We Made the Trek to Hangout Fest and So Should You

No matter where you live in (or out of) the country, hit up Gulf Shores, Alabama next year for Hangout 2019

HANGOUT2018 0518 205949 1316 ALIVECOVERAGE
HANGOUT2018 0518 205949 1316 ALIVECOVERAGE

Last updated on February 18th, 2022 at 09:56 pm

For the ninth consecutive year, Hangout Music Festival brought some of the biggest and best acts across all genres to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Whether you’re a fan of EDM, Hip-Hop, Alternative, or Pop, the three-day beach fest had something for everyone.


Alt-poppers, Lovelytheband, were one of the first acts to open Day 1. A brief spout of rain interrupted their set, but they powered through with some of their notable tunes, “broken” and “these are my friends.” Thankfully, it was clear skies all weekend after their set.

Oh Wonder- courtesy of Hangout

The rest of my day was spent running from stage to stage to catch Banners, Pussy Riot- an incredible, politically-charged art and music performance, Lauv, Dej Loaf, Oh Wonder, Portugal. The Man, Zedd, and Welshly Arms. I quickly realized that an incredible lineup also means a lot of overlapping sets. Running through the sandy beaches was a solid way to work off the festival food I ate over the weekend- Humpty’s Dumplings food truck, I love you.

Zedd- courtesy of Hangout

Friday headliners, The Killers, immediately captivated the crowd opening with their iconic “Mr. Brightside.” Frontman Brandon Flowers was donned in a metallic gold suit and belted out old hits from 2006 release, Sam’s Town, and their 2004 debut, Hot Fuss, as well as newer tunes from their most recent LP, Wonderful Wonderful. They also included a cover medley of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and “Free Fallin’” delighting roughly 30,000 festival goers.

The Killers- courtesy of Hangout


I kicked off day 2 off a little later, getting to the festival in time to see Jack Antonoff’s band, Bleachers. Bleachers is one of the bands that just feels right at a music festival setting. Watching them on an open stage with a crowd of people is how their music is supposed to be consumed. Antonoff and his band played through a solid set of fan favorites including “Wild Heart,” “Rollercoaster,” “I wanna Get Better,” and “Don’t Take the Money,” along with a fitting Depeche Mode cover of “Just Can’t Get Enough.” Their positive energy and passion for music radiated through the beaches of Gulf Shores and was an incredible way to start my day.

Bleachers- courtesy of Hangout

Similar to Friday, I was non-stop running across the festival grounds to catch AWOLNATION, Tank and The Bangas, R.LUM.R before getting to one of the highlights of my weekend, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals. .Paak opened his set with “Come Down” and “The Waters” from his critically acclaimed Malibu, and one of my favorites, “GLOWED UP,” produced by KAYTRANADA and featured on his 2016 album, 99.9{a43c2147d37bcf8b898f59ebaaf066dc60bd9fbfc7430ae40ed3f9adbaab469e}. His smooth vocals fit the beachy Hangout vibes while his precise percussion skills wowed the audience. I will never cease to be impressed by a drumming vocalist. He really got the crowd moving with “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance” and “Dang!” a Mac Miller song on which .Paak has a catchy feature.

Anderson .Paak- courtesy of Hangout

I was one of many who chose to skip Logic’s set for Manchester Orchestra- nothing against the man, but he’s headlining Soundest so I’ll catch him soon enough. Manchester Orchestra’s live performance is significantly heavier than their recorded music which was a nice change of pace after the some of the lighter, poppier acts.

Courtesy of Hangout

I’ve also been lucky enough to see Halsey multiple times so I decided to bypass her set to grab some food and wait for the incredible Noname- another Hangout highlight. Noname’s 45 minute set was enchantingly dreamy. She has one of my favorite flows as a rapper and her cheerful personality shone through and had the diverse crowd smiling for the rest of the night.

St. Vincent- courtesy of Hangout

The final conflicting sets of the night were headliners, The Chainsmokers, and alt queen, St. Vincent, also known as Annie Clark. The choice was pretty easy for me as I watched Clark shred on her signature Ernie Ball Music Man guitar- designed by St. Vincent herself, naturally. Although she and her band stayed relatively stationary the entire performance, the intricate light show and Clark’s eccentric outfit still provided a wonderfully electric experience to close out the second day.


The third and final day was somehow more jam-packed than the first two. I caught the tail end of Alice Merton’s set (“No Roots” is a live bop) before making my way to the Beach Stage to see Minnesota’s own Hippo Campus, who were amazing as always. The quartet always brings a lively energy while still being impressively proficient musicians.

Alice Merton- courtesy of Hangout

Queue more running and borderline heat exhaustion to catch MAX, Slightly Stoopid, Whethan, NF, The Struts, Sunflower Bean, and of course, SZA, who made the hectic day completely worth it. Miss Solana is such a carefree, beautiful soul who had me singing, dancing, and crying all within the span of a few minutes. Her set was primarily songs off of her 2017 album, Ctrl, which the audience seemed to appreciate.

NF- courtesy of Hangout

I made sure to take a stroll past Big Boi and Foster the People’s sets and caught “So Fresh and So Clean” and “Rosa Parks” from Big Boi, and Mark Foster delivering a sincere speech dedicated to the victims of the Santa Fe shooting, which left festival goers with a heavy heart and teary eyes.

SZA- courtesy of Hangout

I then made my way to see one of my all-time favorite bands, Grouplove. Their happy-go-lucky spirit never fails to put me in a good mood which was something I needed after Foster’s heartfelt words. Their set was relatively short, but it was full of uplifting, fun tunes. “Welcome to Your Life,” “Itchin’ on a Photograph,” and of course their notable “Tongue Tied” had the Boom Boom Tent dancing and singing along.

Courtesy of Hangout

Before I knew it, it was time for the now infamous Kendrick Lamar set. He opened with “DNA” which got the crowd hyped off the bat. “King Kunta,” “goosebumps,” and “Swimming Pools,” kept the energy high before Jay Rock joined Lamar for “Money Trees” and “King’s Dead.” Then came “m.A.A.d. city.” Kendrick played through it once himself before bringing up three fans to deliver the song as well. The first, Will, choked on stage and barely got his name out, which to his credit is more than I could do in that situation. The second, Rohan, absolutely crushed it with solid stage presence and most importantly, he censored himself.

Kendrick Lamar- courtesy of Hangout

By this point in time, we all know how this played out. The third and final person to attempt “m.A.A.d. city” was an unfortunate gal named Delaney. Miss Delaney seemed overly confident as she took the stage in front of 30,000 people with one of the greatest rappers of all time, only to boldly let the “n-word” slip not once, not twice, but three whole times. It was beyond embarrassing as a festival goer, as a woman, and as a human, to be even remotely associated with this trash. Over a sea of booing and choice words, Lamar somehow gave her a second chance to cover the song, which ended poorly as she was too accustomed to using that word while rapping and got tripped up attempting to remove it from her vernacular.

Kendrick Lamar- courtesy of Hangout

Being the superstar he is, Kendrick bounced back from what is now international news, and closed his set with bangers “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Alright,” “X,” and “HUMBLE.” all emphasized with a good amount of pyrotechnics. Lamar was the perfect act to end the festival on a high note.

Kendrick Lamar- courtesy of Hangout

This was my second year at Hangout Festival and I definitely see myself returning in the future. If you’ve never been to a festival I highly recommend it. Sunshine, beaches, and live music- what’s not to love? No matter where you live you should make the trek to Gulf Shores, it’ll be worth it.

Written by Sara Fish

Minneapolis photographer and music lover. | @sarajsfish


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