A Long Overdue Recap of The Hangout Music Festival ’13
Unfortunately I got caught up in a wave of things both personal and professional after getting back from my latest trip to the Hangout Beach Music Festival and haven’t gotten a chance to share my awesome experience with you guys. Better late than never though, right? Especially when a festival experience is as great as the one I had there, it merits passing along the highlights, even after two months.
Despite having to leave on the last day and missing one of the bigger headliners (Stevie Wonder), I have to say that this trip to the Hangout was still my personal favorite (granted I’ve only gone once before). Between catching great shows by huge acts and being surprised by some of the great unknown ones, I really can’t think of a better bang for your buck when it comes to music festivals. One of the best aspects for me is that it achieves that ever-elusive quality of seeming both in the middle of nowhere, and having all the amenities of civilization. While at an event like this you definitely want to feel like you’re on a getaway, far from the trials and tribulations of work, and the hustle and bustle of the town you left to get there. On the flip side though, with bigger festivals in the middle of nowhere like Bonnaroo, the “roughing it” can be so rough that it actually detracts from the enjoyment of the music. Located in Gulf Shores, Alabama, right on the Gulf Coast (about an hour away from Pensacola Airport) it’s a tough call as to whether you should fly or drive from Miami, and I’d say it’ll probably come down to personal preference. I’ve done both and personally prefer the drive. Either way you go though, it’s less than a day’s worth of travel so you can pack light and still enjoy the night when you arrive.
Being able to walk to your hotel room at the end of a long day to take a shower and use indoor plumbing is definitely something we usually take for granted, and it’s a nice perk right off the bat with so many options for hotels and rental homes nearby. Aside from the lodging though, the festival grounds and organization also add to the overall enjoyment of the experience. The stages are far enough apart that there’s not really any spillover of music from one to the next, and the schedules each day are pretty good about leaving you ample opportunity to catch all the acts on your to-do list. They even have a centrally located area on the beach with a bunch of palm trees, hammocks, and lounge chairs that make for a good nap zone in the middle of the day if you need one. Throw in some great food vendors, stores for supplies all around the festival grounds, some free water, and you’ve got yourself pretty much everything you need for a good time.
Some of the musical highlights for me this year included a spellbinding performance by The Shins. All I can say is that if you have the opportunity to see them live, don’t think twice and buy tickets now. Seamlessly shifting from their older material to their latest album, the crowd was caught up in the show throughout the entire set. I was also lucky enough to catch a couple smaller acts that blew me away: The Tontons is a band out of Houston that we checked out on the recommendation of fellow Texans The Bright Light Social Hour, and weren’t disappointed. They left such an impression that we actually put the wheels in motion to bring them down to Miami to perform in August at Tobacco Road. There was also Luella and the Sun, which we stumbled upon randomly while taking a break at the smaller stage outside The Hangout restaurant. A band hailing from Nashville with a kickass female lead singer and soulful sound, these guys definitely bring something to the table you want to shovel into your ears.
All in all, the experience was exactly what you want out of a music festival, the “Goldilocks” if you will. Not too big, not too small, not too hot or cold (metaphorically). If you’re a newb to the crazy world of music festivals I highly recommend making this one your first.
Don’t forget to check out the albums covering 3 days at the festival on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.533093040084550.1073741836.161972117196646&type=3