At a certain point, the question becomes are you a spectator or a star? Given the kind of amenities being offered to those willing to pay for it, that line might get a bit blurred at the upcoming KAABOO Cayman festival, Feb. 15 and 16, 2019.

Cayman is the first, in what is planned to be a multi-city expansion of the four-year-old KAABOO Del Mar festival near San Diego, Calif. Twenty musical artists – including the Chainsmokers, Duran Duran and Blondie – will take to the stage over two days on a site just north of the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa.

Kaaboo building with mural

Most folks will have to work to navigate the traffic situation – no on-site parking for regular ticket holders – and endure the heat of the Caribbean sun as they enjoy the music, comedy, art, food, and drinks at the festival. But for those investing a few hundred, or a few thousand, dollars more, the experience becomes much more convenient if not outright indulgent.

Premium ticket holders get access to exclusive lounge areas, preferred seating, reserved parking or dedicated shuttles, free food, and drinks. And that’s just the start.

More money means more access to such things as artist meet-and-greets, free customized meals and pampering spa services, such as massages, manicures, and hair styling.

Beyond that, there is the Dream Pass, only one of which is being made available at $500,000.

Jason Felts, KAABOO’s chief marketer, said a client has put a hold on the Dream Pass. That client, he said, is interested in using it for a party of six, elevating the cost to “just under $1 million.” The amenities include a chartered jet, lodging at a local estate, a personal yacht, and other high-end pampering.

Felts said despite such offerings, he doesn’t want Cayman residents to feel the festival is exclusive. He argued that the $377 (with service fee) cost of the basic Thatch Pass is a bargain compared to flying to Miami to see a single concert by one of the artists playing KAABOO.

Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers jumping while playing on stage.“KAABOO is a festival for all of Cayman, not just the affluent,” he said. “Every guest is important at KAABOO, every single one.”

But it’s the VIP, or “amplified,” passes that tend to get more attention. They set the event apart from other festivals such as Coachella and Bonnaroo, which offer reserved lounge areas and preferred seating as part of their VIP passes, but little more.

“I think KAABOO has really differentiated itself in the live entertainment space by virtue of having a focus on this very high level of guest service across the entire event,” Felts said. “When you move into our amplify programs, that’s when you start getting the higher level of comfort.”

Crowd watching a band on stage.In addition to the perks at the festival itself, VIP ticket holders also have access to online concierge support prior to the event.

“The relationship with KAABOO continues from when you buy the pass,” Felts said. “We want to have a 365-day relationship with our guests.”

At the recent Del Mar festival, veterinarian Donald Krawiec, 68, of Carlsbad, said he has purchased a VIP ticket each of the three years he has attended. He said he has developed a relationship with marketing personnel, communicating with them regularly throughout the year.

Recently, he said, he was involved in a local fundraising event and his KAABOO concierge was able to provide an auction item.

“I can afford this, and I feel I’m being taken care of,” Krawiec said.

That attention is paying off, Felts said, adding that 100 percent of Del Mar’s Ultimate Hang ticket buyers from 2017 returned for the 2018 festival.

“People know what they’re going to get,” he said, “and we’ve been delivering.”