Editor in Chief: Megan Farquhar
Doheny Days, a two-day music festival hosted by Omega Events, returned after a seven year break. Music lovers poured into the shore-side event on Saturday September 10, 2011 despite the menacing rain clouds that lingered overhead in Dana Point, CA. The music permeated the air though and shooed away the bad weather, leaving a day full of sunshine, great performances, food, drinks, and good vibes.
The setting for Saturday's event was perfect-feeling the salty ocean breeze on my skin and grass under my feet was unbeatable. There were three stages scattered throughout the grounds, many food and drink vendors, merchandise booths, sponsors, a ferris wheel, and an area for the youngsters to rock climb and play carnival games. Doheny Days brought in a crowd of tens-of-thousands, young and old, who all shared one common denominator-the love of music.
The California surf-pop band, Aloha Radio, kicked off the festival playing on a stage tucked underneath trees, giving their performance a very intimate feeling. I forgot where I was as they transported me to a beach in Hawaii. "We are going to try to bring the sun out on this one," said Alex Barnett who plays electric guitar, lap steel, and back-up vocals. Lauren Mulderrig responded, "Yes, but I heard you have to do the Hula for that." Lauren, who is the lead vocalist, also plays the ukulele, and acoustic guitar, had the crowd mesmerized. She danced around stage in her blue, vintage dress and beach blond hair, giving off an electric charge with every song. They had Captin on bass and Chris Hori on drums and performed some of their hit songs, such as "Big Wave Madness", "Deep Blue Ocean" and my personal favorite "My Hand, My Heart". I interviewed Alex and Lauren prior to Doheny Days that you can watch on Warfest.com.
Fans gathered in front of the Sailor Jerry stage with their blankets, towels, and chairs to watch the reggae band Common Sense perform. As lead singer Nick Hernandez pumped up the crowd, clouds of smoke wafted through the air. From the smell of it, they weren't tobacco cigarettes. Common Sense has been around since the 80's and the way they performed I could tell this wasn't their first rodeo.
Nick's high energy on stage penetrated the crowd and had everyone standing up and singing along. People were dancing, waving their arms through the air, and skanking-which is a traditional way of dancing to reggae, ska, and punk music. Skanking looks like a slower version of the running man mixed with elbow throws and fist pumps. "We are dropping common sense on Doheny Days," shouted Nick. He also gave a shout out to those who suffered from 9-11, although he was a day early on his delivery. The crowd was going wild for Common Sense as a giant beach ball was being hit back and forth between Nick and his fans. During their hour set they performed their hit songs "Never Give up," which is reggae style and "Good Girl" that is more punk rock. At one point, Nick was chucking CDs into the crowd that looked like ninja stars flying into people's faces-luckily no one was injured. After the show he came out and hugged fans and signed autographs. I had the pleasure of interviewing Nick at his home in Laguna Niguel, which you can also watch on warfest.com.
Another reggae band that performed was Katchafire who is on tour in the U.S right now. They are originally from New Zealand so they had no problem blending in with the laid back atmosphere of the California beach town. Katchafire gave a mellow performance with their large band of seven members. More smoke infused the air and the crowd moved to the music. Logan Bell was their front man on vocals and guitar and Jamey Ferguson added to their roots reggae style with saxophone and keyboard. I interviewed Jamey after their set and was surprised by his gentle, soft spoken demeanor considering his large size-and the fact he's a rugby player. Find out more about Katchafire during my interview with Jamey on Warfest.com.
Saturday's festival also featured Ben Harper, Donavon Frankenreiter, G love and Special Sauce, JJ Grey and Mofro, DJ Ean Golden, and Ken Garcia. The mix of genres was enough to satisfy everyone's musical tastes. For those who wanted a break from music though, there were plenty of booths set up throughout the festival.
I stopped by the T.Patterson booth and hung out with Scott Metzner while he was drawing on some surfboards. Scott is the general manager of the company and amazing artist. The vibrant colors and images he uses look like something from an acid trip. You will not be unnoticed in the water, surfing on one of his creations.
Being it a music festival, it was only appropriate that someone would sell instruments. I visited Dan Lawson, owner of DL Lap Steel Guitars and he demonstrated how to play one for me. He's been making them by hand for only a year, but the sound they produce is magical. "I was out of work and my wife told me I needed to start doing something," said Dan. So he did what any normal unemployed man would-he started making lap steel guitars in his garage. He's had no formal training and already has famous musicians ordering from him.
A music festival wouldn't be complete without tons of adult beverages. I was pleased that they had some decent alcohol vendors for this event. Sailor Jerry Rum, Milagro Tequila, and Sobieski Vodka showed up to the party and whatever those backyard lemonades Sailor Jerry was making were divine.
It wasn't just all booze, babes, and music though, some do-good-ers also attended the event. The San Onofre Foundation set up their booth to raise awareness in protecting the local parks and wildlife. Ecofficiency.org had a display that circulated recycled water between a fish tank and basil plants. The system was used to conserve water while also fertilizing the plants from the fish poop. The booth "Music Saves Lives" also stood out because they are bridging music and entertainment with important life-saving causes, such as, blood and bone marrow donations.
The radio station KROQ was also at the festival. JR Dominguez, DJ and promotion assistant, was running their mini stage. "I love it. I was excited about the line-up," said JR when I asked him what he thought of the event. "Love the vibe and types of music. My favorite band today was JJ Grey and Mofro."
The Sunday festival had headliners Weezer, Ziggy Marley, and Cake performing, but unfortunately I missed that day. Omega events hosted a great party (despite the ridiculous wrist bands you have to load money onto to buy food and drinks). Doheny Days is back So Cal!
Check out more music, videos, and interviews on www.warfest.com and help support musicians by registering under the invite code "MF87".