Last year, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and the surfing world’s #1 surfer, Kelly Slater, decided to create a music festival at Doheny Beach – Ohana Fest – because they love surfing there and at nearby Trestles.
The Fest was a giant success with more than 22,000 fans descending for two days of non-stop music. While it had its newbie issues with giant, snaking lines for beer and food, no one was complaining. Kelly and Eddie were all over the campus, introducing bands, dropping into play or sing, and hanging out with the crowd. It had a great vibe, and a large portion of the proceeds were donated the San Onofre Parks Foundation, which develops and preserves California State Parks.
This year, the Ohana is back, even more loving and much larger than its first year. Oddly, it’s been a wrangle to try to get information on the event, but this is a significant music fest, so here’s what I know:
This Year, The Love Begins Friday Afternoon
It begins Friday afternoon, Sept. 8th, at 2:30 p.m., and runs through Sunday evening, Sept. 10th. The line-up for the expanded three-day event on three stages is, in short, phenomenal.
Friday & Saturday Line-Ups
On Friday, the great Simon Townshend (yep, Pete’s little brother) joins the grunge-y Orwells and TV on the Radio, with the Pixies and Social Distortion closing the evening in fine style.
On Saturday afternoon, doors open at 2:30 p.m., to the music of nine different bands. Of my recommendations, the tongue-in-cheek The Frights, and Irish singer/songwriter phenom Glen Hansard.
Fiona Apple take the stage at about sunset (where has she been lately??), with one of the latest greatest – Ray LaMontagne – following. Finally, it’s Eddie Vedder on stage by his lonesome again, and that’s mighty fine with
me. His solo performance last year was a mind blower.
If you’re having any difficulty recovering from the previous two days, just find Calypso Rose with Machel Montano front man on Sunday and you’ll be feeling perfect all over in a matter of seconds. I’ve loved their high-energy Reggae for years.
There are so many great performers on Sunday, I don’t even know which to highlight. The definite cannot miss: Cameron Avery is doing a solo breakout from his usual bassist position with the Australian Band, Tame Impala, and he has one memorable voice.
But then there’s soulful Vérité, the twangy-y fun of Dr. Dog, my late-night road trip favorites, The Naked and Famous, and great girl band Haim. That’s just part of the Sunday lineup, folks, and it still culminates with none other than Jack Johnson. No better way to close your summer on the pre-autumn beaches of Southern California than with Jack Johnson in your head.
Higher Price Tag This Year (NOT so Ohana)
Purchase VIP for single days or all three days of the event and enjoy VIP entry, a seated viewing platform (much better than squeezing us all in the front rows last year), and a VIP lounge with easy access to drinks, food, private restrooms and even free sunscreen. After last year’s experience with the 22,000, I’d vote VIP all the way down the line.
Hang on to your sneakers on this one: The VIP Weekend Pass is $1,200 + a $60 service fee. Friday’s VIP is $449 + $40 service fee. Saturday and Sunday VIP is $499 each day, each with a $40 service fee.
If, however, you’re interested in General Admission, tickets are $99.50 each day. (Be prepared for a large added fee of $20.) A General Admission 3-day pass is $275,00 + a $60 fee, which saves you about $23 vs. buying a single-day GA pass.
Added Fun and Food
This year, sand carving contests, longboard exhibits and a promise of many more food trucks are in the works. Tito’s Vodka, Bulleit Whisky, Casamigos Tequila and Flor deCana Rum will be making the scene more … scenic, too.
Make the day (or weekend) even easier on yourself with free trolleys or Uber/Lyft.