Hangout Festival Makes a Triumphant Return to Gulf Shores After 3 Years Despite Mother Nature’s Attempts
After three long years, Hangout Festival pushed through inclement weather last weekend to bring a beachin’ good time back to its home in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Even after site evacuations due to nearby lightning strikes and pouring rain during the last few sets on Sunday night, the party continued and after the humidity all weekend, rain actually felt great for a crowd already dressed in beach attire and ready to get wet.
Fans of all ages made up the massive crowds of the weekend and with the variety of genres spread across the stages, the best names in pop, rock, rap, dance, and more cultivated the party energy of the weekend. And when I say all ages, I really do mean all ages – I saw babies being pushed in strollers and met a couple who had been married for 52 years and had been attending the festival since its inception. The energy of the weekend was more than abundant and complemented by the colorful clothing and unique hairstyles that ranged from flowers and glitter adorning braids to vibrantly dyed shades of the rainbow.
From massive headliners like Post Malone, Halsey, and Megan Thee Stallion to up-and-coming artists with dedicated fan bases like Bankrol Hayden, LP Giobbi, and Blu DeTiger, there was something for everyone! Fall Out Boy – who, by the way, had an insane pyro set-up that included a flame thrower at the end of Pete Wentz‘s guitar – and Sublime With Rome definitely tickled some nostalgia nerves for the older crowd. Chelsea Cutler got sentimental on stage, drawing tears from some of her fans, while Fletcher kept things wholesomely real. Jack Harlow rapped through the downpour before Tame Impala metioned how everything was absolutely soaked on stage, and the crowd couldn’t agree more. While Doja Cat unfortunately was unable to make the weekend, last-minute announcement GRiZ kept the good vibes going and even made a remix dedicated to her, asking fans to say “We love you Doja!” before he dropped the track.
Even outside of the music, there were so many side attractions to keep people busy during the day as well – a ferris wheel was set in the background of the psychedelically decorated Hangout bus which was next to a roller rink that later turned into a dance floor, making for an Instagram worthy setting. There was a puppy kissing booth, which was certainly not to be missed, Broncos that would take you across the beach, and even slip-n-slides at Camp Hangout. Reminders flashed across screens between sets to stay hydrated and reapply sunscreen, and there was even a Neutrogena tent available for the latter that also gave festival goers a chance to test their surf skills in an enclosed setting.
Hangout Festival is also dedicated to making conscious strides toward an increased level of social and environmental responsibility. The festival pamphlet included an entire page on turtle conservation measures, particularly important given the time of the year it is. There were also representatives from HeadCount, a non-profit organization that promotes voter registration at concerts and festivals, who were able to chat with us for a bit so be sure to read that interview here to learn more about what they do and how you might be able to get involved. Volunteers for ZeroHero were also on-site to keep the site clean and trash sorted.
For a first trip down to Alabama, Hangout Festival made for an amazing weekend trip, even if it didn’t previously click in my mind that a beach festival meant that sand would be everywhere. There’s a reason the go-to hand symbol is the shaka – it truly does embody the carefree vibe and love for the community.