The Cayman Islands is no stranger to international music acts, but previous concerts will pale in comparison to KAABOO, happening this Friday and Saturday.
A collection of artists will come together on purpose-built grounds north of the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa to entertain crowds of thousands.
The area stretches from the beach to the bypass, featuring cabanas, tents, multiple stages, culinary delights, bars, lounges and anything else necessary to create an unforgettable festival. Ticket holders have been picking up their wristbands for the past two weeks, the Royal Cayman Islands Police has laid out its plan to handle an extraordinary amount of traffic, and now the weekend is upon us. Here is the full breakdown including acts and how to navigate the schedule.
You will want to make the most of your time at KAABOO by getting to the grounds nice and early. The gates open at 1 p.m. on Friday and things kick off soon after. Local performers Rico Rolando and Suckerbox can be found on the Digicel Ironshore and Virgin Produced Coral Reef stages, respectively, each offering a succinct 30-minute set. Try to get out there and give them the love – support local!
Following Rico Rolando is Transviolet – a U.S. band with a very strong Cayman connection. Lead singer Sarah McTaggart is one of our own, and her band has been making waves stateside. They have performed on James Corden’s “The Late Late Show” and have won endorsements from Harry Styles and Katy Perry.
Magic! from Toronto (of the hit song “Rude”) takes over with the 3 p.m. slot, then there is Maxi Priest – well known to all in Cayman – Margo Price, Flo Rida (he of “Low” fame – remember “Tropic Thunder?”) and Maren Morris.
The sets get longer as the names get bigger. Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Bryan Adams, the gravelly voiced Canadian, will perform for just over an hour, as will the Counting Crows, before mega headliners The Chainsmokers close out the night on the Digicel Ironshore stage between 10:15 and 11:45 p.m.
Things start a little earlier on Saturday; at noon, to be precise. Local thespian and media personality Matt Brown has a 10-minute stint on the Virgin Produced Coral Reef stage, with Shameka Clarke immediately after on the Digicel Ironshore stage. Fans of local band Lionfish should gather to hear them at 12:40 p.m., followed by Romain Virgo and Hirie taking everyone to 2:15 p.m.
Hitmakers and energetic dance duo Salt-N-Pepa are booked for 45 minutes, featuring DJ Spinderella. This will be girl power at its finest, setting the bar for live performances for the rest of the day.
Blues Traveler (they of the smash hits “Hook” and “Run-Around”), with John Popper leading the charge, harmonica in hand, are on stage for an hour, with Shaggy taking over from 4 to 5 p.m.
The ageless Deborah Harry and her band Blondie will hopefully get their chart-toppers out for the event – come on, “Heart of Glass” – before the angst-ridden Live reminds everyone of the songs they listened to after a bad break-up in the ‘90s.
Sean Paul brings everyone back to the bosom of the Caribbean before Zedd shows off his considerable skills on the turntables. This DJ, songwriter and record producer easily commands an audience of thousands, dropping the bass with confidence.
The penultimate act on Saturday night is Jason Derulo. Seller of more than 30 million singles, Derulo is known for songs such as “Wiggle,” “Talk Dirty,” “In My Head” and “Watcha Say.”
Finally, expect everyone to make a beeline for the Digicel Ironshore stage just before 10:30 p.m. Why? Because one of the U.K.’s biggest bands, Duran Duran, is playing from then until midnight. We are talking about “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Rio,” “Girls on Film,” “Reflex,” “Electric Barbarella,” “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone” … for starters! Who among us over the age of 40 has not had a poster of one of the lads adorning their wall at some point in their lives?
If their previous live performances are anything to go by, we are in for a heck of a show. Prepare to be blown away.
The BritCay Humor Me area is well away from the music stages so you will not miss a word of the headlining comedians on the microphone throughout the day. Each performance is an hour long and the most important thing to remember is that doors close 15 minutes before start time.
The comedy show starts at 3:45 p.m. with all guns blazing as “SNL” heavy hitter Darrell Hammond brings his particular brand of humor to Cayman. Not only did Hammond spend 14 years on “SNL,” he also departed as the oldest cast member in the show’s history.
In fact, Friday afternoon is a bit of an “SNL”-fest, with Kevin Nealon taking the baton at 5:35 p.m. and Norm Macdonald at 7:35 p.m. It is quite a dizzying array of comedic talent in one day – best to ready your funny bone in advance.
After Macdonald, audience members can take a bit of a break before the final comedian of the night – Moshe Kasher. Moshe starts at midnight. We do not know why he is so late in the day, but we cannot wait to find out.
The laughs begin at 1:45 p.m. with “Last Comic Standing” champion Alonzo Bodden. Next is another “SNL” favorite, Finesse Mitchell. Known for his impressions of Morgan Freeman and 50 Cent, he is also recognized for his work in Disney’s “A.N.T. Farm” in the part of Darryl Parks.
Television actress and comedian Natasha Leggero takes the reins at 5:45 p.m. and then one of the top queens of comedy, Wanda Sykes, closes out the Humor Me schedule.
You do not have to be a tourist to appreciate dancing in the sand. The Bask beach party will have DJs and live acts keeping the music pumping through the day and into the night. There are no breaks between acts – just one leading right into the next – so no downtime.
American DJ and producer Garman opens it up for the first two hours, followed by DJ Max Zazakov, and musicians/singers Danny Loops and Riaan Smit.
Once the sun goes down, the DJs step up in earnest. Find DJ Jonesian spinning tunes from 7 to 9:30 p.m. then DJ Lin and DJ Glenroy. International traveler and entertainer extraordinaire, DJ Jax, takes the latest shift of all – 12:30 to 2 a.m.
Underground multi-genre production group 1503, hailing from Cayman, is the first act on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. It is all DJs for the rest of the day with DJ Cliff handing over to Mat Banx, DJ Lora, Billy Corduroy and Urusai. Grammy Award-winning duo Dirty Vegas close out the night from 10:30 p.m.-midnight.
Bon Vivant Palate
Foodies know that the Bon Vivant Palate stage is where all the culinary action is happening. Local and international chefs take audience members on a journey through techniques and flavors that have made them sought-after personalities and experts.
Chef Dylan Benoit is the early bird at 1:45 p.m. with friends and business partners Cody Bush and Anthony Lawson on at 3 p.m.
Josef Felts wields the knife at 4 p.m., followed by Nina Compton and Richard Blais.
The Bon Vivant Palate stage finishes its schedule at a respectable 7:30 p.m.
Thomas Seifried from The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is the opener at 12:30 p.m., then Maureen “Mo” Cubbon takes over at 1:30 p.m. Thomas Tennant is on stage at 3 p.m. and the day rounds out with Michelle Bernstein and Michael Mina. Chef Mina’s culinary and business vision led to the founding of Mina Group, with partner Andre Agassi in 2002.
Tickets and wristbands
KAABOO organizers announced that tickets are sold out as of Wednesday. All attendees are issued with a wristband, which are waterproof so you can still shower or swim with one on. Don’t make it too tight – once it’s on, it can’t be loosened. The wristbands are non-transferable, and if you lose one, you’ll have to pay a fee to replace it.
Attendees are urged to check all information at www.kaaboocayman.com, which covers updated schedules, shuttles, the map of the grounds and what you can and cannot take into the festival. KAABOO Cayman runs from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and noon to midnight on Saturday.