by Matt Miller & Rusty Odom
The Hangout Music and & Arts Festival is a special place.
There is something about the energy of the Gulf (or the beach in general) that brings a truly unique and unifying experience to everyone who makes the trip to the end of Highway 59. Not only does Hangout offer the best VIP experience of any festival, including private pools, hot tubs, free food and drinks and a perfectly designed viewing area, but it offers a one-of-a-kind general admission amenities as well. At any time, you can go nap in a covered hammock, or as of last year, even take a dip in the water. You can take a seat the Hangout restaurant, enjoying a non-festival type meal while viewing a show at the Salt Life stage. In reality, you can experience the festival in a countless amount of ways.
This group of festival-goers is diverse, and what is truly original and refreshing about this festival is its’ ability to bring fans of completely different genres together, creating an unique festival experience for each one. There are plenty of patrons who didn’t see a single show I saw, and vice versa. This is due to the intricately successful scheduling of each stage. The Boom Boom Tent houses almost all electronic and hip-hop music. The Salt Life stage showcases the biggest up and coming bands from around the southeast and beyond. The Palladia Stage highlights the best in indie, rock, and alternative. There are even alternatives to the headliners, something that is unheard of at many festivals of Hangout’s size. Let’s take this even further. This year’s sunset shows featured My Morning Jacket, Father John Misty, Skrillex, Phantogram, Galactic with Macy Gray, and J. Roddy Walston & the Business. These sunset shows seem to bring the best of these artists, and are perfect transitions from the warm, sunny day to the cool, dark night to come.
The Hangout curators must also be applauded for their desire to bring those once-in-a-lifetime performances each year. This year featured DJ Windows 98 (Win Butler of Arcade Fire) along with Preservation Hall Jazz Band for a truly original set mixing hip-hop, electronic, funk and jazz altogether. Jack U (Skrillex and Diplo) made a rare appearance, replacing Sam Smith, and packing the Boom Boom Tent during Foo Fighters main stage performance.
There were also other acts that you won’t see on many other festival lineups this year. Young Fathers were a highlight on Saturday afternoon during the bands only scheduled US Festival appearance in 2015.