written by Danny Smith and Alyssa DiCaterino
photos from the Hangout Facebook Page
It was about a six hour solo drive from Georgia for me (Danny) and about a nine hour, solo as well, drive from Florida for me (Alyssa). I got in on Thursday to interview Cherub before they performed at the Kickoff Party with a funky performance. Shaun Frank had the Mermaid Stage jumping. Shortly after, the “hottest group in the world” Migos closed out the night at the Boom Boom Tent with a vibrating performance. Surprisingly, great visuals and highlights for a rap set. Reality sets in as I vaguely knew where I was staying or the people I shared a condo with. The rest is Hangout history.
Music Genre: Electro Pop, Hip Hop, Rap, Indie, Electronic, Alternative, Beachy Tunes, Reggae, Ukelele Screamo
Crowd Type: Family, Ravers/Ragers, Chill, Beach Bums, Flower Children
Water Stations: Yes
Any advice for the first timers or solo travelers?
Danny: Solo travelers, make friends. Clearly you’re all in the same dope environment voluntarily; be yourself and meet new people! I was lucky again to squad up with another wild, hospitable, welcoming crew. Penthouse chillin all weekend. At any given time we had a dance party whether it was on an elevator, walking to/from Hangout, or at the Malibu Beach House. Late nights. Hors d’oeuvre hover boarding. Great playlists all weekend. I even woke up on their couch one morning and someone walked in and asked “Is this what heaven is like?”; and then reality awoke. Killer group overall, thanks again! First timers (and everyone), stay hydrated. Eat a healthy breakfast and late lunch. If you’re with a group, just go with the flow. Chances are you’ll waste your breath and create personal headaches to only have your ideas shut down. Your best bet is to rely on the music at all times. Lastly, be on your best behavior!
Alyssa: As both a first timer and a solo traveler, I’d say the best thing is to be prepared for any and everything. If you want to stay anywhere near the festival, you’re going to have to be willing to stay with a big group of people whether you know all of them or not. Prices are a little bit insane to stay there unless you’re with a decent sized group. So many factors are unpredictable, especially weather. I would just keep an open mind, be easy going and flexible, and you’re golden. SHOES. I know it’s on the beach, and maybe it’s just me, but I thought “Ok, cool! I don’t need shoes.” Quite few killer 2nd degree burns all over my feet later, I certainly learned my lesson. But seriously, DON’T BE AFRAID IF YOU ARE GOING BY YOURSELF. I’m one of those people who love to fest solo just as much as I do with my buds, and Hangout was by far my favorite solo experience yet. Because in all honesty, you’re not even alone! You’re surrounded by thousands of some of the coolest people this earth has to offer.
Try any killer food/drinks?
Danny: I was so caught up in the mix I only ate pizza and some Sour Punch straws. I did see Brooke Lynn’s Own Sticks & Cones which I have eaten before; good eats if you see them out.
Alyssa: I completely failed on this one. Minus a few green beans I happened to snag from the media tent, I didn’t eat at Hangout, and certainly not from lack thereof. Many regrets for not trying out The Hangout restaurant.
How many stages were there, and how was the setup?
Danny: I only made it to sets at 5/8 Hangout stages. We chilled in the hammocks outside the BMI Stage for a bit, but I never actually watched sets at BMI or Fitz’s. Hangout is a decently sized venue. The setup was nice because stages were far enough apart to minimize noise from neighboring stages. The walks between stages weren’t extremely far either. Dancing and walking in sand all weekend was a workout though. Malibu Beach House was my favorite for a few reasons. The design was simple and awesome, it was never crowded, the tent blocked the weather, and it was House heavy.
Alyssa: Eight beautiful stages, with three right on the shore, and one with two pools right in front of it (made for the COOLEST festival experience ever). Set up was pretty good, but not perfect. The only complaint is due to one of the main stages: Surf. Sound on the Surf Stage was iffy here and there. During one set, I was right up on barricade and could hear the person next to me blink; so, I started to leave that set, and the further away from the stage, the louder it was (which did, at points, bleed into the Hangout Stage sets). The Mermaid Stage was probably one of my favorites. People eating at The Hangout were able to watch sets right from their dinner table. The area Mermaid was set up in just created this really chill vibe.
Any musical highlights?
