As far as festivals go, Hangout Fest is still in its infancy. This eclectic music festival, brought to you by the gorgeous beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama, is only four years old! Even though it was born in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it has rapidly grown in popularity, reaching attendances of 40,000 people a day and bringing in huge acts along the way. This year, the festival took place Friday, May 16th through Sunday, May 18th, showcasing weather you could only dream of for a festival of this stature. The crew even wore t-shirts that said “Be Nice or Go Home”. Although, it proved impossible to get upset in paradise!
When Sunday rolled around, you could tell everyone was doing their best to soak in the last of the rays and music before heading home, kicking it off with B∆stille – one of the coolest breakout bands of the year! Their impressive vocals sounded better than the record, and their stage presence was outstanding, even from the hammocks!
Capital Cities tore up the main stage with a rocking horn section, something yet to be seen at the festival. They did an impressive cover of “Celebrate” by Madonna, and if that wasn’t enough, they produced the most raucous crowd of the festival with their “everybody jump!” command during their hit, “Safe and Sound”! A memorable moment for everyone there.
Virginia reggae-rockers, SOJA, were another one of those perfect festival music bands! They brought the crowd together with their hopeful songs and easygoing vibe.
The Avett Brothers played next on the main stage, and these guys know how to put on a show! They have an uncanny ability to write new songs that are unmistakably Avett Brothers, without sounding like anything they’ve ever done before. They danced around on stage with the energy and disposition only the Avett Brothers could have, and that energy fed into the crowd, making this show the one to be at!
Jack Johnson joined the party, celebrating his 39th birthday by giving us an unforgettable performance! His stage was lit in red, and was covered in stacks of recycled wood, something only Jack could dream up! Johnson exuded the music festival attitude, as usual, with his conversational lyrics and beach-y guitar strums.
Hangout Fest definitely saved the best for last with OutKast! You could feel the excitement build as all 40,000 people headed over to the main stage to watch the last show of the festival. The late start almost felt intentional, as the crowd would start to clap and cheer with every stage light that would turn on. The excitement exploded as Big Boi and André 3000 took the stage! They did a great job at playing all of their hits, and even brought up some lucky audiences members to help perform “Hey Ya”, which got the crowd even wilder. This show also ended with breathtaking fireworks, and a feeling of incomparable joy.
-words: Kelsey Kufner
-photos: Sara Bill