Headstash's THE HANGOUT 2012 Preview Guide
- By Brandon Chiat
- Published on May 14, 2012
May 18-20 – Gulf Shore, AL
GA and VIP Tickets: SOLD OUT
3rd year – Last year's attendance: 35,000 – Camping: No
Daily Schedule: http://lineup.hangoutmusicfest.com/events/2012/05/18/
Festival Website: http://www.hangoutmusicfest.com/
Summer festival season officially kicks off with the third annual Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. A young festival that has quickly earned a popular reputation among heads and mainstream music fans alike, The Hangout has put together another impressive lineup with performances by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band, String Cheese Incident, The Flaming Lips, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee and more.
The Hangout Festival receives mixed reviews from purists who are turned off by the event’s lack of camping and late-night shows. But the true allure is the velvet white sand beaches and warm inviting waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s hard to beat floating in the ocean watching your favorite bands throw down on stage.
The beach-week vibe attracts a hard-drinking crowd as well as the presence of Alabama’s infamous State Troopers (insert hard-nosed cop stereotype here).
While not a traditional summer music festival by jam terms, The Hangout represents a new breed of crossover event – a concert that has one foot placed in the roots of the jam scene and the other in festival culture’s widespread acceptance among the mainstream.
Right by the beach! Dig your toes into the sand and feel the cool breeze coming off the Gulf of Mexico. No, this isn’t a Mexican Board of Tourism official advertisement, but it could be. The appeal of a festival on the beach is not only The Hangout’s calling card, it is undoubtedly the most unique setting for an outdoor summer music festival.
Genre-blending lineup. The Hangout is one of those festivals that appeals to a large cross-section of live music fans largely because their lineup has a little something for everyone. While they stay true to the jam-roots of festival culture through The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee and STS9, they also select some choice bands from outside the scene. Big names in rock like Jack White, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dave Matthews Band and electronic music like Kaskade and Skrillex mean tickets were guaranteed to go fast.
Air conditioning and running water. For some people, the idea of “roughing it” for a weekend is what a festival is all about. But if you’re one of those individuals who flirts with just a little bit of OCD, the thought of wallowing in your own sweat and filth for four days is enough to send you to a padded room.
Even still, who doesn’t appreciate the refreshment of central air conditioning and a daily shower? The Hangout offers both – in the form of the festival’s namesake bar and grill and in the many condos, beach houses and hotels that serve as the festival’s weekend accommodations.
Johnny Law. Private security? Not at The Hangout. The event is policed, quite literally, by the Alabama State Troopers who have a zero tolerance policy for illicit drug use. Their menacing presence can be felt at all times, and it’s not uncommon to see them forcibly dragging some poor sap from the festival grounds. Be smart, kids. There’s no faster way to ruin your weekend than to have an unfortunate run in with one of these Troopers.
No late-night shows. In previous years, The Hangout organized late-night festivities for an additional fee. This year, those shows are gone altogether. Be prepared to have the music end no later than 11:30 p.m. Thankfully, there is a late-night party scene – although it’s not what you would expect from a festival. Condo parties and beach rendezvous are the way to unwind after a long day raging in the Delta sun.
Nothing for free. Festival tickets, shuttle passes, water – everything has a price on it at The Hangout. Expect to pay top dollar for premium accommodations and then expect to pay again for shuttle passes if your crash-pad isn’t in a convenient walking distance.
Call around to condos. If you are one of the many unfortunate individuals who slept on getting a place, try calling around the condominiums and beach houses closest to the festival grounds. Often times, last-minute cancellations leave landlords scrambling to fill spots and could land you a great deal. This is no guarantee as spaces are more than limited, but it’s worth trying.
Respect the environment. The same goes for any festival, and life in general, but the Gulf Coast is still recovering from the tragic BP oil spill, and while the pristine beaches are in prime shape, there is no need to go throwing your trash around. Be aware of your surroundings.
Don’t test the troopers. ‘Nuff said.
The Hangout has earned its place as one of the summer’s most unique festivals on the strength of its atmosphere. You simply cannot beat a weekend of amazing live music while on the beach.
Despite all the talk about the State Troopers lurking around, you can still enjoy yourself to whatever degree you’re used to, so long as you are smart and don’t call excessive attention to yourself.
A final word: Southern hospitality is at its best at The Hangout. Get to know some locals and enjoy the mix of people and personalities that descend on the Gulf Shore for a great kick-off weekend.
Who's excited for The Hangout? What are some of your favorite things about the festival or your do's and don'ts?