Ohana Festival rang in its fourth year at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA this past weekend. Championed by Pear Jam’s frontman Eddie Vedder, the festival provided a laid back, intimate music experience — while also being planted just steps away from the Pacific Ocean.
In addition to a full weekend of music, a portion of the festival’s proceed go to the San Onofre Parks Foundation and The Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association. The non-profits work with the California State Parks to develop, preserve, and enhance Southern California’s beautiful coastline.
We had the opportunity to attend the weekend’s festivities. Check out some of our favorite moments below…
After remaining rather quiet the past few years, The Strokes headlined night one to a crowd eager to get their fix of the group’s early 2000s hits. With crowds packing the main stage, the New York natives played favorites including “Last Nite” and “Reptilia” to thousands of singing fans. Halfway through the set, Vedder jumped on stage to join the group for an impromptu cover of Pearl Jam’s “Hard to Imagine,” and helped round things out with The Strokes’ “Juicebox.”
Sunflower Bean has been steadily on the rise the last few years, and their day one crowd showed that their indie-rock bops are a force to be reckoned with. The three-piece’s high energy performance set the tone for the rest of the day, as crowds got on their feet, dancing to hits from their latest studio record, Twentytwo in Blue.
Best known for his role in the post-hardcore outfit Thrice, guitarist Dustin Kensrue ditched his typical setup for a stripped-down acoustic set. The Orange County native felt at home along the Southern California coast, playing songs off of his 2015 solo album, Carry the Fire, while also teasing new tracks in the works. Kensrue’s performance was a genuine treat for those unfamiliar with the musician’s range of talent. Did we mention he’s killer on the harmonica?
Some 60-inspired rock was brewing on the Tiki Stage thanks to L.A. Witch. Helping kick off day one, the trio’s hits “Kill My Baby Tonight” and “Baby in Blue Jeans” were the perfect anthems for the beach-y festival.
It’s been a celebratory tour for Incubus this summer, as the band is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their breakthrough record, Make Yourself. The band played favorites off the ’99 release including “Drive” and “Stellar.”
Nicknamed “Big Velvet,” Paul Cauthen energized the afternoon crowd with his impossibly smooth, baritone voice. His recent release, Room 41, was produced in a time of harrowing uncertainty, where he chronicles his journey with depression and abuse. But the deeply personal record made for a passionate performance — where the audience could feel the emotion he exudes for every track on the album.
Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers
Ohana Festival surely wasn’t ready for what Laura Jane Grace had in store for her time on the Tiki Stage. Taking a step back from her role as the frontwoman of Against Me!, Grace has been touring in support of her recent solo release, Bought To Rot, with her backing band The Devouring Mothers. The punk rocker belted the record’s personal anecdotes including “I Hate Chicago” and “The Airplane Song,” while reminding us of the fury she brings on the electric guitar.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats have been unstoppable the last few years, playing some of the nations most notable festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and Outside Lands. Though his sound is steeped in soul and rooted in folk, the midwest native made himself right at home at the California festival. With boots stomping and his signature brimmed cap tipped to the crowd, Rateliff left a lasting impression on new fans, while solidifying his place in the hearts of many dedicated listeners.
It’s Jenny Lewis‘ world, and we’re all just living in it. The Las Vegas native transformed the main stage into a pastel pink wonderland, providing plenty of rock riffs and sparkles as far as the eye could see. Lewis treated fans with tracks off her 2019 release, On The Line, while also providing favorites including “Sugaree” and “Just One of the Guys.”
What a joy the indie rock outfit Mt. Joy brought to the weekend. The Los Angeles based rockers pulled crowds worthy of their headlining counterparts. The late afternoon sun matched with their upbeat tracks like “Silver Lining” and “Sheep” made for a dreamy soundscape on the Tiki Stage.
More than music
Aside from a weekend full of music, the festival also offered an array of activities, including art installations, beer gardens, a beachside bar, and plenty off awesome activations, including our very own Ernie Ball booth. Thanks to all that stopped by and snagged a fresh set of Slinkys!
For more from Ohana Festival, check out our live All Access coverage here.