Ohana Festival 2023 Day One at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA

Ohana Fest 2023 day one on the beach: A sonic journey through diverse brilliance, and a day of surf, sand, and surprises.

Ohana Fest 2023 kicked off with a bang, drawing music enthusiasts from all walks of life to Doheny State Beach for a day of electrifying performances. Headlined by the incomparable The Killers, day one was an eclectic mix of seasoned veterans and rising stars that showcased the festival’s commitment to musical diversity.

One of the first bands of the day was Hermanos Gutiérrez, the eclectic Swiss-Ecuadorian band with a Latin instrumental sound that transcends borders. Their fusion of Latin rhythms and rock melodies created an infectious groove.

Following the Gutierrez brothers was the venerable Irish Singer-Songwriter Glen Hansard, whose gravelly voice could melt the coldest of hearts in a way only an Irish folksinger can. Hansard’s storytelling prowess shone through, as he weaved tales of love, loss, and hope with an authenticity that left an indelible mark on the crowd. The raw emotion in his performance was matched only by his virtuosic guitar skills, creating a spellbinding experience that captured the essence of folk-rock at its finest.

Franc Moody took the stage and unleashed a wave of electro-funk grooves. Their infectious beats and irresistible dance music had the crowd moving and were the perfect antidote to any lingering midday lethargy. The band’s ability to fuse disco, electronica, and funk was a refreshing departure from the earlier acts, injecting a burst of energy into the afternoon.

Japanese Breakfast graced the stage next, and with them came a dreamy soundscape that enveloped the audience. Michelle Zauner’s ethereal vocals floated effortlessly over intricate instrumentation, creating an otherworldly atmosphere that transported listeners to a realm of introspection and beauty. Their set was a masterclass in indie rock, showcasing the band’s ability to craft intricate, emotionally resonant compositions that left a lasting impression.

Following the dreamy pop of Japanese Breakfast, Father John Misty, the enigmatic troubadour, stepped onto the stage with an air of mystique that captivated the audience from the first note. His blend of folk, rock, and a hint of sarcasm made for a compelling and thought-provoking performance. Father John Misty’s wit, unique movements, and introspective lyrics created an atmosphere of reflection and wonder, leaving fans in deep contemplation. He delivered his wry observations on modern society with a captivating charm. Backed by a tight-knit band, Misty’s performance was a testament to the enduring power of poetic storytelling in music. Each song was a journey, with Misty as the charismatic guide leading the way.

As the day turned to night, Haim took the stage, delivering a performance that was nothing short of a masterclass in rock-infused pop. The Haim sisters’ harmonies were nothing short of breathtaking, weaving a sonic tapestry that left the audience in awe of their rock ‘n’ roll chops. Their infectious energy and tight musicianship created a palpable connection with the crowd, culminating in a sing-along of anthemic proportions. It was a moment of pure musical synergy that elevated the festival to new heights, prepping the crowd for what was to follow.

Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for arrived: The Killers took the stage, and from the first note, it was clear that they were in a league of their own. Brandon Flowers’ commanding presence and the band’s impeccable musicianship combined to create a sonic spectacle that left an indelible mark on every listener. The set was a journey through their extensive catalog, with each song delivered with a passion and precision that only seasoned performers can achieve. The Killers’ headlining performance was a testament to their status as one of the defining rock bands of our time.

But the surprises didn’t end there. First Eddie Vedder took the stage alongside The Killers for a surprise collaboration that left fans ecstatic. Flowers and Vedder belted out an unforgettable rendition of the Tom Petty classic hit “The Waiting.” It was a moment of pure magic that will be etched in the memories of those lucky enough to witness it. But The Killers weren’t done just yet and later in the set were joined by the Red Rocker himself Sammy Hagar to tear through the Van Halen standard “Why Can’t This Be Love.” From there The Killers turned on the afterburners and finished the rest of the set in a white-hot flash burning up the last bit of energy the crowd had to give.

Day one of Ohana Fest 2023 was a triumph of musical diversity and talent, showcasing a lineup that spanned genres and generations. From the infectious rhythms of Hermanos Gutiérrez to the anthemic rock of The Killers, each act left an indelible mark on the audience, creating memories that will last a lifetime. As the sun set over Doheny State Beach, it was clear that Ohana Fest had once again proven itself as a musical experience like no other. And was ready to deliver another fantastic festival on the beautiful California shore.

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About George Ortiz 67 Articles
George is Southern California and Big Sky, Montana-based photographer. He grew up in Los Angeles and began shooting professionally in the mid 80s. His words and photos have appeared in local & national publications.