Since I went to my first festival (Helloooo Austin City Limits) in 2015, I’ve been 3 for 3 in going to music festivals each year. I’m so in love with the vibe of music festivals. It’s so lovely to be surrounded by people who just want to listen to music and have a good time. I’ve never met an unfriendly person at a music festival. In fact, I usually walk away with fun stories of experiences with strangers.
This year was my second time going to Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama (Read all about the first time I went to Hangout here!). I bought my tickets last minute and was still feeling the exhaustion of not having a day off for the last seven months.
On Thursday, I met up with my friends, Alyssa, Tom and Noah, and we took the 8ish-hour drive over to Gulf Shores together. Our condo was right next to the entrance to the festival, which ended up coming in handy more than once during the festival.
That night, we all hung out on the patio with all of our condo neighbors. We met an ecclectic group of characters, including a native to the area who attends the festival each year and a group of friends who have been to Hangout several years in a row and many other festivals around the country as well. Jell-o shots were had, Backstreet Boys was blasted and awkward interactions ensued.
FRIDAY, MAY 19
One thing I like about music festivals is that there is never really a sense of urgency when it comes to seeing a band or DJ that you like, at least that’s how it was for us all weekend. We slept in and enjoyed a leisurely late breakfast then made our way to the festival.
The first DJ we saw was Elephante. This was my first time ever hearing of him, and I really enjoyed the vibe. That’s another one of my favorite things about music festivals – you can just wander by a tent and fall in love with a new artist. I did that several times over the weekend.
Next, we headed over to the Surf Stage to listen to The Strumbellas. I knew a few songs by them, but I didn’t realize that they were the ones who sang the songs, so that was a nice surprise. Also around this time, we met up with some people that came down from Shreveport for the festival as well, including Todd and Derek who I went to Hangout with last year.
Next up was Charli XCX, and she killed it. Y’all, I had a blast watching her perform. Plus, there was so much good energy around during her performance. Everyone, myself included, was dancing and belting out all the lyrics. It was the perfect last artist to see before we cooled off at the beach. The waves were absolutely insane, but #cantstopwontstop
After a stop at the condo to get reenergized with some sandwiches and drinks, we headed back to the festival to see MGMT. We also met up with a few more friends, including Stu who we met up with at Hangout last year.
We were all super excited to see Weezer. (Mini flashback to when Aqua and Raymond share their first dance to “Island in the Sun” in Aquamarine. Feels.) Admittedly, I haven’t listened to much of their later stuff, but I was impatiently waiting to listen to the songs I did know. Also, in some miracle, the fifth person who was staying in our condo, Kyle, magically found us in the endless crowd.
Next, we headed over to the Boom Boom Tent to listen to Dillon Francis. I only knew his song “Coming Over,” before I saw him live, but Dillon ended up being my favorite act of the day. Kyle put me on his shoulders because #shortpeopleprobs and for a little bit, I had an awesome view of Dillon doin’ his thang.
The night ended up with a semi-early bedtime because we were all pretty tuckered out.
SATURDAY, MAY 20
We slept in a little later on Saturday because we weren’t in a rush to see any of the early morning acts. A few friends walked over to our condo, and we all chatted and drank a bit before heading to the festival to see Rüfüs du Sol. Again, I had never heard of them, but it was a great way to start the day. Chill vibes all around.
Tragedy struck when it started to rain, so the five of us that were staying in the condo – Alyssa, Tom, Noah, Kyle and me – left the festival to enjoy some lunch at the restaurant that was right across the street from our condo. Just in time too because the rain started pouring while we sat inside enjoying our mac and cheese bites.
We further escaped the rain and hung out at the condo until it was time to see Major Lazer. Our group got separated, and by the end of it, it was just Kyle and me. There was a point where this guy was awkwardly taking a video of me on his Snapchat. No, thank you, mister. Major Lazer was incredible and super packed, but toward the end of his set, we managed to run into Todd, his girlfriend, Sarah and Sarah’s sister. We all walked over to the Surf Stage together to find a decent spot for Twenty Pilots.
Further tragedy struck when in the middle of their set, a message came up on the screens saying that we all needed to leave due to the weather. Twenty Pilots got cut off right in the middle of a song, and then we all herded like cattle trying to make our way to the exits. The rain started pouring down as soon as Kyle and I got into the condo. Alyssa and Tom weren’t so lucky and ended up coming back soaked.
The rain didn’t stop us from enjoying the night. Stu and his girlfriend, Marie, came over to the condo, and we all jammed out to old school songs before walking over to their condo. The girls enjoyed some good girl talk while the boys decided to go for a night swim. We watched from the balcony.
SUNDAY, MAY 21
Everyone was in the struggle on Sunday morning. Everyone I was staying with drove home on Sunday and skipped the last day, so I ended up spending most of the day by myself, which was kind of awesome.
I met up with Todd and Sarah during Shaggy’s set. Okay, let’s all be honest. Most of us only know about three songs by him, and those are the ones I went there to see. I was getting a little annoyed during his set though because he kept on stopping the music to talk. It was really frustrating, but didn’t stop me from belting out the lyrics to “It Wasn’t Me.”
The three of us went to lunch at Shrimp Basket, and I had a dozen and a half oysters and the most pathetic side salad one ever did see. The oysters were delicious though, and I’m salivating just thinking about them.
Todd and Sarah went to take a nap after lunch, so this is where my solo excursion began. I wandered around the festival hitting up all the acts I wanted to see. First was Matoma. I had never heard of him, but I’m officially a fan. His mixes were incredible, and I was dancing the whole time.
I only knew one song by Franz Ferdinand, “Take Me Out,” but that didn’t stop me from making my way as close to the stage as possible (which is a lot easier to do when it’s only one person trying to navigate through everyone).
I had the best time seeing Young the Giant. Sameer’s energy onstage is magnetic.
I fell in love with NGHTMRE on accident. I was on my way to a food tent to get some Chinese food, and I heard him performing. I stopped by and ended up staying for the rest of the set. He was one of my favorite DJs from the whole weekend.
My solo journey ended when I found some friends during Chance the Rapper. This was my second time seeing Chance (the first being at ACL). We ended the night seeing Mumford & Sons and Marshmello.
At the condo, I quickly showered and got into bed because homegirl was tired, but I did have a Facebook call with my friend, Predrag, who had just gotten home from the ship. He sounded just as exhausted as I felt.
Hangout 2017 was definitely one for the books, and hopefully 2018 will continue my yearly streak of going to a music festival.
Have you ever been to a music festival?