Extra security in place at Ohana Music Festival as Las Vegas shooting anniversary looms

DANA POINT, Calif. (KABC) -- Some of the biggest names in music are taking the stage in Dana Point Friday at the third annual Ohana Music Festival, where security is very tight.

Visitors are seeing increased security during the three-day festival at Doheny State Beach. It's all happening ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival mass shooting in Las Vegas.

"We changed how we did everything because of the events that happened in Las Vegas," said Lt. Margie Sheehan of the Orange County Sheriff's Department Chief of Police Services.

The changes include Orange County sheriff's bomb technicians using dogs that can seek out explosives, as well as deputies armed with rifles.

"We try to maintain a friendly presence," said Sheehan. "We don't want to intimidate anyone with the equipment, however a weapon that's not within reach is not useable, and seconds save lives."

"I do feel there's a tremendous amount of security, and we all feel very comfortable and safe," said Shawnaa Gilman of Rock R Locks, one of the vendors at the festival.

"Seeing some of the security measures being taken, I do appreciate they are bringing that in and not in a way that makes you feel threatened or puts you on edge," said Kat Daley, a San Francisco resident who came to the festival with her husband, excited to see Eddie Vedder and the White Buffalo.

The festival is drawing other major names, including Beck, Norah Jones and Eric Church, who wrote a song last year to pay tribute to the shooting victims.

Despite a more relaxed setting on the beach, some Ohana Festival visitors said it's still hard not to think about what could happen.

"It's not Las Vegas where it's not as high profile," said Kat's husband, Mike. "It's going to be a lot calmer, but it definitely enters your mind when you go to festivals this size."

At the gate, officials said all personal belongings are subject to search before entering. Large totes and backpacks must be clear. Other bags must also meet size requirements.

Another security change: Once visitors enter and their wristbands are scanned, they can't leave and then come back.

Authorities urge festival goers to say something if you see something suspicious.

"If something makes you nervous, it probably would make us nervous as well, and we would want to know it," said Sheehan.

For more information on the festival, visit www.ohanafest.com.
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