Summer means music festivals. Being close to Chicago for most of the year, many Notre Dame students immediately think of Lollapalooza, but not everyone has the chance to make it. If you’re in the South and looking for a festival that doesn’t conflict with the internship you worked so hard to get, then Hangout Fest has you covered.
In 2010, The Hangout — a restaurant in sandy Gulf Shores, Alabama — hosted their inaugural music festival right on the boardwalk. Since then, the festival has made an annual return to the beach front on the second to last weekend of May. This year, headliners included the Red Hot Chili Peppers, SZA, Calvin Harris, Paramore, Lil Nas X, Flume, Skrillex and The Kid Laroi along with almost 60 other artists and bands. With a broad range of genres, there’s something for everyone on the six different stages. If you’re a real live music junkie, you can spend the whole day bouncing around the festival to see as many artists as possible.
Nothing compares to being directly on the sand, which two of the stages — as well as the two club houses — are set up on. After months of miserable Midwest spring weather, the beach is the perfect escape. The venue is the perfect spot to begin summer vacation, and getting a tan is much more fun with three days of nonstop concerts.
While the festival is open to all ages, festival-goers are mostly young, college-aged adults. So many of the attendants were kind and excited to chat with one another, making each other feel at home in the crowds. The festival catered to young people in its partnerships with brands such as SHEIN, Coca-Cola and Monster Energy. For attendees 21 or older with proof of age, several sponsors had free alcoholic drink tastings. If free drinks aren’t your style, there were plenty of other opportunities to take full advantage of amenities from the generous sponsors. The Monster Beach Club and Malibu Beach House located right against the beach access hosted artists and dance parties throughout the festival. And if you’re looking for more ways to get moving, there was a free disco roller-skating rink. If you were the lucky owner of a VIP wrist band, you could take advantage of the swimming pools set up in range of the main stage.
With all of the fun that a festival brings, there are always safety risks. Hangout did a great job of anticipating and handling safety incidents. It’s not hard to imagine that under the hot sun dehydration is one of the largest causes of attendant injury. Free water refilling stations were located around the festival as well as reminders to stay hydrated and keep sunscreen generously applied. In the event that someone was injured, multiple medical tents were set up and prepared to help.
With the all the incredible artists Hangout Fest has brought together in the past, I’m excited for the 2024 lineup. The festival has achieved its goal for creating a fun festival for people to come together and hangout with great live music and events.