Hangout Fest Treated Guests The Best!
By Croix Provence
Nothing quite like soaking up sun and running through sand while listening to some of the best musicians on the radio! Hangout Fest offers just that every May to thousands and thousands of beach bum attendees. This year they definitely did not dissapoint!
General Admission tickets this year cost guests $280 after fees. This seems a bit steep for an urban festival, even if it does run for three days. There’s no camping to account for, you have to pay extra for shuttles, and VIP costs one arm, no leg I.E. $1,099 pre-tax (but it’s well worth it; we will get to that later). Guess they’ve got the lineup and the location to back up the price.
The lineup was definitely solid. The big guns were Foo Fighters, The Zac Brown Band, Sam Smith (who had to cancel, unfortunately), Beck, Skrillex, My Morning Jacket, Foster The People, Paramore, Spoon, Umphrey’s McGee, Major Lazer, TV On The Radio, and then some! Jack U (Skrill and Diplo) added an additional performance on Friday, which was awesome for dubstep fans.
Honestly, the traffic wasn’t bad! Parking was a real-time nightmare, because spaces within visiblility of the festival cost $30 and was very crowded. Safe to say that, rather than paying to park each day, people opted for the $50 shuttle pass instead. Not knocking the shuttles, don’t get me wrong: they are big, nice, air-conditioned, and offer prizes and new friends! They definitely played a large part in reducing the traffic, for sure. What traffic was prevalent, however, was party monsters screaming “Happy Hangout” out the window, throwing shakas, and swerving around traffic. Or getting beads thrown at your from the most ‘Murica car on the planet:
Good stuff, my friends, good stuff.
Man, I haven’t had that much action in weeks! Security guards did a pretty solid bag check, and then went in for the shakedown. On the first day, I had to spead my arms as (thankfully?) a female security officer ran her hands down my cleavage and stomach, along my sides and butt, and down the inner legs. I’d like to point out that I was wearing a tank top and spandex shorts. Other days, security just had me spread my arms, did a quick pat and turn-around, and sent me on my way. Maybe I just caught the one stickler in the bunch. Or maybe my cleavage looked like it needed to be checked out, in her opinion. At any rate, security was medium level; enough to keep the place safe, but not enough to ruin your plans for a good time, if you catch my drift.
Such a great atmosphere. How could it not be? The sun is shining, the wind is breezing off of the ocean, the air smells like sunblock, funnel cake, and salt… Maybe that’s just my idea of paradise, but attendees seemed to agree. The early afternoons of the festival were light on people, as they were probably hung over and recooping in the shade, or in their apartments from the night before. This made walking around, getting food, seeing everything, and riding rides an easy task. Thanks, hungover people! Hangout is very easy to navigate, being that is basically in the shape of the letter H. With six stages, some designated food areas, VIP sections, and merch locations, it was easy as pie to walk around. No map necessary! The ferris wheel lit up the night quite nicely, and the drop tower was a hell of a lot of fun! Even better is the fact that a stomach-hurtling ride was placed mere feet from a beer garden and food court.
Whoever planned that is a total troll, and we thank you for the entertainment.
Also, I would like to thank Coca-Cola for the simple pleasure of watching you attempt to vend hot syrupy drinks in the hot Alabama sun by party-starting at the Coca Cola Billboard. That shouldn’t have been as amusing as it was but hey, the heat got to me. Speaking of heat: though shade was hard to come across, the efforts to create it was much appreciated. Also much appreciated were the bad ass stage embellishments that appeared this year, from the rope chandeliers and life preservers on the BMI stage, to the drug-induced decorating in the Boom Boom Tent:
Your wildest nightmares, featuring Shia LaBoeuf.
Additionally, for those who have ever though about splurging for VIP at a festival before: this is the festival! VIP gets you free water and beer, free access to swimming pools next to the main stage (!), free shade, free ass-kissing, free space near the front of the main stage and the secondary stage, free access to stare at shirtless men… just do it.
Many of the food vendors around Hangout Fest were repeat vendors that could be found in all three of the major foodie places, apart from the small food truck oasis. Spicy Pie is always bangin’, and could be found in multiple locations, as could various BBQ, Asian, and some healthy options.
Not much variety in the way of eateries apart from most notably the Cream Puff place that offered Macaroni Bacon Ranch puffs and ice cream puffs. My god, they were delicious! The Hangout is also an awesome place on site to eat, as is the famous Pink Pony Pub, though prices can get steep. Side note: If you’re coming to Hangout Fest, you damn well better be made of money, or know how to sweet talk your way in to a free sandwich.
Yes. YES. YESSSS! Your toilets were glorious, Hangout Fest! My body thanks you for your glorious toilets! Not only were they everywhere, but the lines were short and fast. Not only that, but some of them were outer space toilets that actually… you know… flushed! I only encountered one toilet that was out of TP during the whole festival, which is bananas. If you pray to the God of Toilets at music festivals, you better give thanks to Hangout Fest.
Southerners are famous for hospitality (and other things, but we will go with hospitality). That said, the staff and volunteers at Hangout were great! Helpful, amiable, polite, and informed. The festival goers that I encountered were also pretty friendly. You could tell people had their personal bubbles and weren’t raring to make friends or conversation, but once initiated, all parties were pleasant. A nice, non-douchey atmosphere!
So many solid shows! Such great energy coming from every stage you crossed! With headliners like The Foo Fighters, Beck, and The Zac Brown Band keeping attendees moving and jumping well past sunset, the beach never stopped rocking. Small stager Preservation Hall Jazz Band had the energy and presence of a Top 40 diva, except with way, way more talent. I could continune rattling off the awesomeness of every stage and show you walked by, or I could cut straight to the chase and let you know that Skrillex was absolutely insane. Apart from one small technical failure that was immediately addressed, the set was fantastic, the crowd was crazy, and the quality was on point. Skrillex won Hangout Fest!
Well, now it boils down to the snobby time when I give my rating for everything from Bad to Bad-Ass on the Croix Scale… Here we go!:
Price – Not Bad
Lineup – Cool
Traffic – Awesome
Security – Sweet
Atmosphere – Cool
Food – Good
Potties – Bad-Ass!
People – Cool
Shows – Awesome
Overall – Sweet
It was definitely a weekend to remember! From the raging shows to the beautiful weather to the fun people, Hangout Fest did not disappoint. Make sure to make your way to the beach for Hangout Fest 2016, and prepare for a sweet weekend of memories!
Croix Provence, abridged: Singer. Actress. Model. Dork. Snack enthusiast. Freelance writer. Music lover. Comic Con freak. Adrenaline junkie. Short sentence sorcerer. Follow @CroixProvence on Twitter and Instagram, and like Croix Provence on Facebook.