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Kaaboo Cayman: the Caribbean festival putting out the Fyre

“I challenge you to find a cheese sandwich” says organiser of Kaaboo Cayman, the luxury Caribbean music festival looking to combat Fyre's disaster

By Anna Grace on 19 Feb 2019

Kaaboo Cayman

Kaaboo Cayman performer, Zedd, enjoying the island

image © Jason Siegel

The sold-out, inaugural Kaaboo Cayman took place from 15 to 16 February on Seven Mile beach, Grand Cayman, featuring performances from the Chainsmokers and Duran Duran.

The Caribbean festival hosted 10,000 people over two days of music, comedy and culinary experiences, overcoming obstacles posed following the well-publicised failure of the Bahamas-based Fyre Festival.

The Chainsmokers, Maren Morris and Flo Rida headlined the opening night, with Duran Duran, Jason Derulo, Shaggy, Blondie and Zedd performing on the Saturday. Stand-up comedy performances came from Darell Hammond, Kevin Nealon and Wanda Sykes over the weekend.

Jason Felts, chief executive of Virgin Produced and chief brand officer of Kaaboo Cayman, estimates the economic impact of the festival to be between US$15 to $20 million for the Cayman Islands.

“If we failed here in the Cayman Islands, it would hurt the industry overall, and so we were over-prepared so as to help the industry thrive on the whole”

Kaaboo teamed up with Richard Branson’s Virgin brand, which oversaw artist programming and procurement, and sponsors including Dart Enterprises, Digicel and BritCay.

Felts says it was “challenging” to regain the trust of the consumer and to convince both festivalgoers and industry figures that Kaaboo Cayman would not become another Fyre Festival.

“If we failed here in the Cayman Islands, it would hurt the industry overall, and so we were over-prepared so as to help the industry thrive on the whole,” says Felts. “As you look over our site, you can see the infrastructure is incredible.”

“There is no FEMA tent. I challenge you to find a cheese sandwich,” he adds.

The team is now planning for Kaaboo Cayman 2020, as well as the first Kaaboo Texas, which will take place in May this year at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The fifth annual Kaaboo Del Mar kicks off in San Diego in September.

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