Hangout Music Festival 2016
May 19-22, 2016
Gulf Shores, AL
Written and photos by Caspian Roberts
For seven years now, thousands of people count down the days until they can go back to the white sands of Gulf Shores to kick off their summers with Hangout Music Festival. The continuous adaptation of the festival suits the needs of all attendees, and provides one of the best music experiences anyone can have. And, even with the curve balls that happened this year, it was still as fun as ever.
The Headliners for the 7th annual festival included The Weekend, Calvin Harris, who would end up being replaced by Panic at the Disco, and Florence and the Machine. The Thursday Night Kick-off party was a perfect way to begin the weekend, with Lil Dicky, Grouplove, and Matt and Kim hyping the crowd for the following days. Matt and Kim closed off the night, playing classics such as “Cameras,” as well as some of their new songs, including “Let’s Go.” As everyone left the Boom Boom Tent, you could feel the buzz of excitement for the following days.
Friday morning came along, and so did a massive thunderstorm. Hangout announced that the opening of the festival would be delayed due to the weather, so all we could do was wait it out. And, around 2 pm, Hangout announced that the gates would be opening around 3. The day had been condensed for time purposes, but the line up would remain the same. The Silversun Pickups were amazing to start off the day, performing their latest “Circadian Rhythm,” as well as classics such as “Panic Switch,” and “Lazy Eye.” The day continued with acts including Walk the Moon, and Alison Wonderland. The Revivalists were one of my favorite acts of the day, providing some of their New Orleans sound to get the crowd moving. Alabama Shakes and Alessia Cara provided great shows, leading up to the headliners of the night; The Weekend and The Chainsmokers. Even with the delay, Friday was worth waiting for.
Saturday began with an interesting announcement as well – the Headliner for the day, Calvin Harris, could not perform. Instead, Panic at the Disco would get the opportunity to close the day. Kaleo kicked the day off with a great performance, playing hits such as “All the Pretty Girls,” and “Way Down We Go.” I got the opportunity to speak with JJ Julius Son for a minute after the show, and he filled me in on how much his band enjoyed playing the festival. X Ambassadors played at the Hangout Stage, and also provided a great set leading up to Kurt Vile and the Violators at the AXS TV Stage. He provided a very lively set, playing crowd favorites such as “Goldtone,” “Wakin’ on a Pretty Day,” and one of his newer hits “Pretty Pimpin.” After sets from returning Portugal the Man and Atlas Genius, a majority of people headed towards Cage the Elephant. The crowd went as far back as the BMI Stage, and they were all excited for the set. When they played their new hit “Trouble,” and then their old hit “Ain’t no Rest for the Wicked,” the crowd went wild. Panic at the Disco closed the night off, beginning by telling the crowd how glad they were to get the opportunity for Headlining. They played their new song “Hallelujah,” and the crowd loved it. But, the coolest part of their set was definitely their rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Even with the oddness of Saturday, it still proved to be a fun day. We were all excited to see what Sunday would bring.
While Sunday did not have any surprises, it was still a fantastic way to end the weekend. Judah & the Lion provided an amazing blend of blue grass songs, coupled with interesting renditions of popular hip hop and r&b songs. Their song “Take It All Back,” was the perfect example of the hip hop-ish Blue Grass that makes their band so cool. After their set, rapper Fetty Wap took the Hangout Stage, and left no stops while playing hit after hit. “Trap Queen,” “My Way,” and “Again,” got everyone hyped in the crowd. People called the walk to the stage the “Great Fetty Migration,” as it seemed the whole beach came to watch him. The famous Lenny Kravitz then took the stage, and people of all ages came to experience his music. His guitar rang across the beach, bringing all in attendance a sense of joy. Florence and the Machine headlined the last night of the festival, and served as the perfect ending to the weekend.
Hangout Music Festival is always a fun time. This year was interesting, with weather being an issue, and even Headliners dropping out. But, even with the obstacles, Hangout successfully hurdled them all. Hangout 2016 will go down as one of the most fun, and interesting, installments in the series.