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By Daniel Ritz

On May 19 and 20, the 21st Annual Doheny Blues Festival stormed, literally and figuratively, into Sea Terrace Park across from Salt Creek Beach.

It was the first time in the event’s 20-year history that it had not been held at Doheny State Beach.

Under threatening May-gray skies, the international music festival seemingly went off without a hitch as blues fans gathered from around the world to hear both latest and legendary blues artists, including headliners George Thorogood & the Destroyers and Buddy Guy.

Throughout the weekend, Doheny Blues Festival attendees revealed a sense of pleasant surprise for the new venue.

“It doesn’t seem like there are as many people here,” said Carissa Lugan, of San Diego. “That’s great! I feel like we’re closer. It feels more intimate.”

Omega Events was unable to confirm final details on attendance. This story will be updated when final details become available.

A number of Niguel Shores residents voiced they were pleased at the tickets they received from Omega Events for the event taking place essentially in their backyard. Residents and fans could be seen in their backyards overlooking one of the three stages.


On May 19, Anders Osborne lit up the PCH Stage with his renowned energetic performance before entertaining five young local musicians directly after his set.

The five musicians had been selected by Dana Point Arts & Culture Commission Commissioner Anthony Small.

“These students are local music students, active local performers and members of South Orange County School of the Arts at Dana Hills High School,” Small explained.

Backstage,  the youth and Small were joined by City Council member Joe Muller who had orchestrated the connection, and Osborne spoke to the youth about his musical creation process, inspiration, songwriting and motivations.

“Steer yourself toward what moves you,” Osborne explained when one of the young artists asked how you properly manage emulation and originality. “You have to develop your skills to find your own voice. One day, you will will sound like you.”

Saturday ended with a booming performance from an in-form George Thorogood & The Destroyers.

On Sunday, Small was seen again, this time onstage at the Backporch Stage, announcing the Doheny Blues Festival will officially be the sponsor of the 2018 Dana Point Summer Concert series that kicks off later this summer.

“The arts is what Dana Point is all about,” Small said, with the crowd erupting in support.

All-day Sunday, whispers could be heard of the performance given by 19-year-old Quinn Sullivan.

“It was the performance of the weekend,” one attendee said. “It was absolutely electrifying.”

Dana Point Times caught up with Sullivan, who was walking unrecognized through the festival crowds, and asked him what it meant to be mentioned as the highlight of this historic event.

“It means the world,” Sullivan answered simply. “I love this. I love performing. I never feel like I give a perfect performance and I would love to be invited back to try and do it even better. This is such a good event and a great crowd. I hope they invite me back.”

Wrapping up the festival, Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy simultaneously entertained and electrified the crowd with his suggestive dance maneuvers and ear-searing guitar handiwork.

Some may say the blues are a fading art, but by all accounts, this year’s Doheny Blues Festival indicates they are here to stay.





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