Without the right answers from Hangout founder Shaul Zislin on how to address residents’ concerns from the 2019 Hangout Music Festival the next Hangout and future shows could be in jeopardy.
“We have told him if he can solve these things, he’s got 2020,” Mayor Robert Craft said. “He won’t get anything beyond that if it doesn’t work.”
Even without the city’s OK, Hangout organizers moved forward with the release of the 2020 lineup Tuesday, which includes headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone, Billie Eilish, Marshmello and Lana Del Rey. The Hangout has until the middle of March to secure a permit for the festival.
“You will see a statement in the paper or somewhere advertising where he’s releasing a lineup,” Craft said. “He doesn’t have a permit to operate that. What we have is a contract approving of the festival through 2025. But it requires an annual permit review.”
In an email to Lagniappe, Zislin said he believes the problems can be worked out.
“We are looking forward to addressing all outstanding issues and satisfy City Council’s concerns,” Zislin said. “As per our master agreement with the city of Gulf Shores, we are not scheduled to get a site permit until 60 days prior to the festival. We believe that Gulf Shores will be Hangout Music Festival’s forever home.”
Residents packed a City Council meeting following the 2019 event saying festival-goers were roaming the streets and leaving automobiles in restricted areas.
“We’ve given him a letter that has told him that we’ve had a bunch of complaints about this, we’re not happy with the way things have been going on and things have got to change,” Craft said. “You’ve got to fix it. We’ve told him in writing that we will not approve a permit until he satisfies us that he’s made significant progress toward controlling the noise and vulgarity permeating outside the festival site and into residential areas. The negative impacts to the area are overnight parking and parking on the street.”
Pam Williams was one of those who spoke during the June meeting. She lives one block off Beach Road and four blocks east of the Hangout.
“There is not anybody in my neighborhood or up and down First Avenue East and West that does not have a public urination or defecation story to tell,” Williams said. “That’s out of control.”
Another problem Zislin must address is the shrinking footprint of the festival. Construction projects — including a mixed-use project by Zislin due east of the Hangout restaurant — are taking up space once used to help stage the event.
“There’s a loss of 4.28 acres that he currently utilizes,” Craft said. “He’s got to have a site plan that shows that he can survive and the number of people he’s going to take care of losing that amount of space. He’s got to prove it to us without question.”
Craft says there’s a chance the show can still go on but Zislin will have to convince city officials he’s serious about fixing the recurring problems.
“He hasn’t even submitted a permit application yet,” Craft said. “But we’ve told him if he can meet these things for 2020 then we’ll give it to him. But then he’s got to prove those work.”
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