Ohana Music Festival @ Doheny State Beach – 09/8-9-10/2017
Back for its second year, the Ohana Festival returned to historic Doheny State Beach in Dana Point September 8,9 &10. Expanding to three days this year, the laid back festival boasted headliners Social Distortion, Jack Johnson and Eddie Vedder – the Pearl Jam frontman who once again personally curated the lineup.
Complete with hammocks, vast grass areas and numerous picnic benches – the venue on the beach provided a relaxing location for fans to experience an eclectic mixture of musical acts. A noticeably smaller crowd finished off the 3 day festival on Sunday, which was capped off by headliner Jack Johnson and also included stellar acts Haim, The Naked & Famous and Dr. Dog on the main stage.
Festival organizers addressed many of the logistical and spacial deficiencies from the inaugural weekend last year, expanding the grounds and extending vendor areas to the sand. Additional food choices and beverage locations were noticeable and the extra square footage was a welcome site. Although brief rain showers plagued a few of Friday’s sets, Sunday’s weather was postcard worthy with bright sunshine present and temperatures in the mid 70s.
In addition to 9 musical acts on the schedule on Sunday—world famous oceanic artist, Wyland, conducted a paint and discussion session in a quiet corner of the venue. Best known for his enormous sea life murals, Wyland spent time answering questions from the crowd while painting a sea turtle.
In between main stage sets, a small side stage (dubbed the Tiki Stage) provided short half hour sets to fill the time. The Mattson 2, Cameron Avery (from Tame Impala) and singer/songwriter Vérité each provided strong afternoon performances from a stage that provided a more up-close, intimate feel.
New Zealand-based act, The Naked & Famous provided a lineup curveball—bringing their high energy electronic vibe to the main stage in the late afternoon. Lead singer Alisa Xayalith sparkled in her green sequin blouse, blasting through their latest single “Higher” as well as “Punching In A Dream”. The 5 piece band finished with their most noticeable hit, 2010’s “Young Blood”.
Local LA sister act, HAIM performed a quick 7 song set that included “Want You Back” and a rockin’ version of Shania Twain’s classic hit “That Don’t Impress Me Much”. The pop rockers finished off their set with “The Wire”, no doubt their biggest hit to date.
By the time the sunset just before 7:30pm the grandstands were already jam packed for the night’s headliner and Hawaiian native, Jack Johnson. Just two days removed from the release of his new EP, All The Light Above It Too, Jackson had one of his first chances to play his new tunes live. He jumped at the opportunity to headline when approached by Vedder – his laid back vibe, the beach setting and his guitar melodies were a perfect fit to close out the festival.
Johnson packed in many of his fan favorite hits early in the set including “If I Had Eyes”, “Staple It Together”, “Do You Remember” and “You And Your Heart”. Before “Upside Down” (from the Curious George movie soundtrack) he encouraged all the parents with young kids to place them on the shoulders.
Keyboardist Zach Gill took a turn on vocals, during the second half of “Wasting Time” giving Johnson a much needed vocal break. “Bubbly Toes” followed closely behind with Johnson, his first single off his 2001 debut album Brushfire Fairytales. An interlude of “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band was mixed into the song and drew a loud ovation from the crowd. To close out the evening and weekend Eddie Vedder, pro surfer Kelly Slater and Glen Hansard all joined Jack on stage for a fun take on the Bob Dylan 1967 tune “I Shall Be Released”.
Jackson’s headlining set placed an extremely subtle and chill exclamation point to the 3 day festival, a perfect culmination to a great weekend of music on the beach. With the improvements made this year and with the addition of a third day, Ohana’s organizers have (in only two years) established this festival as one to be reckoned with.
Jack Johnson Photo Gallery
Cameron Avery Photo Gallery
Dr. Dog Photo Gallery
Haim Photo Gallery
The Mattson 2 Photo Gallery
The Naked & Famous Photo Gallery
Timmy Curran Photo Gallery
Verite Photo Gallery