Doheny Days

The past two years have seen Dana Point’s Doheny Days return to prominence as a Southern California festival destination, thanks to attention-grabbing turns from the likes of Jane’s Addiction, the Flaming Lips, Weezer, Ben Harper, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (above). Such robust offerings made for an impressive rebound after a seven-year hiatus.

But the event is once again taking a break – albeit just for this year.

Omega Events, the Lake Forest-based concert promoter that stages both the September festival in Dana Point and its long-established spring sister, Doheny Blues, has announced that the next Doheny Days is being postponed until 2014.

“We have created and launched 10 Doheny Days festivals since 1997,” Omega president and event producer Rich Sherman pointed out in a statement, “and we look forward to extending the tradition next summer. This break will allow us to focus on improving the fan experience, securing the best artists and exploring new opportunities for 2014 and beyond.

“The economics of producing a waterfront music festival with nationally recognized artists remains an ongoing challenge,” he added, “so we have been seeking to forge new partnerships, both strategic and financial. We are encouraged by the support of music fans, the artists themselves and our corporate partners, and are thrilled to add new energy and ideas for next year’s event.”

There’s a tendency toward speculation when things like this occur. Is the real reason for the delay perhaps difficulty in securing quality headliners? Could there be trouble with city officials over staging the festival at its home, Doheny State Beach?

No and no, Sherman assured me by email Tuesday afternoon. It’s really about boring budgetary matters, he says.

“As far as regional festivals go, Doheny Days is a very expensive festival to produce, not unlike the blues festival in May,” he writes. “However, the difference is that we built Doheny Blues over the course of 16 years, with support from very loyal fans, which gave us the confidence to increase our event budget to their current levels.

“The difference is that when re-launched Doheny Days in 2011, after seven years adrift, we projected a very large budget instead of the slow-growth model, and this plan was probably too aggressive. We did, however, see financial growth, and that is why we are excited for next year. We are confident that the festival can have longevity, we just need more time to plan and establish additional partnerships.”

As the past two bashes proved despite occasionally spotty performances, the festival itself remains a great, remarkably mellow tradition at a picturesque location, and a loyal audience is clearly building to help keep it alive. Here’s hoping for an even heartier return next year.