SAN DIEGO — The saga of the dormant KAABOO music festival has taken a new twist, with lawsuits in San Diego and Delaware that pit the event’s new owners — whose identity appears to be shrouded in mystery — against the San Diego Padres.
The latest turn comes three years after KAABOO concluded its five-year run at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in 2019.
It was then that the festival announced a new, multiyear partnership with the Padres and a 2020 move to the Major League Baseball team’s downtown Petco Park stadium, which the Padres operate and co-own with the city of San Diego. That prompted the fairgrounds’ board to threaten a breach of contract lawsuit, although it appears no litigation ensued.
Concurrently, the name of the upscale three-day music and food festival was changed from KAABOO Del Mar to KAABOO San Diego. The event’s social media page names were changed to reflect the new moniker.
But the 2020 edition of KAABOO, scheduled for Sept. 18-20 of that year, was shelved because of the COVID-19 pandemic before any lineup of performers was ever announced. Last year’s edition never took place, despite a statement by the event’s producers in May 2021 promising “exciting news and announcements coming soon via social and email.”
There have been no further announcements, and KAABOO’s social media pages have not been updated in the past year. To further complicate matters, the festival appears to have undergone at least three changes of ownership since the 2019 partnership with the Padres was announced.
Now, the newest owners and at least one of the past owners of KAABOO have teamed up against the Padres in a pair of lawsuits quietly filed earlier this year in San Diego Superior Court and the Superior Court of the State of Delaware.
Both suits allege the Padres are preventing KAABOO from returning to Del Mar this fall, or in the future, unless certain conditions are met. The suits further allege the Padres maintain there has been a breach of contract and are asking KAABOO to pay approximately $2 million in return for the team allowing KAABOO to be held in Del Mar, or anywhere else within a 100-mile radius of the baseball stadium.
The two sides strongly disagree over the status of the partnership that the Padres and KAABOO’s then-owners entered in 2019, which KAABOO maintains is a written-term agreement that was never finalized.
“The only thing I’ll say on the record, because it’s a pending legal matter, is that we don’t comment on the record,” Padres CEO Erik Greupner told the Union-Tribune last week.