The luxe KAABOO Festival kicked off its inaugural Texas chapter this past weekend at the AT&T Stadium, a.k.a. the Dallas Cowboys’ “Jerry World,” which was quite the setting for festival newbies and veterans alike. Although the crowds could have been bigger and the weather could have been better, this could be said for many first-year fests, so we are going to look past that.
For those in attendance, KAABOO Texas definitely lived up to its common descriptors of “luxurious,” “indulgent,” and “amenity-filled.” Although attendees had to pony up extra cash for the Vegas-style “BASK” stage (which unfortunately only saw one sunny day) and the “HUMOR ME” comedy tent, our overall consensus was that it was worth it.
Where else can fans find a festival with an anti-dirt policy, indoor restrooms, and a practically seamless entry? KAABOO Texas. Where can fans take their parents and have plenty of places to sit down when you need a rest? KAABOO Texas. Where can fans see some of the biggest names of genre-spanning bucket list artists in a uniquely intimate setting? Why, KAABOO Texas, that’s where.
The grounds were immaculately well produced and spanned throughout the inside and outside of the stadium. Speaking of outside, that was where fans could find large, Instagram-worthy murals from various artists creating an eye-catching palette. The use of five outdoor stages (including comedy and culinary) also helped to make for an expansive layout with plenty of room for attendees to explore.
Friday kicked off with a set by English rock band BUSH on the Stadium stage, which set the precedent for what the weekend would hold–intimate performances in a huge stadium setting. Next up was a way-too-fashionably-late set by Ms. Lauryn Hill, who celebrated twenty years of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by performing twelve of the songs off of her iconic 1998 album (we will excuse her lateness because of this.)
The female powerhouse theme rang true with energetic performances by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts and the very pregnant Alanis Morisette. Lionel Richie braved a fall in the rain and kept the crowd dancing hit after hit with highlights including “Dancing On The Ceiling”, “Brick House”, and an “All Night Long” closer. Unfortunately, Chromeo’s DJ set was canceled due to weather, making room for The Killers to close the night by unexpectedly playing a cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and George Strait’s “Amarillo By Morning”.
KAABOO totally transformed the inside of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium with a plethora of art, jewelry, and clothing vendors, which all sold almost every craft indulgence available one could think of. Local food vendors presented delectable delights for every taste in addition to craft beer and wine, and top-shelf liquor of every kind–although the $15 glasses of wine and $12 Coors Lights were a little outrageous. Culinary delights at the PALATE Stage were definitely a unique aspect of KAABOO. Throughout the afternoon, distinguished chefs took over the stage, where attendees could observe cooking methods, receive tips, and sample small bites.
The lineup for Saturday saw country rock stars Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Reel, who reeled in fans with their impeccable musicianship, originality, and of course, some loveable Willie Nelson covers. Collective Soul brought us back to the nineties and aughts, while Violent Femmes performed just as well as the did in their heyday. The night closed out with American rock staple Lynyrd Skynyrd and rock-rapper Kid Rock. There is something to be said about a festival that allows fans to hear “Sweet Home Alabama” followed by a “Freebird” encore.
Sunday was indeed that, alloweing KAABOO to finally a taste of the Texas sun. This was a good thing for BASK ticket holders, who finally got to enjoy the pop-up pool with very exclusive access. Hometown heroes Mamafesta brought their rockin’ tunes to kick off what was a beautiful Mother’s Day.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue came stacked with the most brass of the weekend and created an insanely energetic set that was one of the day’s highlights. The Avett Brothers, an American folk-rock band from Concord, North Carolina, composed an incredibly emotional and moving performance enhanced by their one-of-a-kind harmonies and immensely respectable musicianship. A fun-loving performance by the Counting Crows kicked off before the festival’s closer, Sting, made the weekend’s nostalgia meter overflow and then some.
Overall, KAABOO Texas was one of the most well-produced and well-organized first-year festivals in quite some time. The producers took the KAABOO Del Mar and KAABOO Cayman Islands models and made Jerry World their home for three days. KAABOO definitely brought something special to a lacking market and we hope the rest of DFW gets KAABOO-zled with us in 2020.
Fans can scroll down to check out the photos from this past weekend’s inaugural KAABOO Texas, courtesy of Alive Coverage.