KAABOO Music Festival Brings Killer Music, But Almost Everything Else Disappoints in Weird Texas Debut
Luxury Fest Vows to Come Back — Will it Improve?BY Megan Ziots // 05.13.19
The Killers were the best thing about KAABOO. Courtesy of KAABOO
The confetti was fun.
This picture isn't about the food, but the sparseness of the crowd behind it.
KAABOO, a three-day music experience from California, took over AT&T Stadium over the weekend. Many big names had some great performances, including The Killers, Sting, Ludacris, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Lionel Richie. But overall, the first KAABOO festival in Texas had a weird vibe.
I attended the festival on Friday evening. It was gloomy and rainy, but I was excited to see The Killers and glad that the AT&T Stadium roof was closed. It was eerily easy to walk in. There were absolutely no lines and we sped through security. All too soon, we were in the venue. It was hardly crowded.
Alanis Morissette was already singing on stage, pregnant and rocking all of her classics. I walked around to look at the food options, which were all pretty expensive. There was a $14 mac and cheese burger from The Rustic, expensive seafood dishes from Oceanaire Seafood Room, and $12 beers offered indoors. My plus one and I headed outside to check out some other options.
As we made our way around the outside of the venue, it was even more apparent how empty the place was. There were either way too few people in attendance or way too much space for this whole thing. It just felt strange. Almost like we stumbled upon something that was supposed to be a secret.
We passed by Bask, the pool, which probably wasn’t being used because it was drizzling, but couldn’t see inside since it was “VIP only.” We eventually found some decently priced corn dogs and gyros that were less than decent taste-wise. So far, we were quite disappointed.
Eventually, things turned around. Lionel Richie began performing on a stage outside. We were still unsatisfied with our food so we tried a barbecue stand that had a great brisket sandwich. We also stumbled upon a Ford tent with arcade games and a photo booth so that kept us entertained for a few minutes. Once Lionel was singing “Easy Like Sunday Morning,” I was feeling much more uplifted and ready for the main event, The Killers.
We made our way back inside AT&T and walked out to the floor, which was entirely too big. It just looked awkward being only half full for such a large event. The seating looked even more sparse, with people scattered throughout a couple different levels. Soon enough, The Killers came out singing “Mr. Brightside” and we almost forgot how weird of a vibe this festival was giving us.
About 10 minutes before The Killers were supposed to end, a message came up on the stage-adjacent screens telling everyone to make their way inside because of bad weather. Well, we were already inside so that was not for us. Lead singer Brandon Flowers paused, charmingly laughed off the awkwardness, and ended with “All The Things That I Have Done.”
The Big Return?
Although I didn’t go back for day two or three, I wondered all weekend if this strange festival would be coming back for a second try. The answer is surprisingly yes.
Today, a press release trumpeted that KABOO will be returning in 2020. “Although the weekend kicked off with a little rain, that didn’t deter the energy of the event. As a multi-sensory festival experience with six stages, we delivered a little something for everyone both indoors and outdoors at AT&T Stadium,” KAABOO partner and chief brand officer Jason Felts said in a statement.
“Truly a first for the venue, it was an incredible three days of music, comedy, art, culinary offerings, and our signature indulgences all weekend long. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!”
I don’t know if incredible is the right word, but the music was at least awesome.