s teammate Adam Spriggs books KAABOO’s comedy talent, which LeBlanc says is extra challenging when the audience is multi-cultural.
There will be two main music stages and the “Palate” culinary stage that will include celebrity chefs, again similar to the Del Mar event. Capacity will be about 15,000 per day as the team grows KAABOO Cayman into an annual event but remains somewhat of a boutique festival, as the infrastructure is being constructed specifically for the KAABOO Cayman, ensuring it will be a long-term endeavor.
“We’re very particular about not booking the flavor du jour acts that are doing every festival across the country,” LeBlanc added. “The festivals that succeed have a reason and a purpose. Even though our lineups tend to be very diverse as far as era and genre, we still have a connectivity.”
During a limited advance presale beginning today, general admission passes start at $300 ($240 Cayman dollars) with various upgrades and VIP Packages – and KAABOO doesn’t mess around, as the Del Mar event VIP treatment can include surfing lessons or yoga classes with artists. Prices will increase after the advance price passes sell out.
LeBlanc says this year’s KAABOO Del Mar event Sept. 14-16, which includes Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry, Post Malone and many others, is on pace to outsell last year and that the event has been growing every year.
Last year was particularly special as it ended up being one of Tom Petty’s final performances.
“I did get to watch that whole show, and that is rare for me as I’m usually running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but that was the last show of the event. After the fact it was certainly sobering,” LeBlanc said. “I’ll never forget being part of one of his last performances. It was very special.” He also commended Pink for having a spectacular set, as one of a just a handful of North American festival appearances that year for the star, and said her team is one of the very best he’s ever worked with.
2019 will also see the first KAABOO Texas, May 3-5, which can only be described as a surprise to everyone when it was announced as a partnership with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and taking place at AT&T Stadium.
LeBlanc said he couldn’t share details yet but promised it will be amazing.