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Why KAABOO Del Mar is so Appealing to Sponsors

KAABOO Del Mar hit their five-year milestone this year, taking place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California from September 13th - 15th. In those five short years they’ve accomplished quite a bit: expanding to two new locations, including an international expansion with KAABOO Cayman, selling out in their fourth year, and becoming a major player in the upscale-festival market.

In addition, since their debut, KAABOO Del Mar has teamed up with some of the biggest global brands to elevate their event through sponsorship. This includes partnerships with MGM Grand, Mercedes Benz and Rolling Stone, to name a few. This year was no different as the festival had more activations and brand presence than ever, adding even more entertainment, amenities and experiences to the attendees looking to further their sensory escape. 

In a year where a festival was seemingly cancelled every other month, KAABOO Del Mar continues to grow and entice brands to grow along with them. Having attended every year since their inception, I’ve noticed a few key things that KAABOO Del Mar does especially well that contributes to their overall sponsorship success.

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Engagement Beyond Music is a Hallmark of the KAABOO Brand

Initially billed as a “mix-perience,” KAABOO Del Mar promises attendees so much more than just world-class talent. From live muralists and an on-site spa, to a culinary lineup featuring live food demonstrations, the festival boasts a unique curation of comedy, art, food, relaxation, amenities and much more meant to appeal to all five senses. It’s become a hallmark of the KAABOO brand that attendees have come to not only expect, but to enjoy beyond expectation. 

It’s because of this emphasis beyond the musical lineup which allows brands to align with the event more organically and in more ways than with festivals whose focus is solely on the artists. Fancy a glass of wine while you stroll through the ARTWORK gallery? Lillet’s got you covered. Want to take a seat without losing view of the Sunset Cliffs main stage? Head to the MGM Resorts and Aflac structures. Lawn games and Instagram photos while you soak in the San Diego sun in between sets? Aperol Spritz and Monster Energy have got you covered. Just looking for a drink, some shade, and maybe some air-conditioning? Well, just about everyone else can accommodate at least one of those. 

By placing more of an emphasis on the experience beyond the music, brands are better able to engage with attendees who have come to expect a full-sensory experience.

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KAABOO is Laser Focused on a Demographic Which has More Disposable Income, and Makes More Lifestyle Decisions

From the choice of talent to the ticketing tiers to the VIP amenities, long before even entering the venue it’s apparent that KAABOO Del Mar is geared towards an older audience with more spending power (as a reference, KAABOO Del Mar’s “Hang 10” and “Ultimate Hang” VIP tickets cost about $3,000 and $20,000 respectively). 

Citing a target age demographic of 25-55 (although based on my observation, it’s more like 35-55), KAABOO Del Mar’s target audience are making purchasing decisions that attendees of, say, Coachella or Life is Beautiful, aren’t even thinking about yet. This laser-focus on that older demographic is very attractive for brands like Aflac, Nordstrom and USAA who’s respective products and services are geared towards someone a little older with a little more disposable income. I’ll be the first to admit: the last time I was at Life is Beautiful I definitely wasn’t thinking about auto insurance.

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There are Many Branding Opportunities and Sponsorable Assets

With so much to do throughout the weekend in such a large venue across multiple ticketing tiers, there’s a plethora of branding opportunities and sponsorable assets throughout the festival. Between the six stages and the “BASK” VIP pool area, five of them had presenting sponsors. In addition to the stages, the silent disco and ARTWORK gallery both had presenting sponsors. Throughout the festival grounds, everything from wayfinding signage to printed maps seemed to be peppered with sponsor logos, maximizing the exposure for partnering brands. And this is just what is seen from the GA-accessible areas. You can bet that across the three VIP tiers, there are  

On the digital front, KAABOO Del Mar’s content team seems to fire on all cylinders non-stop. Whether it’s through Instagram Stories, email newsletters or good old-fashioned Facebook posts, sponsors are introduced online long before the festival weekend.


A post shared by KAABOO Del Mar (@kaaboodelmar) on Jun 6, 2019 at 10:00am PDT

And while there is certainly such a thing as “too much” brand presence, KAABOO Del Mar does a phenomenal job tempering this with the spacious venue and strong emphasis on brand-audience alignment, making their sponsor activities feel spaced-out, organic and unobtrusive to the overall experience. 

Overall, as the event continues to mature, it has successfully established itself as a “mix-perience,” promising full-sensory engagement which brands can incorporate in their activations in creative ways. And with branding opportunities that go beyond an activation, such as digital content and signage, KAABOO Del Mar stands out amongst the festival crowd as a highly attractive opportunity for brands looking to reach an older demographic.

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