Why Hangout is Worth the Trip
I’m going to make this easy for you.
TL;DR Go to Hangout Music Festival
Now let me tell you why…
Hangout is always a unique experience. The festival caters to a wide variety of festival-goers of all ages and tastes in music. The overall festival experience was just about perfect, except for one thing: the days would fly by! With the final performances ending around 11pm, Hangout certainly did not adhere to a 24-hour, Bonnaroo-type performance schedule. The music usual began around noon with fun, up-and-coming artists. By about 3pm, the bigger names would begin to play and the bass would begin to thump at the “Boom Boom Tent.” With artists like Pretty Lights, STS9 and ZEDD performing this past year, there certainly was not a shortage of electronic music. However, as the sun began to set, the crowd would begin shuffling towards the main Hangout Stage to watch the headliners.
After a long day of dancing to electronic music and raging to Moon Taxi in the hot sun, briefly sitting down in the cool sand to listen to the the Killers perform was a welcome relief. In past years, artists like Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have done a phenomenal job closing out the days, and the performers of 2014 continued this tradition of excellence. With personal flags waving high above the enthusiastic crowd, a cold beer in your hand, and Outkast’s performance of “Hey Ya” making you nostalgic of getting your driver’s license; its hard not reflect on just how awesome your day has been.
There is nothing quite like listening to Jack Johnson perform Banana Pancakes while digging your toes into the clean, ivory sand of a gulf coast beach. The weather happened to be perfect this past year with no rain and moderate temperatures; the warm ocean breeze was extremely pleasant. For those of you who frequently go to music festivals, I am sure you can already imagine the benefits of hosting a party like this in the sand… NO MUD!
Being able to sit down anywhere, dig yourself a recliner, take off your sandals (Pro Tip: clip them to a backpack or Camelbak with a carabiner) or even take a nap is incredibly convenient and pleasant. Another benefit of having this festival on the beach was the epic beach after-party. After leaving the festival grounds, groups would often take the beach route back to their condos. And, after grabbing a bite to eat and briefly recharging, the condos would begin to empty out onto the inviting beach where festival-goers would begin to congregate. Sporting portable speaker systems, LED hula hoops, hundreds of glow sticks and coolers full of beer, it was not uncommon for these parties to continue until daylight. With beautiful, talented hula-hooping girls performing one after another, laser shows, fire twirlers and Chinese lantern launches, time seemed to pass at an incredible rate.
As I mentioned before, the people that attend the Hangout Music Festival are from many different backgrounds with wide range of music tastes. There were budding families in attendance with new born children. There were high schoolers, frat stars, hippies and heavy metal rockers. There were even a handful of proud, bikini-clad mothers-to-be enjoying the music in the sand. However, despite this wide variety, a majority of the people were from the southeast, which gave the festival a hint of southern charm.
With this year’s event surpassing 50,000 people in attendance (Sold Out!) the crowd was surprisingly understanding and very considerate. Everyone waited patiently to enter and exit the festival grounds and were courteous when trying to advance through the crowd – doing their best to avoid groups and couples resting in the sand. Everyone was very accepting of the people around them and often would hand out glow sticks, wrist bands and candy bracelets they had managed to smuggle through the very strict security.
On top of all of this, the people of Hangout were absolutely beautiful. Clad in neon bikinis and wildflower head bands, the ladies of Hangout 2014 stole the show. I strongly recommend you check out #hangoutfest on Instagram for, you know, science.
Gulf Shores was the perfect place to host this festival. With the festival grounds being located right on the beach, there were many pre-festival and post-festival activities to be enjoyed. Despite the brutal traffic on I-59 (arrive a day early and leave a day late if you can), Gulf Shores is a quaint little city with lots of local seafood restaurants and privately owned beach houses. And thankfully, there were only a handful of high-rise condos blocking the beach view and I don’t think I came across a single “Wings” or “Waves.” Its what I imagine Panama City must have been like before it sold out.
Our group of 10 opted for an affordable beach-front condo and were not disappointed. Our balcony had a great view of the ocean, the dolphins swimming in the distance, the beach parties, and the festival grounds just to the East. Having a condo was incredible. We could cook our own food. We had air conditioning. We could take showers. And, most importantly, each evening, after a long day of standing and dancing in the hot sun, we would get to retire to luxuriously-inviting beds. Now don’t get me wrong. I do love the camping scene at music festivals and I love the comradery and friendship that stems from the experience. However, being able to enjoy a delicious, steak breakfast burrito and mimosa while watching dolphins play in the distance from our 8th floor condo balcony… I think you get the picture.
In conclusion, go to the Hangout Music Festival. It is affordable, fun and has the experience you desire, no matter who you might be. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people refer to that weekend as “the best weekend of their lives.” I want you to be able to feel that way as well.
Check out HangoutMusicFest.com for more information about tickets and, in a couple months, next years line up. And if you are interested in going, start looking into buying condos now. They fill up fast!