Ohana Fest Part 2 @ Doheny State Beach – 09/30/2018
The third annual Ohana Festival, curated by Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, concluded its three day run at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point California on Sunday September 30th. A packed lineup for the final day of this beach-side extravaganza included Beck, Young The Giant, Switchfoot, Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness and headliners Mumford & Sons.
Once again Doheny Beach served as the perfect location for a multi-day music festival—offering up fresh Pacific Ocean breezes, sand, large grass areas and two stages that kept the music flowing non-stop throughout the days and evenings. With diverse acts filling out the bill, the demographic may have skewed more towards 30 and 40 year olds but it was clear that families young and old made a day (or a whole weekend) out of experience. The Ohana Storytellers area was an interactive pavilion that hosted panels including discussions with professional surfer Rob Machado, big wave champion Greg Long and 2015 ISA Women’s Open Champion Tia Blanco along with an appearance by world famous artist Wyland. Craft beer gardens, specialty food trucks, assorted vendors helped complete the festival vibe. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds for the weekend were donated to the San Onofre Parks Foundation, a local non-profit organization that works directly with the California State Parks association to preserve and develop coastal parks here in Southern California.
Local Dana Point resident and Dana Hills High graduate Andrew McMahon got the early arriving crowd off the grass and onto their feet with a quick 8 song set. Complete with a yellow flower crown and healthy beard, McMahon made sure that the day had local flavor stating that “this town makes me feel whole”—in reference to Dana Point and the harbor area. Each of his songs have a true storytelling feel to them, none more evident than his latest single “Ohio”, which chronicles his family’s relocation west to SoCal in their station wagon. This latest single will be included on his new album, Upside Down Flowers which was announced earlier this week and has a drop date of November 9th.
The former frontman of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin never forgets his roots, squeezing “Dark Blue” into the set—a hit he had back in 2005 before he went solo. His shows are always entertaining— although this was a quick 30 minute set he made sure to pack in a quick cruise around the pit area on an inflatable duck, numerous aerial jumps off his piano and even brought a parachute that he unleashed on the crowd near the conclusion of his set.
San Diego’s Switchfoot was next up on the main stage. Amping up the crowd with their motivational-based rock and roll. Best known for their 2003 hits “Meant To Live” and “Dare You To Move”, they brought a campfire feel to their six song set which also included a special guitar accompaniment by pro surfer and fellow San Diego resident, Rob Machado. With initial roots in Christian rock, the band’s music does not come off as preachy—lead singer Jon Foreman is a high energy front man, even taking the time to sing with fans in the pit on a few occasions. The multi-platinum, Grammy award winning quintet definitely won some fans over with their solid performance.
With new releases due from many artists on Sunday’s lineup, Irvine’s Young The Giant were no exception…with Mirror Master due on Oct 12th the local boys have established a collection of songs to fill out a strong setlist. The highly anticipated follow up to 2016’s Home Of The Strange has already produced a few singles. Both “Superposition” and “Simplify” were included on the abbreviated 9 song list. The live performance of the new tracks offered a glimpse into the maturation of the band. Lead singer Sameer Gadhia continues to emerge as a captivating frontman, during this performance he was outfitted in a Hawaiian shirt that he tucked nicely into grey work slacks. Fan favorites clearly included “Cough Syrup” and the eventual set closer (and the band’s first ever single), “My Body”.
As sunset hit the shore and stage lights taking full effect, singer/songwriter/producer Beck brought his funky brand of rock and roll to a now completely packed Doheny State Beach. Coming off a sold-out Hollywood Bowl show earlier in the week, the folky LA native made certain to pack his set with many of his greatest hits with “Devil’s Haircut” and “Loser” leading his performance. He took a swing at “Raspberry Beret” on what would have been Prince’s 60th birthday before throwing in a few additional classics, “E-Pro” and “Where Its At”.
After a quick set turnover, Grammy Award winning British alternative folk rockers and the evening’s headliners, Mumford & Sons hit the stage for what would eventually be a solid 15 song set that displayed new material off of their upcoming fourth studio album, Delta (due November 16th). The lead single off the new EP, “Guiding Light” kicked off their 4 song encore that also included “I Will Wait” and “The Wolf” before closing the night (and the festival) with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” which included Eddie Vedder, the only appearance he made on stage throughout the festival’s final day.
The band just earlier this week announced a massive 60 date tour that begins next month and hits the east coast of the US in early December, no SoCal dates have been slated yet but expect a few arena shows in the local area to be added in the near future.
Throughout the day the festival’s side stage (dubbed the Tiki Stage) hosted up and coming acts such as The Wild Feathers (from Nashville), Allan Rayman and the super funky Fantastic Negrito (Oakland).
With the third year of the festival now in the books, the pressure is once again on Eddie Vedder to top this year’s eclectic offering for 2019. This year saw a true country headliner on Friday evening (Eric Church), a new wave icon in Johnny Marr and a fresh set from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs along with a set from Vedder that had many guest stars on Saturday and a final day that included solid sets from numerous SoCal artists.
Ohana Fest Photo Gallery: