Overall, the lineup for Hangout Fest was phenomenal. Even though I didn't know a lot of the artists going in, I listened to them a lot in the weeks leading up to the festival and enjoyed their sets regardless. I ended up seeing a lot of performances! In four days, I saw 22 artists perform part or all of their sets, including but not limited to A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Bryce Vine, lovelytheband, Bazzi, Jimmy Eat World, Two Feet, Elohim, Hozier, and Cardi B.
Even if I can't sing along to every song, watching different artists in their element is worth it. The fact that the festival took place on the beach made it a thousand times better. Alabama isn't the best place to be, especially with things unfolding in the government, but at least I could stick my toes in the Gulf Shore sands and forget how terrible the world is for a weekend.
I had a blast but here are my highs and lows.
1. High: Lauren Daigle singing "You Say"
Lauren Daigle was one of the few people that I absolutely had to see while I was at Hangout and I'm so glad I was able to do so. "You Say" is one of my favorite songs and she sang it beautifully.
2. High: lovelytheband's whole performance but especially their speech about the Alabama law and other important issues.
I saw lovelytheband for the first time at Music Midtown so I knew of them and knew a majority of their songs. They even did a cover of "Mr. Brightside" which was amazing! The 1975 gave the first speech (that I heard) about their objection to the Alabama law but lovelytheband didn't compare. Along with derailing the law, they shouted out the LGBTQ community and mentioned mental health being a serious issue. Overall, it showed that they genuinely cared.
3. High: Being second row for Ella Maix.
I didn't know much of her music but my friend demanded that we be as close as possible when she performed. We left Cardi early in order to get to the stage super early. It was worth it in the end. Ella Maix knows how to work the stage and keep the crowd entertained. Her backup singers/dancers were also incredible.
4. High: Smooch a Pooch!
Yes, there were dogs to love on and it was amazing. We didn't get a lot of time with the pup but we did get to hold her and take pictures with her.
5. High: People watching
The best thing to do while waiting for the next artist to perform was to people watch. The drunks, the couples, the friends, the hype. There are all kinds of people at these festivals and if you pay attention, you might see some interesting things. For example, I saw a drunk boy faint into the sand and people had to come over to help him get back on his feet. His girlfriend came over after that and tried to drag him off with her but he refused so she slapped him. It was wild.
5. Low: Quinn XCII cancelling
I woke up Sunday morning believing that I would see Quinn XCII perform but when I checked the schedule for the day, his name was no longer on the list. It was a very sad realization that he would no longer be there. He was one of the few artists that I truly wanted to see. I guess I'll just have to go to another festival where he'll be playing.
4. Low: The heat
It was entirely too hot for most of the weekend, especially when we were closer to the stage. It's better than if it rained all weekend, so I can't complain that much. But being squished among a bunch of sweaty bodies definitely was not a highlight. The good part was that under one of the tents, there were sprinklers that would go off before each act. The bad part was when there was no cover and all we had was the blistering sun on us.
3. Low: Lack of sleep.
I didn't expect to get tons of sleep but I definitely thought I'd feel more rested than I did. Sadly, I was mistaken. On Thursday (night), I didn't go to bed until 5 am and we ended up going to the festival earlier than expected (around noon instead of 3 pm), and we tried to stay until 11 pm but that didn't end up happening. We actually left around 7 pm. We even ended up taking a nap at the festival; we found a nice spot in the shade, closed our eyes and relaxed. It was surprisingly nice.
2. Low: People pushing and shoving to get to the front of the stage even though there obviously wasn't any room
This irked my nerves so much because I understand that people want to be close to the stage but that means that they should've been there early enough to secure a spot. You can't wait until 10 minutes before the performance starts to try to push your way to the front. There are enough bodies squished together already, there doesn't need to be more.
1. Low: Artists that I wanted to see overlapped
Multiple times throughout the weekend, I was rushing back and forth between artists to try to catch their performance. It was a lot but it was definitely worth it. But it also meant that I didn't always get to be as close as I wanted to be to the stage. I had to leave a couple of performances early in order to catch the next one or showed up a little late to a few. I wish I could've seen them all.