Nancy Fisher | 24th Street
|Photo Mike Salt
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Last month we reported on September’s Kaaboo Festival at the Fairgrounds and promised to follow up with income and costs that might justify a financial return to the City that outweighed several noise complaints. Easier said than done when you’re dealing with a private company, a state agency, and a city, but here’s what we’ve gathered so far. We will continue to report as hard numbers become available.
From Kaaboo management:
As a private company, Kaaboo has chosen not to report attendance numbers, but has estimated that the event generated $218,000 in sales tax (a portion of which goes to the City). They also report that the average age of attendees was 38, and that their annual income was more than $100,000. They have promised to address the positioning of the stages, increase sound monitoring, and install sound–blocking equipment to reduce noise complaints.
From Fairgrounds management:
Fairgrounds General Manager Tim Fennell estimated that Kaaboo drew 50–60,000 attendees over the three-day run and netted between $800-900,000 for the 22 Ag. District (the Fairgrounds). He expects attendance to rise by 20% at next year’s event, and also wants residents to know that noise complaints were taken seriously. “Kaaboo is committed,” says Fennell, “to trying to address the sound issues in future years.” At the recent board meeting of the 22nd Ag. District representatives from Del Mar hotels Indigo and L’Auberge both reported increased business and asked that the event return next year.
From Kristen Crane, Management Services Director for the City of Del Mar:
“We have done some work to estimate the City’s internal operational costs related to KAABOO, both to prepare for the event (such as advance coordination meetings internally and externally with the DAA reps, KAABOO organizers, etc; preparing City Council agenda reports; planning and coordinating the community meeting in August; identifying our internal operational plan for the weekend; responding to the noise complaints after the event, etc.) and for the weekend itself.
The total estimated value of the City’s costs for all aspects related to KAABOO, back to the time when we first heard about the event last winter, is about $21,000.
About $16,000 of this amount was the value of staff time related to efforts to prepare for KAABOO across the organization. This was not an actual direct cost incurred, rather the value of the time spent by various staff members related to preparations for KAABOO. It is important to note that the advance preparation costs are largely attributable to the fact that this was the first time the event occurred and there were a lot of community concerns that we worked proactively to address internally and with the DAA and KAABOO representatives. If the event occurs again in the future, this cost figure would not be a recurring annual amount at this level.
The other $5,000 was the cost for extra staffing and traffic control signage for the weekend itself. This number does represent direct costs that were incurred. (It does not include staffing that would have been otherwise in place for a busy summer weekend in September, such as it was.)
While the City of Del Mar does not yet have official figures for transient occupancy tax or sales tax receipt from the time period when KAABOO occurred, anecdotally, we have heard from local merchants and hoteliers that the weekend was very busy for them.
The City of Del Mar is in the midst of working jointly with the 22nd District Agricultural Association and the City of Solana Beach on an Economic Impact Study evaluating the revenues associated with the Fairgrounds operations and presence, as well as the operational costs. The study includes an analysis of KAABOO. The preliminary report from the Economic Impact Study are expected in the coming weeks.”