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Hangout Music Festival 2016 Recap

Hangout Music Festival 2016 Recap
An eight-hour trip down the 85 through the nothingness of Alabama is nothing short of a bore.  From Greenville, South Carolina to Gulf Shores, you hit one major city, Atlanta (the WORST major southern city to drive through) and one sort of city, Montgomery (known for it’s plethora of police on motorbikes).  However, this 16+ hour round trip drive through the boonies of Georgia and Alabama is completely and totally worth it because of the indescribable experience you are going to have at Hangout Music Festival. When you arrive in Gulf Shores, I guarantee you will question yourself like, “Where am I? What is this place? What is there to do here?”… It’s true; Gulf Shores is a small, Podunk beach town in Nowhere, Alabama; nevertheless, this tiny town is going to become your best friend and favorite summer destination within three short days. Take a left on Perdido Beach Boulevard, drive five miles into more nothingness, FINALLY, there is our condo.  (pro tip #1: always book in advance so you can get closer to the venue.  If you’re a last minute booker like my group was, at least view the distance from your condo to the nearest shuttle station before you book it so you are not walking very far in the 90 degree, humid Alabama heat.) We unpack and hit the beach to soak in the few hours left of the sunshine. 19056970502_6187f324e2_o   Friday May 20th, Hangout Fest day one : Noon. Recommended outfit : Gals- jean shorts, bathing suit, Chacos (or in my case, barefoot), face jewels, sunglasses. Kandi. Guys- swim trunks, Hawaiian shirt, Chacos, Kandi. items to shove in your backpack, fanny pack or Camelbak : WATER, sunscreen, small towel or bandana, GoPro, granola bar, cash, ID (if you are 21 and want a cold beverage), hand sanitizer, phone, portable charger, gum. Thunder roars and lightning flashes through the sky.  The fourteen of us hang around the living room tables with the balcony door open, patiently waiting for sights of sunlight.  We are constantly checking our Hangout Fest App (*a must have*) for new set times (props to their team for keeping us super updated).  The minutes tick by.  Minutes become hours. Suddenly, writing appears on the home page of the app, “Hangout Fest gates open at 3pm!!” My heart beats out of my chest as I shout at everyone to get all their stuff ready, because it was already 2:30.  We race through our small condo gathering everything we need for a long night of music and dancing. The shuttle line is not too long, and we can see it in the distance (pro tip #2:  buy the shuttle pass! –unless you are in walking distance. $50 may seem like a lot of money, but parking near the venue is limited and cabs can be outrageous and hard to find). We arrive at the gates to find a lengthy entrance line, but surprisingly, it moves quickly.  Security at Hangout Fest is stricter than any other fest I’ve been to.  They check carefully and thoroughly, and they even have people on hotel rooftops looking for those not so clever guys who shove baggies in their pants.  (Pro tip #3: This is not me encouraging drug use—if you are bringing anything illegal, hide it before you get there and hide it well.  Alabama police do not play around.) I scan my wristband at the front of the line while looking completely through the security guard that stands in front of me.  I can see the Ferris Wheel, the white tents, the Drop Tower.  The sand is warm under my feet, and the salty breeze sends odors of delicious food my way.  We made it! Schedule for the day : Hippie Sabotage, Big Grams, Alison Wonderland, Snails, Alabama Shakes, The Chainsmokers. Each set was alive and colorful in its own way. Hippie Sabotage jammed out with their funky sound.  Big Grams took over the stage with “Mrs. Jackson” as the crowd belted the lyrics.  Alison Wonderland and Snails lit up the night with the intense sound of heart pounding EDM.  Alabama Shakes made us dance in the sand with the stars above us.  And The Chainsmokers, my dearest Chainsmokers, surpassed all expectations with their hits like “Roses” and “Don’t Let Me Down”. First night done. hangout2   Saturday May 21st, Hangout Day Two : 9am. Recommended outfit : Gals- flowy shorts, bathing suit, funky beach shirt, Chacos (or barefoot), face glitter, extra ponytail holders, sunglasses, Kandi. Guys- swim trunks, graphic tee, hat, Chacos, Kandi. (Pro tip #4: I normally bring a bit more money for Day Two because you will eat two meals and you will have time to shop around at all the tents or ride the rides.) Schedule for the day : Jai Wolf, Stick Figure, Jerry Folk, X Ambassadors, 3LAU, Nahko and Medicine for the People, FOALS, Panic! At the Disco. Same routine of getting up, making breakfast, and hanging out starts a bit early.  Gates open at 10; we’re out of the condo by 10:30.  The entrance line moves quickly as Jai Wolf gathers himself on stage.  We walk in just in time to fill our waters (which must be empty before you get to the entrance gate) get a decent spot, and chill.  “Indian Summer” blows our minds before we move on to the next set. As the day moves on, we grow hotter and sweatier.  Hit the Pandora area—time to get in the ocean. (Pro tip #5:  Watch an act at the Hangout Stage from the water. It’ll be the best thing you ever did. We jammed with X Ambassadors and rode in wave after wave.) Nighttime falls on us, and we’re told that Saturday’s original finale, Calvin Harris, has been in a minor car accident, therefore Panic! will be closing.  Our heads hang in slight sorrow, but we know that Panic! will kill it—and boy, they did. Day Two done. group-on-beach-at-hangout-music-festival Sunday May 22nd, Last day of Hangout : 11am. Recommended outfit : Gals- funny/trippy crop top (for Fetty Wap, of course), jean shorts, Chacos (barefoot), glitter, fun buns. Guys- swim trunks, trippy tshirt or shirtless, sandals. Again, the same routine of getting our exhausted bodies up, making our empty stomachs some food, and jamming out while waiting to leave. Schedule : Fetty Wap, Mayer Hawthorne, Flume, Ellie Goulding, Florence + The Machine. We leave our condo at 3, prepared to watch Fetty Wap do whatever it is he does on stage.  We danced in the day’s heat, and did our best to rap along to “Trap Queen” and “679” (1738, am I right?). Mayer Hawthorne rocked out, Flume led us in an outer body experience, and Ellie made us remember why we loved her song “Burn” so much.  And for a wonderful weekend finale, Florence.  She glided across the stage, barefoot as usual, and encouraged us to love on. Fireworks and the expected, “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynrd left us wanting more than just three short days of wonderful music in Alabama’s sun and sand. Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama was nothing short of a perfect weekend, surrounded by great friends, better music, and endless memories.  Thanks for never disappointing, see you in 2017, HMF. 19080017342_e5a10c5a8b_o Cover Image Background Photo Credit: Shannon McGee (Our Text Was Added To Photo) Life is Good Photo Credit: Shannon McGee Surf Stage Photo Credit: Shannon McGee

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