“A little rain never hurt anyone, right?” A sentence that was overheard a multitude of times as a sold out crowd showed up for a very rainy Hangout Fest last weekend.

The sold out beach-side festival returned after a 2 year hiatus and hosted over 50 bands with a perfect mix of both up and coming acts as well as some of the biggest names in the industry.

Acts ranging from Chart-topping acts like Post Malone, and Jack Harlow all the way to artists we grew up with such as T Pain and pop punk legends Fall Out Boy.

The list of things that make Hangout Music Fest stand out amongst all of the other festivals is practically endless , but let’s start with the most glaringly obvious one; it’s on the beach. While every festival out there seems to try to have its own “vibe,” Hangout does it quite effortlessly by locating itself right in the middle of almost everyone’s favorite vacation spot.

The sold out festival welcomed over 40,000 fans over the course of three days and is located along about a half mile of white sand beach on Alabama’s very own Gulf Shores.

Speaking of the vibe, the festival does an excellent job and booking not just some of the biggest and most popular acts but you can really tell some of these artists were hand picked for the beach. Whether you want to jump in a packed out crowd for Jack Harlow, (who might I add currently has the number 1 song in the world on billboard currently) dance your problems away to EDM duo Louis the Child, cry with some of your best friends to singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, or relive some of the biggest hits of your childhood to T Pain and Fall Out Boy, Hangout Fest has something for you. And I think that is something that not every festival is able to say. However this festival prides itself in just that and the meticulous effort that goes into the lineup shows it. 

So maybe you’re thinking, “this is all too good to be true , is there a catch or something?”

The short answer is well, sort of. It should be no surprise to beach goers but being beachfront in May, there is alway a chance of one thing for certain: rain. 

The festival itself is rain or shine, thankfully but will close in the event of storms for obvious safety reasons. Unfortunately upon opening it’s gates Friday morning it had to do just that and the festival had to temporarily evacuate for a little over an hour. However, the gates reopened and spirits were just as high as ever while the rest of the day carried on without issue. Friday showcased sets from T Pain who’s music catalog has so many hits I found myself going “oh i forgot about this one!” almost every other song, pop – country stars Kane Brown and Maren Morris, pop-punk titans Fall Out Boy who had by far the most pyro out of the entire weekend including but not limited to, a flame thrower fashioned to the headstock of Pete Wentz’s bass. And yes, you heard that correctly. The night was closed out by none other than rapper/ singer / songwriter Post Malone, who currently has several songs on spotify topping over 1 and 2 billion plays. 

Now the good news is from a weather standpoint, day 2 was practically perfect. The sun was out but some clouds provided plenty of shade. Now unfortunately the bad news here being that one of the headliners and most anticipated acts of the weekend, Doja Cat had to pull out of the festival and ultimately her entire summer tour due to complications with her tonsils. The feedback from the news was seemingly well as most of her fans sent her their best wishes for a speedy recovery, but no one likes to see a show get canceled obviously. However, the festival was able to get EDM/ Funk artist Griz to fill in her slot last minute and while maybe the hardcore Doja Cat fans were still upset, Griz delivered a high energy very fun set which included a remix of  Doja’s hit song “kiss me more” as a sort of tribute to the singer / rapper that was unable to perform.

While we are on the topic of rain the last thing to mention is going to be day 3. And by rain I kind of mean torrential-downpour-all-day type of thing. The festival did have some delays opening again however, the gates were opened pretty quickly despite the ongoing rain and that certainly did not seem to impact attendance as the crowds were as full and energetic as ever with artists like folk rock favorite The Head and The Heart and EDM duo Louis the Child played throughout the day. Another moment where Hangout Fest’s talent and scheduling department shined was the sun setting to none other than California singer-songwriter and everyone’s favorite sad girl Phoebe Bridgers. Her melancholy yet catchy songs made for some almost perfect beach moments. Listening to emotional lyrics like “ Had nothing to prove until you came into my life, gave me something to lose” from her newest single Sidelines all while feeling the beach breeze is a moment neither I nor the rest of the crowd will forget for years to come.

Now the real fun and truly memorable moment was the latter half of Sunday evening when light showers very quickly turned into that torrential downpour I was talking about earlier. But you know what, that is half the fun right? The last few sets of the night started with chart topping acts Jack Harlow followed by Meg thee Stallion, who despite all the rain had some of the largest crowds of the entire weekend. 

The last day of the festival was closed out in perfect beachfront fashion by Aussie psychedelic music project Tame Impala. For those that are not aware, tame impala is a project by Australian musician Kevin Parker, who does take a full live band with him on the road. By the time they were set to play, the wind and rain was the strongest it had been all day and I along with other festival goers feared the worst. However after just a couple delays, the show absolutely went on and Tame Impala wrapped up Hangout Music fest with an incredible set and production show quite literally until the PA speakers cut out due to the rain. It may have been cold and wet but looking back, Hangout Fest 2022 will most certainly be one of the most memorable music experiences for me. From meticulously picked lineups to some of the friendliest crowds to absolutely jam packed days full of good food , good music and good times, Hangout Music Fest has forever cemented a place as one of my favorite festivals and to say I look forward to next year is an understatement. 

Whether you have attended before or are simply just curious about the festival, you can follow them on any socials  @hangoutfest to see recaps, shots of the artists , behind the scenes moments and hopefully before too long, next year’s lineup.

See you on the beach!

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