More vetting needed for KAABOO-Vail event |

More vetting needed for KAABOO-Vail event

About KAABOO- Vail:

What: KAABOO-Vail is an upscale event that brings music, comedy, cuisine and mountain lifestyle to one location. The event attracts 25-65 year olds, but the median age will be 37-39.

Where: Centered around Ford Park and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.

When: The three-day event would take place at the end of August 2017.

Cost: Three-day passes start at $200 with a VIP experience starting at $700. Single-day tickets may be offered.

More information: Visit, or go to the next Vail Valley Foundation open house on May 26 at the Grand View Room in the Lionshead parking structure. The first session is from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; and the second session is from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

VAIL — Fifteen thousand people converging on Vail for a three-day luxury music festival experience is in the public comment phase.

The Vail Valley Foundation is proposing KAABOO-Vail, an upscale event that brings music, comedy, cuisine, art and the mountain lifestyle to one location.

More than a dozen people spoke during the public comment portion of the Vail Town Council meeting on Tuesday. The overall opinion for the project is that it’s “exactly the event we’ve been talking about for years,” council member Jenn Bruno said, but it needs to be “thoroughly vetted,” council member Dick Cleveland said.

Questions from the public comments focused on the environmental impact on the fields that would be used for the event, which recently underwent $3.5 million in upgrades; the hastiness of the project, which Vail Valley Foundation aims to be approved in early June; and parking.

“If this is not the event we’ve been looking for, then what is?”Jenn BrunoVail Town Council

Support Local Journalism

The three-day, ticketed event would bring a higher-end clientele to town with festival passes starting at $200 and the VIP pass starting at $700. The event would be centered around Ford Park, the athletic fields and tennis courts.

The Vail Valley Foundation is working with the Vail Recreation District and Betty Ford Alpine Gardens looking for an agreement.


KAABOO is currently in only one other U.S. city, Del Mar, California, and attracts 25-65-year-olds, but with a main focus on the 37-39 age range.

It’s the “new festival experience,” said Heidi Beale, who attended the Del Mar event and other music festivals across the country. “They come for the music, but they fall in love with our town.”

Council members agreed the increased economic impact an event like KAABOO-Vail would have, and the event is planned for Aug. 18-20, 2017, a time of the year needing an event on the schedule.

“If this is not the event we’ve been looking for, then what is?” Bruno asked.

Read the previous Vail Daily story about KAABOO-Vail online.

Check out the video below of the KAABOO-Del Mar action from 2015. Although the idea is the same, KAABOO and the Vail Valley Foundation will cater the event to the mountain community of Vail.

[iframe src=”” frameborder=”0” width=”640” height=”360”/]


The Vail Valley Foundation has already hired a contractor to look into the environmental impacts on the turf fields. Their solution is to spend a large investment on a hard-surface covering system that covers all of the fields, said Michael Imhof, president and CEO of Vail Valley Foundation.

“We’re not going to take that risk,” Imhof said. “We’re going to protect those fields.”

The council asked for a second opinion.

Imhof said the foundation has been in discussion with the town and the rec district for months, with discussions with the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens beginning later.

Unlike a large ski day, when visitors come just for the day, KAABOO-Vail would be a three-day event where visitors come to their lodging and most likely park there for the duration of their stay, Imhof said.

The hastiness of the project was raised multiple times on Tuesday. The need to get the project approved by the June 10 deadline, which Imhof said could be pushed back a little bit, is because an event like this takes over a year to plan and KAABOO could look to move this event elsewhere.

Residents also raised concerns about the proposed 20-year commitment. Imhof said that the Vail Valley Foundation invests in solid projects, so it is expected an event like this would have a long-term commitment, although there are ways out of the event if it doesn’t fulfill its commitments.

Vail resident and business owner Rayla Kundolf addressed the council and the public in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting. She said that August is the time for an event like KAABOO, it attracts a “great” demographic and credited Imhof and the Vail Valley Foundation for previous projects, such as the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

“We can’t be afraid to go forth,” Kundolf said.

Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

Support Local Journalism