Few things are better than music at the beach, especially when that music is provided by Eddie Vedder, Elvis Costello, and Lana Del Rey. With an A+ cast of artists coming together to perform at Ohana Fest, a 2-day benefit to raise money for The San Onofre Parks Foundation, the festival’s inaugural year was off to a great start before it even began.
In addition to the great music, multiple vendors throughout the event gave people plenty to look at and explore. The Volcom tent showcased board shorts made of recycled plastic as one way they’re making an effort to conserve the ocean. There were snake handlers to give attendees a closer look at the wildlife in our environment and to educate the public about reptiles, perhaps correcting some misconceptions people have, especially regarding snakes. Ben and Jerry’s provided relief from the heat with free ice cream and a reminder of the importance of voting.
Saturday’s performances at Ohana were top notch, and the crowd was as dedicated as ever. One couple in the front row arrived at 8am to secure their place along the railing. They had met each other at a Pearl Jam concert, and they wanted to make sure they were up front and center for Eddie Vedder. Those that wanted to sleep in or perhaps take a look around the grounds a bit and not be committed to holding a place were still able to get a close vantage point, as Vedder came out and performed on the Tiki Stage alongside Jack Irons.
The Tiki Stage was an intimate side stage that showcased Jack Irons, Lily Meola, and Polynesian dancers between sets on the main stage. Lily Meola blew the crowd away with her talent, and many of those in the audience, myself included, walked away wanting more. I am certain we will be hearing a great deal more from her in the near future.
Costello and Vedder put on outstanding performances, and I don’t think there are any words that could possibly do them justice. They are legends, and I feel so privileged to have had the chance to see them perform. Their energy was infectious, and their smiles and joy made their performances even better.
With Lana Del Rey headlining Ohana on Sunday, the crowd was certainly a different mix than the previous day. It was a little younger with significantly more flower crowns, high-waisted shorts, and flowy white tops and dresses.
Sunday’s music styles were a little bit more relaxed than Saturday’s with City and Colour, Cat Power, and Corinne Bailey Rae, providing the perfect soundtrack to a lazy Sunday. More people were lounging about on the grass than pressed up against the rails, providing a nice contract to the previous day.
City and Colour is always a pleasure to see perform, and this time was no exception. Following that set was Lana Dey Rey, who got the crowd hyped up and delivered a fantastic performance. Filling the grounds with her sultry voice, she was the perfect way to close out a fantastic weekend.
Overall, Ohana Fest was well organized, and the parking situation was much better than I had thought it would be. There were multiple offsite parking locations with shuttles running to and from the beach. The fest also offered lots of space to lounge about, and the hammocks in the Bai area were situated comfortably under palm trees. The vendors were interesting and educational, and the security was friendly (huge plus!) and efficient. There were lots of porta potties as well.
The only thing that I think could use some improvement is the food options. There were a handful of booths and food trucks, but for the number of people attending, it just wasn’t enough. Lines were long and people missed entire sets waiting in line. But this was Ohana’s first year, and all in all, I think it was wonderfully put together. I will certainly be attending in the future.