In a little more than a month I'm heading to the Caribbean for the first time in my life. I'll be dragging along my own personal pirate, a camera, a bikini, and my festival survival kit. We're slated for a week in paradise, there to unearth the treasures of Grand Cayman Island, work on my tan, channel my inner pirate (but where did all the rum go?), and attend the inaugural KAABOO Cayman music festival.
That's right. A music festival with a kickass lineup in the Caribbean, on Seven Mile Beach, next to crashing waves, a shipwreck and real coral reefs. The question is, though, do the sea turtles prefer Bryan Adams or are they more of a Chainsmokers fan? We all know those frickin' dolphins go for Salt-n-pepa. No question there.
Bonus points if the mental image of dolphins jamming to Push It just crossed your mind.
As always, I write about the shit that I'm super excited about. This is most definitely one of those things. It's a little bit "bucket-list," a good chunk of "only in your wildest dreams" and a whole lot of "yeah, I definitely need a beach break sometime soon." I'm thrilled, excited, stoked, impatient, definitely not tanned enough and a little concerned about my lack of 'bikini conditioning.' This is gonna be epic.
Let me tell you a little about it, though. KAABOO is a brand new festival concept. I've been dying to check one of these out. Their site describes "an adult escape, uniquely curated to appeal to all five of your senses, with world-class music, inspiring contemporary art, hilarious comedy, incredible cuisine, craft libations, and personal indulgences." Basically, the people behind this festival took a good hard look at all the shitty things we have to put up with at a normal festival and they decided to make it better.
They have a "people against dirt" pledge. Winning. I'm no prima donna when it comes to festivals; getting dirty, sitting on the ground, using nasty facilities and breathing gross hazy air is inevitable. You take it in stride along with crap $19 beer and greasy tasteless pizza. You do your best to ignore the grime, then you go home and take that kind of long hot shower that induces third-degree burns and exfoliates your eyebrows off. And then you hope that the pollutants you just absorbed into your body aren't going to come back and haunt you in 30 years' time. But KAABOO wants to change that. They give you lots of cushy, comfy shaded places to sit. Indoors and outdoors. You can go relax and watch a chef create upscale artisanal fare, or you can take a moment at BASK, get a massage, manicure or spa treatment. Also, KAABOO promises no porta potties. Because, while festivaling, I've been known to avoid the scum and villainy of these temporary restroom situations until my bladder is actually almost falling out of my body and the pain is at a twelve out of ten. Apologies for the mental image there. Let's move on. KAABOO promises a "clean festival experience" and I am highly curious and ready to test that promise.
But let's switch gears to the most important part: The music. Lineup is everything, and you can't escape a junky musical offering. But KAABOO has managed to scoop an impressive variety of old and new: Chainsmokers, Duran Duran, Zedd, Jason Derulo, Bryan Adams, Counting Crows, Flo Rida, Blondie, LIVE, Salt n Pepa, Shaggy, Sean Paul... is this not the perfect mix of everything you'd want to hear on the beach? You've got a little tried-and-true American rock, the chance to get Boombastic with Shaggy (by the way, did you know his real name is Orville? And that he was a Marine in the Persian Gulf war? Jamaican me love ya even more, Shags), some Salt-n-pepa for them frickin' dolphins, and of course Bryan Adams. Because I love me some Bryan Adams and I will probably cry with the opening riffs of Summer of 69. My inner 80's child is showing. I'm okay with this.
The old, the new, the stuff that makes you involuntarily get up and dance, and the nostalgia of old rock that sounds great at any time, but will sound even better on that seven-mile beach.
They also have comedy. Like of the Wanda Sykes, Tom Green, Kevin Nealon and Norm Macdonald (that's the guy that David Letterman called the funniest guy in the world) variety. Truth be told, I don't usually pay a lot of attention to the comedy offered at festivals. It's usually not that great and I'm always distracted by the music anyway. But... with a list like this, I may have to adjust my approach and make sure to stop in for a comedic break.
This is probably where I'm supposed to make some wise-ass joke about clownfish. There's been enough bad humor thus far... I'll spare you.
This is bound to be a week I won't soon forget. I'm going to lie on the beach, take a snorkeling expedition to a real live shipwreck, then spelunk my happy ass through stalactite-riddled caves after hiking in the rainforest. We'll swim with the sea turtles and sip Pina Coladas while the sun sets. Then rock our little hearts out to some of the best music and the most hilarious comedy at this brand-new festival concept.
As I'm sure you're all aware, I lean on the spontaneous side. While this wasn't a trip I had planned for the new year until, well, like a week ago, I can't even express my insane excitement over the entire thing. But I'm proof that if you just randomly decide that attending a Caribbean festival is a good idea, you can actually make it happen. I'm sure you'll hear more from me about KAABOO in coming weeks... sorry, not sorry. If by chance you think you might want to go, know this: tickets are still available, flights out are reasonable (~$500) and you can still scoop a nearby hotel or AirBnB. I'll be there. So will the sea turtles. Come hang, 'cause Yolo...
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