For the third year in a row, Ohana Fest took over Doheny State Beach and loads of people flooded both the fest grounds and surrounding beach area to get a glimpse of the action. Here’s how we saw it:
4:34 — Ah, beautiful Dana Point. Seriously, is there a better place to spend a late afternoon by the beach at a music festival? I think not.
4:39 — New bag rule is kinda lame, the world we live in.
4:54 — The Maui Jim sunglasses stick out for this totally dad rock crowd.
5:15 — Apparently Eddie Vedder played a secret set to start the day and I missed it, sigh.
6:59 — Sunset is immaculate, unlike these people taking basic photos by the logo. Let’s see if this still stands.
7:19 — Too. Many. Instagram. Areas.
7:49 — Norah Jones still has it, what a voice and what a talent!
8:01 — First #MAGA hat sighting, which is weird because of Eric Church’s known left politics.
9:18 — Eric Church acoustic is pretty impressive. Major chops.
4:19 — Another early-ish set, another Eddie Vedder sighting. This time he joins Johnny Marr for The Smiths’ “There is a Light That Will Never Go Out.”
5:13 — Liz Phair compliments the crowd and says she’d rather be out here among the people, which is thanks for being receptive and good, I guess?
6:09 — One of the more underrated aspects of this events, nearly halfway through, is how easy it is to navigate the footprint without feeling claustrophobic. It’s the little things that hardened fest vets take solace in.
6:19 — The last thing, apparently, was too good to be true. I walk by a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a kid is honking the horn fairly loud, which triggers a headache, or at a minimum, triggers a headache in my mind.
6:21 — Here comes twilight and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Let the games begin.
6:26 — Once again, Karen O. proves to be the consummate (if not the best) frontwoman in rock-n-roll. Her distinct style and shit-kicking presence is just as powerful as it was in NYC in the early 2000s. But there’s a big problem with the mix of the sound — uh oh.
6:28 — And her sparkly jumpsuit kicks serious ass.
6:39 — Sound is finally fixed, phew.
6:45 — Karen O. told her young son from the stage how much she loved him. Awww, the feels.
7:35 — Ain’t no worse bathroom than a festival bathroom. Gross (will spare the details).
8:14 — Vedder agrees with my assessment as he says how everyone should grow up to be Karen O. He also praises Mother Nature, says he put her on the list today. Also has his mom in attendance and it’s her birthday. Happy bday mom! (Though a gloomy late-era Warren Zevon cover isn’t the way to spread the cheer).
8:36 — Phair joins Vedder for a reworked version of “Better Man” and it sounds warm and great.
9:23 — Vedder brings out Scott Thurston of the Heartbreakers for a three-song mini-set of Tom Petty covers (“Wildflowers,” “Room at the Top World” and “I Won’t Back Down”) and says that he was thinking about asking Petty to play this year’s fest before he died last October. Sigh.
9:48 — People are fighting to get limited edition Vedder Zippo lighters, apparently that’s a thing.
3:10 — Local boy Andrew McMahon isn’t in the wilderness today. The bearded, flower crown-wearing singer is in jovial spirits as the final day really gets cooking.
3:17 — Now McMahon is busting out a parachute, which in his words, is like the one you had in gym class. Sure. He tosses it into the crowd, they dig, everyone wins.
3:49 — The uniform of the day for dudes seems to be high crew socks and Vans. Total dad wear, which makes sense here.
4:07 — No music on means it’s hacky sack and cornhole time (not for me, but for others).
4:14 — A stray tennis ball (from a dad and kid toss) almost nails an older couple smoking a J in the head. Instead, the ball caromed off a garbage pail and disaster averted.
5:33 — Who says this isn’t a fun fest? Folks hamming it up with the cops, posing for photos with bomb squad dogs, everything in harmony. That is, after all, what the sign at the front of the fest permitted (no bad vibes was not).
6:00 — The other hometown faves, Young the Giant, get the crowd hopping with “My Body” that concluded a career-spanning set.
7:23 — Beck just did a cover of “Raspberry Beret” on what would have been Prince’s 60th birthday. Time flies.
8:32 — Mumford & Sons does “Little Lion Man” early in the set, which means I can leave. To a great fest!