Now in its third year, the annual Driftwood Country Music, Craft Beer and BBQ Festival will continue its tradition of honoring veterans and active duty military men, women and their families during its two-day event held over Veterans Day Weekend at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point.
The show will feature performances by country music artists Chase Rice, Michael Ray, Carly Pearce, Seth Ennis and Filmore on Saturday, Nov. 10 and Big & Rich, Kristian Bush of Sugarland, Jamestown Revival, Brooke Eden and Brandon Ray on Sunday, Nov. 11. Driftwood producers, Laguna Hills-based Synergy Global Entertainment (SGE), have once again partnered with Orange County-based Brew Ha Ha Productions to bring more than 200 craft beers, mostly from regional breweries, to the event for unlimited complimentary tastings from 1-4 p.m. for general admission ticket holders and Noon-4 p.m. for VIP pass holders on both days.
Festival producers have already extended an allotment of tickets to military personnel at Camp Pendleton and delivered a surplus of passes to vettix.org, which offers tickets to events free of charge to verified members of the military, Elenie Hovartos Reese, director of non-profit partnerships for SGE said. Veterans and active duty military can also get discount tickets to the show and can take the park and ride shuttle from the Outlets at San Clemente free of charge by using the code THANKYOU at driftwoodfest.com. There will also be several local non-profits on-site that will provide information and a number of services to veterans and military families.
“The veterans are always so appreciative,” Reese said. “It’s authentic because we care, everyone on board cares, the vendors care, the bands care and I think the veterans feel the authenticity of it.”
Like in previous years, there will be a Hall of Heroes on-site where photographs Reese has collected from a variety of organizations and military members will be on display. The photos single out individual service men and women, groups posing for photos as they’ve been deployed all around the world and captured images of happy/tearful reunions when the the members of the military are greeted by their family and friends when they return home from deployment. There will also be signs located throughout the festival grounds with pens attached to them so that Driftwood attendees can leave various messages for veterans and civilians.
“We did that last year and it worked both ways,” Reese said. “There were messages that just said ‘Thank you for your service’ and then messages from veterans and active military that said ‘Thank you for supporting us.’ It really brought everyone together.”
Anaheim-based non-profit Patriots and Paws will also be at Driftwood. The organization pairs veterans with rescued animals, which helps reduce psychological and financial stress as they transition back into civilian life. It also helps military members and their families by providing them with home furnishings, small appliances and basic necessities. Team Red, White and Blue, which has chapters in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and the Inland Empire, will share information on how the organization has been able to connect veterans to their communites through physical and social activities.
Santa Ana-based Veterans Legal Institute provides pro bono legal assistance to homeless, at risk, disabled and low-income current and former military service members to help them obtain housing, healthcare, education and employment.
The Seal Dog Foundation, which has its home base in Dallas, Texas, helps veterans acquire a professionally trained and registered service dog in accordance with the American Disability Act (ADA) in a timely and less costly manner. The foundation serves veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and physical issues such as back or neck injuries.
The Marine Corps League-South Coast Detachment will also participate at Driftwood. The non-profit organization helps support Marines, sailors and their families in the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, the school of Infantry, the San Onofre Elementary School located on Camp Pendleton and the 1st Marine Regiment-Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force. The group offers various services throughout the year, but also helps ensure military families have Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, collects toys for kids and gift cards for families in need during the holiday season.
Several of the vendors on site, including event sponsor Rockstar Energy Drink and clothing company Puppies Make Me Happy, will be offering discounts and even some take-home freebies to those who show a military I.D. Each day at Driftwood, a member of the military will be dubbed the Hometown Hero and will be honored and brought up on the main stage during the show to receive a guitar signed by all of the Driftwood artists.
Driftwood Country Music, Craft Beer and BBQ Festival
With: Chase Rice, Michael Ray, Big & Rich, Kristian Bush, Carly Pearce, Jamestown Revival, Seth Ennis, Brook Eden and more.
When: 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11
Where: Doheny State Beach, 25300 Harbor Drive, Dana Point
Tickets: $39.50-$49.50 single-day general admission; $79.50 weekend general admission; $129.50 four-pack general admission; $129 single-day VIP admission; $289 weekend VIP admission; $299 Saturday VIP admission and Meet and Greet; $10 round-trip shuttle ticket.
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