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Ohana 2022: Brittany Howard brings the soul, Stevie Nicks conjures the magic

“It’s a beautiful day,” Brittany Howard said to the crowd as she played her guitar and squinted into the sunset during the first day of the three-day Ohana Festival at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point on Friday.

She was right. It was a gorgeous day: Temperatures peaked in the upper 80s, there was a cool breeze, the sun was shining. It was a stark difference from the kick-off of Ohana last year when a random rain and lightning storm caused a temporary festival evacuation. Under a few puffy clouds in the sky, music fans showed up eager and ready to enjoy the weather, music and each other.

People gathered on the sand to play games and cruise the makeshift boardwalk for festival swag and snacks. They also took in a variety of panel discussions with conservationists, environmentalists, researchers and professional surfers over on the Storytellers Stage, which included several art galleries.

They danced along to the sounds coming from the two main alternating stages, which included earlier sets by The Alive, Beach Goons, Habibi, Dope Lemon, Cautious Clay and St. Paul & The Broken Bones.

Howard delivered a soul-stirring set. The crowd joined her in singing along to covers of Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” and Nina Simone’s “Revolution” and cheered her on as she sang “13th Century Metal,” during which she passionately repeats/reminds, “We are all brothers and sisters.”

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Louisiana rock band The Revivalists brought some sax to the beach and got the venue grooving with its hit, “Wish I Knew You,” and the Texas trio Khruangbin impressed with its moody funk and songs like “August 10” and a turn mixed with instrumental bits of familiar songs like Dick Dale’s “Misirlou,” Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s “Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang.”

Friday’s headliner Stevie Nicks brought some magic to the beachside venue. As waves lapped at the shore, Nicks cast her spell over Ohana, putting on an enchanting set filled with hits and factoids that she felt like sharing with the crowd.

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