By September 17, 2016 Read More →

Ohana Music Festival on the Beach

Ohana Music Festival on the Beach
by Russ Allsup and Dan Westcott

Upon arriving at the very first Ohana Fest, the vibe was friendly and laid back.
The first sight as one exited the freeway was the blue water and splashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, which added to the anticipation. After securing a parking spot, the walk through the beachside community was warm and refreshing. People were everywhere, ready to see and hear some music in a setting where music festivals aren’t held- the beach. As patrons reached the entrance, the friendly staff kept things running smoothly. You could tell from the smiles and laughter that this was going to be an event to remember.

A quick check in through a fast line by an able security crew ensured things moved along quickly and easily.

Vendors sprinkled the festival grounds with plenty to offer, including refreshments,
clothing, and booths where one could learn about local organizations like the Surfrider Foundation. But there was one main reason everyone were all there, and that would be the music. With a main stage and also a side stage, there was plenty of live entertainment throughout the day and evening. Live bands, combined with the sea air and sunshine couldn’t provide a better mix for a weekend not to soon be forgotten.

In the afternoon the audience were treated to sets from a diverse array of acts on the main stage such as Jack Irons, who played a set of drum driven, atmospheric music. Also on the main stage were the band White Reaper, who brought their own brand of heavy rock and turned everything up a notch. Up next were Seattle musicians Mudhoney, who used a take no prisoners attitude and were the heaviest band of the event. The band X then came out and gave a lesson in no frills old school punk rock. After that Band of Horses put on a solid performance with their straight ahead blend of Americana-rock. Many festival attendees were looking forward to seeing Elvis Costello, who came out armed with just an acoustic guitar and proceeded to mesmerize everyone there. He also included a couple of songs played at a piano, and combined with the sound of the ocean in the background, it was a highlight of the event for many.

As the sun set just beyond the waves, you could literally feel the anticipation for Saturdays’ headliner, Eddie Vedder. Starting his set with a ukulele, he gave the crowd a taste of what was in store. In between songs he shared stories, including one about the very beach the crowd was standing on. The 21 song setlist included songs from the Beatles, Pearl Jam, his own material and a few choice covers by other artists. Each one seemed to be building to a great plateau that took fans on a musical journey. At one point Surfing legend Kelly Slater joined in on guitar and vocals for the Pearl Jam classic ‘Indifference’. The vibe throughout the whole show made it feel like a intimate backyard party with good friends and great music. The final song was the Neil Young anthem “Rockin’ in the Free World”, which included many of the artists that performed throughout the day. Vedder ended the evening with a thank you that felt not like a goodbye, but until we meet again.

There was also a full second day of the fest for those who wanted even more, with acts like Lana Del Rey, Cat Power, Corrine Bailey Rae, City and Colour along with others.

The diverse line up of musical acts, along with the fact that it’s held on a beach
made for a near perfect festival, with something for everyone. The word OHANA translates to family, and that was definitely the feeling that ran through the crowd at this unique event. Out of the many summer music festivals that happen in the US every year, the setting alone makes Ohana Fest a must attend event.


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