Events, Festivals, Music
Oct 5, 2023

Ohana Festival Review

Ohana Festival took over the OC with the likes of Haim, Foo Fighters, and The Killers. This epic music festival is just a quick drive down the the OC and has the chill music festival vibes that match its namesake: Ohana (which means Family in Hawaiian).

Photo © 2023 Chris Phelps | The Killers – 2023 Ohana Festival – Dana Point, CA 9.29.23

Ohana Festival kicked off on Friday with show stopping performances including a headlining set from The Killers which had the crowd’s spirits high and energy soaring. Their set included iconic hits like “Mr. Brightside,” “Somebody Told Me,” “Human,” plus their new single “Your Side of Town”  as well as two very special surprise performances. Early in their set and in true Ohana fashion, Eddie Vedder joined the band on stage to perform a cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “The Waiting” and during the band’s encore, Sammy Hagar joined the band to cover “Why Can’t This Be Love” before the band closed their set with “When You Were Young.” 

Haim hit the stage for their final show of the year and first day of the festival while they celebrated ten years of their debut album “Days Are Gone.”

Day one of Ohana also featured incredible performances from Father John Misty, Japanese Breakfast and more. 

After joining the Killers for a song on the first night, Eddie returned to the stage with the Earthlings for an incredible set that included Vedder’s “The Haves” and “I’ll Be Waiting” plus covers like Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Room at the Top,” The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” and Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

Image Credit: Quinn Tucker

The Ohana Music Festival 2023 set the stage for an unforgettable musical experience, bringing together legendary rock bands for three days like The Killers, Eddie Veder, The Pretenders,Haim, and an electrifying closing performance by Foo Fighters. The festival is set against the backdrop of the Doheny State Beach, and is a complete celebration of music, community, and the enduring spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.

Kicking off the festival, Thee Sacred Souls created a warm and soulful atmosphere as the sun began to dip below the horizon. Hailing from San Diego, this trio poured their hearts into their performance, infusing the early evening with rich, soulful vibes. Lead singer Josh Lane’s velvety voice captivated the audience, while the band’s tight instrumentals provided the perfect soundtrack for the sunset gathering.

As the sun set, Thee Sacred Souls’ heartfelt performance left the crowd yearning for more. Their authentic and soul-stirring music set the tone for an evening filled with musical brilliance.

When night fell, the legendary Pretenders took the stage with the ever-charismatic Chrissie Hynde leading the way. Their setlist was a nostalgic journey through their greatest hits, including “Brass in Pocket,” “Back on the Chain Gang,” and “Don’t Get Me Wrong.”

Hynde’s vocals were as powerful as ever, resonating with the audience in a way that only a rock legend can achieve. The band’s timeless classics brought waves of nostalgia, and the crowd sang along to every word. Pretenders proved once again that they were rock royalty, leaving an indelible mark on the festival.

The epic conclusion of the Ohana Music Festival came when the Foo Fighters took the stage. As the crowd erupted with excitement, Dave Grohl and his bandmates unleashed a sonic explosion that left no doubt about their rock ‘n’ roll prowess.

Opening with “All My Life,” the Foo Fighters delivered a high-octane performance that had the entire beach pulsating with energy. Grohl’s boundless enthusiasm, coupled with the band’s impressive musicianship, made every moment unforgettable. The setlist featured a mix of classics like “Everlong” and “My Hero” alongside tracks from their latest album, creating a dynamic musical journey that catered to fans old and new.

The night reached its zenith when Grohl invited Chrissie Hynde back on stage for a spine-tingling rendition of “I Am the Highway” by the late Chris Cornell. It was a touching tribute that brought tears to many eyes and underscored the sense of camaraderie and respect among these rock legends.

As the final notes of “Best of You” reverberated through the beach, the Foo Fighters bid farewell to an ecstatic crowd. The Ohana Music Festival 2023 will be remembered as a night when rock ‘n’ roll’s past and present collided, leaving everyone in attendance with a sense of unity and musical bliss.

Ohana Festival was founded by Eddie Vedder in 2016 and has featured past performances that included legends like Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes, Mumford & Sons, and Jack Johnson. A portion of the proceeds from Ohana will benefit the Doheny State Beach Foundation and the San Onofre Parks Foundation. A full list of Ohana participating charities include Doheny State Beach Foundation, San Onofre Parks Foundation, Surfrider Foundation – South OC Chapter, WSL PURE, Unidos South OC, Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust, Rob Machado Foundation, Everytown Gun Control, Music Preserves, Sea Legacy, and more.