Photos | Lagniappe
Another Hangout Music Festival has come and gone. With its conclusion, another multitude of festival enthusiasts took home a lifetime’s worth of unforgettable memories from one of the world’s largest beach parties.
While the Thursday night kickoff party was canceled due to weather, ticket holders were refunded their money and the rest of the weekend went off without a hitch. For many, each morning began with the obligatory “pregaming” at the condo, which often included a variety of libations, snacks, karaoke and a thorough dousing with glitter. In fact, festivalgoers used so much glitter this weekend that the beach in front of The Hangout will probably maintain a rainbow shimmer for weeks to come, serving as a reminder of the good times had during this three-day overload of surf, sun and music.
There’s no denying Hangout has evolved over the past decade. In recent years, attendees have noticed the lineup shifting to feature more current acts, both notable and up-and-coming, and this year was no different.
The biggest changes could be witnessed in other aspects. This year, crowd comfort seemed to be a priority, and the festival succeeded. Stage viewing areas that were lined in sand and gravel in the past had been replaced by concrete walkways and soft grass. Thoroughfares also seemed less congested and easier to navigate. The food was on point and Corona sponsored the beer tents. The crowd was also given fun, new experiences such as a roller rink and even a beachside summer camp experience. Ultimately, festivalgoers could still have fun while avoiding the intensity of a crowded stage.
Hangout Fest’s philosophy for filling its lineup with the year’s hottest sounds can be a challenging one, especially with musical acts whose popularity can quickly fade. The festival provided a steady rotation of stellar sounds from across the musical spectrum, but Sunday’s lineup of soul and hip-hop on the main stages were some of the most impressive sounds heard over the weekend. Two newcomers in particular stood out.
Wearing a black “Glasgow smile,” hip-hop artist NF infiltrated the Hangout Stage by way of a steel cage. After escaping his confinement, NF exploded into a charismatic tirade of lyrics and beats that gave no quarter. This verbal assassin maintained an electrifying delivery that coursed through the multitude.
By contrast, there was the soul diva goodness of SZA. When she took the stage she apologized for any mishaps, claiming she had lost her voice the night before. This humble statement was countered by a steady flow of satiny vocals that brought the crowd such hits as “Broken Clocks” and “The Weekend.” As the bass fluttered breezes across the crowd, SZA flew across the stage and fed from the love and energy that the crowd provided.
Once again, Hangout Fest organizers have topped themselves musically and organizationally, leaving longtime veterans of this beach party to wonder where the festival will go from here. With its solidified reputation for new experiences and new sounds, the future of this event still looks as bright as the sun that shines on the beach.
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