A lot of music festivals, like Coachella and Lollapalooza, can debate who has the most dramatic backdrop, but for the most serene festival setting, Op’s Makahiki Festival, on the famed North Shore of Oahu, has no rival. With soaring mountains, palm trees, and ocean breezes, this inaugural event made for a surreal live music setting. If located in paradise wasn’t enough, the whole festival comes gift wrapped by Op as a way to say “Mahalo” to the North Shore for all the support the community gives to the sport of surfing.
By definition, the Makahiki Festival is the official launch of the Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing. In reality, it is one of many signals that the best part of the year is coming to the North Shore. Named for the ancient Hawaiian god of peace and agriculture, the Makahiki season represents four months of Thanksgiving Hawaiian style. This third of the year is when Hawaiians are supposed to stop warring, celebrate life, and find spiritual renewal, and get out to enjoy the best surf of the year.
If you were in the area, it was the place to be. Jack Johnson, Tony Kanal, and tons of the surfing elite could be seen milling about the exotic food booths. Performances by Elan, BET, Ray Barbee, Mt. Egypt, and some intense local artistic ensembles were great, but they were merely in the supporting role. It was the people of the North Shore that stole this show. And they have three more months to perfect the technique. Scary. PHOTOS BY JON STEELE