LIVE: HANGOUT MUSIC FEST 2017

Location: Gulf Shores, AL

Date: May 19-21, 2017

Review and Photographs by: Jeffrey Everett

There are a plethora of music festivals to choose from, but few that offer the amazing venue of the Hangout Fest (http://hangoutmusicfest.com). The Gulf Shores of Alabama is a vacation destination known for its white sand and clear Gulf water. Every May this quiet seaside welcomes over 30,000 visitors to enjoy the sun, beach and stacked line up of artists. This year, things got started with the Thursday Kickoff with artists performing on the secondary stages, which are not beachside. This year’s acts had an electronic/dance/ rap theme with the likes of Tchami, Nawas, Cherub, DZ Jazzy Jeff and Migos. The Thursday night shows are a separate ticket, but included with any VIP package. The crowd grew as the night progressed and was packed by the time Migos took the stage. Thursday shows run in series so fans can simply move from stage to stage with no conflicting acts.

Gates opened Friday at 11 AM with acts performing on seven different stages. It was a hot and humid day that even the ocean breeze did little to cool off. As the day progressed, up and comers gave way to the major acts. Like any festival, choices must be made and many shows unfortunately must be missed. Notable performances included 888, The Strumbellas, Misio, Charli XCX, Bishop Briggs, MGMT, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. Foreign Air was kind enough to do a quick portrait shot before their set. The duo from NC and DC are on a meteoric rise and put on a great set. The evening acts included Weezer who is out in support of their upcoming 11th album that will include “Feels Like Summer.” Their set included all their hits as well as release of inflatable swans out into the crowd to bounce around during the show. The Friday headliner, Phoenix, filled in after a last minute cancellation by Frank Ocean. They also have a new album Ti Amo set for release in June, which includes the new single “J-Boy.” Like Weezer, they played hits from their six studio albums for fans that extended back nearly to the Surf stage at the opposite end of the beach. A city ordnance mandates shows stop at 11 PM, so no excuse not to get up for the next days early acts!

Saturday will be remembered for the weather, which fortunately held off until late night. Early acts included Phantom S, Mondo Cozmo and Magic! As the day went on Mutemath, Local Natives and Rufus du Sol put on great shows. Band of Horses did not miss a beat as they replaced two departing members seamlessly. Major Lazer and the Head and the Heart filled the evening slots until Saturday’s Headliner, Twenty One Pilots. As clouds grew and threats of weather developed their show was moved up by 30 minutes. They started off all blacked out with “Heavy Dirty Soul.”  Josh did the usual backflip off the piano, followed by a Tyler wipeout trying to jump the piano. He commented he and his father watch YouTube videos of his falls. Mutemath joined the guys on stage for “Tear in my Heart” and “Lane Boy.” As they started into “Car Radio”, the organizers called the show as winds and lightning were approaching. As disappointed fans started evacuating the beach, the rain and wind hit. By the time we reached our condo we were drenched, but laughing and happy that dangerous conditions never materialized.

Sunday began with scattered showers and everyone was worried there would be more cancellations. Shows started on time and the rain did not deter anyone. Memorable early acts included Grammy winning Shaggy who hit the scene way back in the early 90’s. A massive crowd attended his act. They were treated to an extra 30 minutes as he stayed on to fill time due to a last minute cancellation by DJ Snake. Shaggy was followed by Lukas Graham who was doing his first US festival. His vocals, lyrics and showmanship blew everyone away and was one of the surprise acts of the festival. Franz Ferdinand filled the Fitz stage for their set. Young the Giant, out on tour in support of Home of the Strange, had the early evening slot. The weather cleared and was not an issue for the later shows. Chance the Rapper attracted a capacity crowd and put on an amazing show. He played songs from Acid Rap to Coloring Book. The show included pyrotechnics which complemented his stage presence. As his show concluded fans migrated to the Hangout stage for the headliner and final act, Mumford & Sons. They lived up to expectations with a set that included every hit. Marcus went out into the crowd, played two songs on the drum set and sounded incredible. After a full set, they came back for a three song encore, concluding with “The Wolf.” The festival concluded with fireworks as “Sweet Home Alabama” played.

Hangout Fest consistently offers a great lineup, a unique setting, and a variety of ticket packages. There is truly something for everyone. If you enjoy music and the beach, book early as the fixed capacity always sells out.

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LIVE: HANGOUT MUSIC FEST 2017

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