How do you make a live music festival even better? Put it on a beach! How do you make the beach even better? Put a huge festival on it with tons of amazing bands! The Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama is the perfect combination of a picture perfect location and great music. After experiencing other music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Voodoo Fest ( which are all incredible), the Hangout takes the gold. It's hard to beat the white sandy beaches, palm trees, great music, cold drinks, and good vibes.
The lineup at the 2012 festival appealed to a wide variety of fans. Shows ranged from hip hop, rock, indie, funk, dub step, and all genres in between. Artists such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, Dave Matthews Band, The Flaming Lips, Cage the Elephant, Skrillex, Yelawolf, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Chris Cornell, G. Love, and Dispatch all put on show stopping performances and gave the fans exactly what they came for.
On Friday May 18th, Alabama rapper Yelawolf performed earlier in the day at the packed out Xbox tent. He was covered with tattoos from head to toe, headbanging his long, black mo-hawk, and spitting rhymes too fast to keep up with. It was definitely a great way to get pumped up and start the festival off. Coheed and Cambria was just around the corner performing at the same time on the main stage. Towards the end of their set the played their own rockin' version of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" which had the entire crowd singing along. After that back at the Xbox tent, electronic veteran Paul Oakenfold had everyone bouncing up and down to his entrancing beats and synths. As the sun was starting to set over the gulf, the masses of fans started to head towards the main stage for headliner Jack White's set. The mastermind behind the bands such as The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather was performing his solo act. He tore up the stage performing the well known hits from all his previous bands as well as songs from his solo album. Jack White's music echoing across the beaches of Gulf Shores was the perfect close to day 1.
The second day was kicked of with some dub step from Skrillex. There was never a dull moment at his show as he dropped beats left and right to get give fans the pulse pounding show they wanted. The crowd didn't stop moving the entire set and neither did Skrillex. Dispatch was one of the next shows at the main stage which provided the perfect vibe for the beach. They had the fans groovin' to their tunes as the crowd posted up their spots on the beach for the Chili Peppers. The Red Hot Chili Peppers was one of the most anticipated bands to see over the weekend and the anticipation was felt by everyone. They put on an unbelievable show covering their catalog of songs from old to new. These late 40's rockers hadn't lost a beat as they jumped, danced, and walked on their hands (Flea of course), and played hit after hit for 2 hours. They definitely gave a performance that deemed them indeed worthy to be rock and roll hall-of-famers.
The weekend was coming to an end on the third day, but the festival was far from winding down. Paper Diamond kicked of the day with some sick beats and an awesome light show. Then at the neighboring stage Cage the Elephant performed. The band's singer, Matt Schultz, was non-stop and full of energy. He was already crowd surfing by the first song and didn't slow down the entire set. Next, at the main stage, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros took the stage. Edward was in the crowd singing with the audience and even took lyrical suggestions for chants that everyone sung. Nashville locals, Space Capone, put on an awesome, funky, dance filled show in between Edward and the Lips. At the other end of the festival, The Flaming Lips performed which is always a spectacle to watch. Confetti, costumes, and of course Wayne Coyne walking across the crowd in his space bubble really gets the people going. Dave Matthews Band finished up the music filled weekend at the completely packed out main stage. They played a 3 hour set filled with a lot of newer songs, but was a bit disappointing without the classic hits that everyone wanted to hear and sing along to. An epic fireworks display closed out the weekend leaving everyone with a sense of awe and amazement from the unforgettable weekend.
The Hangout Fest is definitely one that will keep people coming back year after year. The VIP passes are definitely the way to go because food, drinks, pool area, and air conditioned bathrooms are included. Free food and beer alone make the extra money spent on the passes completely worth it. It's really great being able to watch the bands play with a cool breeze blowing from the ocean and sitting in a comfortable dugout sand couch which was how the majority of people were sitting to watch the shows. The shuttle system to and from the venue was convenient and extremely easy to access as well. It's also always nice to be able to stay in an air conditioned condo and take a shower every now and then. Pack lots of sunscreen and check out Hangout Fest next May. If you're a music lover, a beach lover, or both, you'll be hooked.