Danny: Props to ALL Hangout artists. I had a different festival experience than usual because it was my first time seeing several artists and I also floated with group decisions. I have to mention Le Youth after seeing him twice throughout the weekend. I got my House fix at Hangout with him and Nora En Pure as they held down the Malibu Beach House all weekend. I would make time to see both of them at a festival if you have the chance.
MGMT was a great dusk show; first time seeing them. The crowd was chill at the Hangout Stage. Pool floats were unleashed during their set. The sun going down behind the stage as MGMT played “Electric Feel” was an awestruck highlight alone. Priceless.
Dillon Francis was badass. The colorful inch worm visuals mixed with the Mean Girls clip had me laughing out loud.
Major Lazer and Twenty One Pilots were both sick. Similarly because the danger approaching during their sets. Wearing my butterfly halo sitting on a metal guard rail rocking to Major Lazer and watching Twenty One Pilots with my feet in the pool at VIP as lightning rolled in only boosted my adrenaline for the moment.
Rufus Du Sol took the weekend for me. I enjoyed their set the most. The combination of VIP, overcast, and their talent made for an incredible set. Perfect beach vibes. “Sundream” is one of my new favorite songs. I can’t wait to see Rufus Du Sol perform again!
Alyssa: MGMT was also a favorite for me. Hangout was my second time seeing them, and it’s just a really fun time at their sets. Although the majority of comments I’ve seen on their Hangout performance have been extremely negative, I still think it was a pretty good set.
Twenty One Pilots, although their set was cut short due to bad weather, gave one of the best performances I’ve seen from them. I’ve seen them in concert quite a fair share of times over the past few years, but I haven’t seen them at a festival since 2015. Talk about a glow up. Their onstage collab for songs “Tear in My Heart,” and “Lane Boy,” with previous opening act for the first leg of their Emotional Roadshow Tour, MUTEMATH, absolutely made my weekend. Singer, Tyler Joseph’s epic fall off of his piano was also a highlight.
MAGIC!, COIN, Young the Giant, LANY, and Cobi were also some incredible acts to mention from the weekend.
What about THINGS TO DO outside the music?
Danny: Lay in the hammocks, chill on the beach. I saw people doing obstacle courses at Sour Punch. Ride the ferris wheel. There was even a Wedding Chapel. Congratulations to the newly engaged Courtney and Mark by the way. We had a colorful parachute we used on the beach also. We successfully filled it with air one day, otherwise it was a great beach blanket. All else fails, just chill and Hangout.
Alyssa: There’s so much music constantly going on, so that alone could keep you busy. You’re on the beach (but like a really cool one), think sand, sunburns, weddings, hammock chilling, smooching puppies, a swing placed right in the Gulf, inflatables, crowdsurfing on the inflatables, pools, and people. Endless possibilities here.
How was VIP?
Danny: My short lived VIP experience was tight. My only thing about VIP is that the crowd is almost always way turned down than General Admission. Accommodations are there though. Minimal lines for refreshments, room to boogie, you could even chill at the pool. VIP at Hangout is something to consider.
Alyssa: VIP is always a little bit lame when it comes to crowds compared to GA, but Hangout’s VIP certainly blew all others away. It may not have been as crazy as GA, but it certainly put up a good fight. Free drinks and air conditioned bathrooms in the VIP section alone can make the extra cash worth it, but swimming pools right in front of the main stage? You’re kidding me. Take my money.
Any fun stories?
Danny: Honestly the whole experience was a fun story starting with the Cherub interview. Hanging out with such a big group there was never a dull moment. The combination of the beach, music, late nights, penthouse parties, and chill ass people produced an extraordinary extravaganza. Thanks for the vibes Hangout!
Alyssa: Getting to interview a few awesome artists, meet some others, and head backstage for some, were definitely the ultimate highlights that made my Hangout awesome. One of my favorite moments of the weekend was during MGMT’s set. Inflatable whales were thrown into the crowd (like a lot of whales. A lot of giant whales). One guy hopped on the back of one of the whales and started gliding on top of the crowd. Andrew from MGMT: “There’s a young man riding a whale.” The guy behind me was in tears. Between this legend crowd surfing on a whale, to Andrew’s narration, to the guy behind me, it was a good time.