Stepping onto the hot, sandy grounds of day one of this year’s Hangout Music Festival, I immediately felt overdressed for the occasion. Glittered-up festivalgoers strolled into the event in droves wearing their tiniest bikinis and swimwear ready to party — I felt like the new kid on the block.
As I was escorted through Hangout, I stared in awe of my enormous beach surroundings that stretched farther than a football field. At any turn, you could find some carnival-like attraction teasing you with a good time, with even more surprises waiting just around the corner. Unlike every other music festival, Hangout’s three-day event — held May 20-22 — offered so much more than artists on big stages.
Hangout is best described as a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
Set on the white sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, AL, Hangout is best described as a truly one-of-a-kind experience. In addition to stacked lineups on all six of its stages each day, Hangout takes it a step further with just about every fun-filled outdoor activity you can think of — including a fair, roller disco, mini pools, and, of course, the beach at your disposal. Even with the unpredictable bouts of rain, strong winds, and high tides, Hangout still managed to host an unbelievable weekend lineup.
Rock-star headliners like Post Malone, Halsey, and Tame Impala, plus other big names like Megan Thee Stallion and Jack Harlow, might’ve been the main draw for most Hangout attendees, but budding talent and stars well in their stride were the real sights to see. On Saturday evening, a suave Leon Bridges graced the humongous Hangout stage with every bit of soul I wanted to hear. His sweet vocals serenaded the lively crowd with old favorites like “C-Side,” “Shy,” and “Brown Skin Girl” — which he switched to a funky upbeat rendition “for the festival vibe,” as he put it. Meanwhile, Mobile native Flo Milli had her very first festival performance in her home state, turning the Boom stage into a full-blown party with bubbly hits like “May I,” “Back Pack,” and “PBC.”
Doja Cat was another anticipated act I looked forward to seeing at the festival, but, unfortunately, the “Kiss Me More” artist had to pull out of her performance just a day before she was scheduled to appear. “Hi guys. I wanted you to hear it from me first. Unfortunately I have to have surgery on my tonsils ASAP,” she explained on her Instagram Story on May 20. “The surgery is routine but the recovery is going to take awhile due to swelling. That means I have to cancel my festival run this summer as well as The Weeknd tour. I feel horrible about this but can’t wait for this to heal and get back to making music and create an experience for y’all.” It would’ve been great to see Doja live. I can only imagine how epic her set would’ve been had she had a chance to grace the SMKFLWR Surf Stage.
In between occasionally resting my legs and finding refuge in some cool air, I managed to cover a lot of ground. I saw some of my favorite artists live for the first time ever and enjoyed discovering other acts that I’ve already added to my playlist rotation. I hope every music-lover gets to experience something as grand as Hangout one day. The only thought I had as the weekend came to a close is that this can’t be my first and last time at the festival. Keep reading for more standout moments from this year’s Hangout festival.