Resurrection buzz

LeBlanc says Kaaboo’s talent level “will exceed Street Scene.”
  • LeBlanc says Kaaboo’s talent level “will exceed Street Scene.”

Could 2015 be the year that Street Scene (or something like it) comes back to life?

The resurrection buzz comes with the arrival of the Kaaboo Festival September 18–20 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The promoter of the event, Horsepower Entertainment of Greenwood Village, Colorado, promises the three-day event will have “100 musical acts on seven stages.”

Nashville-based talent buyer Roger LeBlanc is booking Kaaboo.

Street Scene was launched by promoter Rob Hagey on two Gaslamp blocks in 1984. The event grew, but so did the Gaslamp, which eventually squeezed Street Scene out of downtown. Strett Scene bounced around to other venues such as Petco Park and Qualcomm Stadium parking lots. At its 2004 peak, Street Scene drew 105,000 when the Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, Social D, Black Eyed Peas, and Ziggy Marley were among some 60 acts. The final Street Scene was 2009.

Live Nation, which took over the event from Hagey, had announced that the 2007 Street Scene (the Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Slightly Stoopid, Jaguares) would be at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. But just days before the event, Live Nation moved the event to Coors (now Sleep Train) Amphitheatre, which it owns.

While LeBlanc says it’s too early to announce the Kaaboo lineup, he says “the talent level of Kaaboo will exceed Street Scene. We can’t say yet, but we are going to create something entirely different.”

One insider doesn’t doubt that Kaaboo will be able to attract big names. “The problem is that Street Scene had no edge, no identity. Bonnaroo, Coachella, Pitchfork all have a theme, a focus. I think the problem with Street Scene was that it was too mainstream. It didn’t mean anything. Seems to me the best thing the Street Scene could do is be the local version of [Monterey-based reggae fest] Cali Roots, or some other focus. If it’s just like before, it will be like one big P.B. block party.”

The recent event closest in feel to the Street Scenes of the ’80s was the two-day San Diego Blues Festival at the downtown Waterfront last September, which featured Eric Burdon, Elvin Bishop, and Earl Thomas. Promoter Michael Kinsman says the event drew 7000 and will definitely return in 2015.

Rob Hagey Productions, meanwhile, continues to book the TGIF Concerts in the Park series in Carlsbad, which launches its 30th year this summer.

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This statement comes from the promoter of the event: "HorsePower Entertainment reiterated that they have the utmost respect for the success of the San Diego Street Scene. KAABOO will be presented as a significant music event in its own right and is in no way attempting to be better than Street Scene. KAABOO’s goal is to create an event that will fill a void in the San Diego market."

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