Following weeks of rumour and speculation, officials have announced that the largest music festival in Cayman’s history is a one-off.

“After careful deliberation, the partners behind KAABOO Cayman regret to announce that the event will not be returning to the Cayman Islands in 2020,” Jason Felts, chief brand and marketing officer for KAABOO, said in an email Saturday evening.

Felts, the point person behind the event, said those holding passes, which were sold shortly after the end of the two-day festival in February, will have their money refunded. Emails were sent out to purchasers Sunday evening, confirming cancellation of the event and providing details of the refund process.

In other emails, Felts said the cancellation was “a business decision made entirely by the partners in KAABOO Cayman”. KAABOO and Dart were the two major partners in the event.

In a statement, Dart officials said, “Not proceeding with a 2020 Cayman event was a business decision. We wish KAABOO the best on its US events.”

KAABOO, which will mount its fifth annual three-day festival in Del Mar, California, on 13‑15 Sept., also produced a festival in Dallas in May. The Cayman show was the first offshoot of the California festival and organisers spent millions developing a 37-acre plot of land north of the Kimpton Seafire resort into an outdoor concert venue and bringing in high-profile performers to the island.

Dart was KAABOO’s primary backing partner for the Cayman event and initially said it was committed to supporting what was anticipated as an annual festival for its first three years.

The event drew close to 10,000 revellers at its peak to hear such acts as Chainsmokers, Duran Duran, Flo Rida, Bryan Adams, Blondie and Zedd, along with comedians Wanda Sykes, Norm Macdonald and Natasha Leggero. The festival also offered presentations by top international and local chefs, as well as an art element, which included an on-site gallery and artists painting giant murals as the music played.

KAABOO 2019 was a hit with attendees, but organisers say the festival will not go ahead next year. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

From a crowd perspective, the two days of entertainment were wildly successful.
From the business side, it appears to have been less so.

“The success of KAABOO Cayman in 2019 as a multi-day, premium music, art and comedy festival has established Cayman’s ability to deliver large-scale events at international standards,” Felts said in his statement. “KAABOO will be returning its focus to its current and future planned US-based events.”

“KAABOO Cayman would like to sincerely thank all those who attended, supported and participated in the 2019 event,” the statement continued, “and hopes a precedent has been set for future festivals in the Cayman Islands.”

As to whether KAABOO might return to Cayman some time in the future, Felts said he was “not in a position to answer at this time”.

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