I’ve been doing festivals for over a decade now with Hangout 2022 being my 33rd overall. I had attended Hangout back in 2015 but pivoted to camping festivals the same year. My festival family which spans Wisconsin, Delaware, North Carolina, and Georgia decided to send it to Hangout this year. We got a condo booked at the Crystal Shores West tower, a lovely walk down the seashore from the festival with private beach access nestled across from Pier 33, the local grocery store. I highly recommend booking a place to stay within walking distance of Hangout. It was so nice being able to walk to the festival daily with a load of restaurants to stop by on the way as Hangout takes place on the main boardwalk by the beach. I highly recommend checking out The Beli next time you are down in Gulf Shores. Their sandwiches hit the spot before a long day on the beach.
Arriving at the festival on the first day, the festival had a short delay due to weather. Once we were given the all-clear to head back in, my crew piled into the line of eager attendees waiting to start their weekend. When walking in, I noticed there was a very strong police presence at Hangout for security. On the rooftops of the nearby hotels, spotters are posted up to watch the street for suspicious behavior. Granted, this kind of vibe is not ideal for some entering a festival, however, I will say Hangout comes across as one of the safer non-camping festivals. But once you got past the gates, you were hit with that Hangout vibe. My eyes were drawn to the Ferris wheel, but all of the other attractions caught my attention as my crew strolled through the festival grounds. There were food vendors galore with Spicy Pie making an appearance (IYKYK). The puppy kissing booth was a nice addition, tucked away off the main strip to give folks an escape from the madness. There was even an air-conditioned tourist beach store and restaurant within the festival grounds as well, something very unique to see at a festival.
With my media pass, I was given access to VIP at both the main stages. This came with the privilege of closer viewing areas and swimming pools at the Hangout stage. It was surreal being upfront for some of the bigger names including Post Malone, Halsey, Tame Impala, and GRiZ who came out of nowhere to replace Doja Cat. The Tame Impala and GRiZ sets were by far two of the best shows I have been to in my life. GRiZ is one of my favorites and being on the rail for a surprise set was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Kevin Parker fought off a tropical storm with Rushium while it was raining sideways. That is something I will cherish forever. There was also a separate VIP stage where select artists performed intimate stripped-down sets. While bouncing around I had the pleasure to see Moon Taxi and flipturn play on the VIP stage. These were very unique shows as I’ve only seen these two bands in nearly sold-out venues. VIP is worth it for Hangout just for the close viewing and extra stage, not to mention the free food, beer, and cider that were also available in VIP.
I can’t wait to see the lineup for Hangout 2022. I already miss the vibes from the festival, not even a week out. Maybe I’ll see you next year on the beach in Gulf Shores.