Guide To Hangout Fest 2017
By Jared Boyd, AL.com, May 17, 2017
Gulf Shores is about to come alive! The beach town is set to host Hangout Music Festival, which begins Thursday night with a Kick-Off Party and continues with the official festival lineup Friday.
While locals are bracing themselves the for the impending musical tidal wave, visitors and concert-goers would do well to get prepared, as well.
The tens of thousands of party people headed for the sand have likely spent the last year, maintaining savings for their ticket and a condo, coordinating travel with friends and family and getting hip to the latest bands with hopes that they will be included on the lineup. But, the work isn’t done once the credit card clears for a flight and a room. There a ton of things to consider once you touch down.
1. How’s the weather? The second full day of last year’s Hangout became a little touch-and-go after overnight thunderstorms caused delays and a last-minute cancellation from Canadian singer, The Weekend. Festival administration worked diligently to configure festival grounds and the lineup in order to make the day safe and fun in the aftermath. That said, the festival is rain or shine. So, the show will go on, some way, somehow. With the particularly unpredictable nature of weather on the Gulf Coast, it is tough to lock into a forecast, even just a couple days out from an event. However, as of Wednesday morning, here are the current projections for the weekend at Gulf Shores, according to the National Weather Service.
- Thursday Night – Partly cloudy, with a low around 70. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph.
- Friday – Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. East wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
- Friday Night – Partly cloudy, with a low around 72. East wind around 10 mph.
- Saturday – A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 84. Southeast wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
- Saturday Night – A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 73. Southeast wind around 10 mph.
- Sunday – Showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 83. South wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
- Sunday Night – A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 72.
2. Where should I park? Traffic has the potential to be a nightmare at Hangout. But, that’s just part of the party! Be smart and methodical about your vehicle when commuting. If you can leave your car at a hotel or rental home in order to walk or bike to the festival grounds, do so. You might make some friends on the way over. If you’re commuting into town from somewhere too far to walk or bike, several businesses and homeowners offer paid parking on their lots. Be mindful that prices tend to fluctuate as the weekend goes on. Don’t be surprised if you pay more for the same spot on Saturday afternoon than you did on Thursday night, before the festival got in full swing.
- If all of that sounds WAY too stressful for you and your crew, there is a pre-paid shuttle system. However, it is now sold out, according to the Hangout website.
- Do you need ADA accommodations? Hangout’s kept you in mind, as well. Check it out! They’ve got a whole page of information dedicated to making your time in Gulf Shores as comfortable as possible.
- Road closures and other pertinent civic information is provided on Gulf Shores’ website in the City News section.
3. Which acts should I see? Where have you been? We’ve already had this conversation! Although, Frank Ocean has pulled out, there’s about 70 other acts to check out. If you are having trouble knowing where to start, here’s my guide to the music side. Now, we have the full daily schedule, so you can be punctual in your beach-side traverse. Study up and start negotiating with your pals how you want to plan your day, based on who they’ve decided they just can’t afford not to see.
4. What should I bring? Feel free to bring your usual beach party utensils. Beware, however, that you might have to modify those assorted tools. For instance, any bug spray or sunscreen you bring must be in a non-aerosol container of 30-ounces or less. Any backpack, bag or purse must be smaller than the dimensions provided on the Hangout website: (no larger than 20″ x 15″ x 13″). You can bring an empty water container, so long as it is one liter or smaller. You can also bring an empty CamelBak or a similarly styled hydration bladder. The guidelines on this are very strict, however. So read Hangout’s FAQ very closely.
Once you get your approved belongings inside the festival grounds, you might need a place to stash them. There’s still availability for locker rentals. For more info, look here.
5. What should I not bring? Aside from bags and bottles larger than the dimensions provided above, the list of things you should not bring to Hangout is fairly long. Let’s get the obvious out the way. Leave the weapons, drugs and drug paraphernalia at home. If you require prescription medication, you must bring it in its original container. You’ll need to provide a photo ID which matches the name on the prescription bottle. The pills in the bottle must match the description on the bottle. If you require over-the-counter medication, the bottle you bring must be factory sealed when you arrive. So, there’s no confusion, leave your vitamins at home, as they are prohibited.
Now, a sampling of the not-so-obvious. Don’t bring any non-permanent structures like umbrellas, tents, flags, flag poles, beach chairs or hammocks. Don’t bring any of your hip, millennial tech toys like selfie sticks, vapes, e-cigs, or drones. Bikes can’t come in the festival grounds, but there’s a place to lock up right out front. Besides that, don’t pull up on your skateboard, scooter, roller blades or go-kart. No glass! No markers, spray paint or glow sticks. No air horns, megaphones, laser pointers, fireworks, water balloons or water guns. No walkie talkies, audio, video or photo equipment (that includes GoPros). You’re not a production assistant. No promotional items, such as flyers, posters, free swag, or any merch you’re trying to hawk off. We understand your brother’s band is cool, but if you’re not a licensed vendor, you’re really going to be a bit annoying. No kites. I don’t know anyone who’d fly a kite, anyway. But, still, no kites! No coolers. No pets, unless you’re authorized for a service animal. There’s a puppy kissing booth on site if you need a dose of cute to boost your spirits in a jam!
That just about covers it all. But, it’d be advantageous to glance at Hangout’s website info, closely, to avoid having your items confiscated at the gate.
6. Can I swim while I’m there? What’s the beach without water? If you sprang for VIP or Super VIP access, there is a pool area near the main stage. But, if you’re feeling like that isn’t authentic enough, there is limited beach access via the Beach Club and a Bud Light promotional entryway.
7. Is there a place to retrieve my lost belongings? There is a Hangout Info Booth for anyone who may have misplaced an item while at Hangout. If you don’t realize you’ve left something valuable, until long after you’re gone, you can email [email protected] to make a claim. Make sure you provide as much information as you can regarding the item you lost, to help festival administrators identify it.
8. Should I bring a ton of cash inside? There are ATMs at the festival. This area could get a little hectic, but it is a quick and easy way to retrieve some fast cash in between events.
9. How do I handle a medical emergency? If you’re having a hard time, or you’re about to take a spill, Hangout recommends contacting nearby available security staff, festival staff or police officers. There’s also a medical tent on the festival grounds. It is located on the festival map, so try and locate it when you arrive, just in case.
10. What should I do with my kids? Well, there are a lot of ways to answer that question. If we’re specifically talking about Hangout, though, I have a couple things you might want to consider. Children under the age of five are admitted for free! However, Hangout will only admit two children to each supervising adult. So, you have a chance to give your tike an awesome memory early in their childhood. You never know, they might tell their grandkids, “I saw DJ Snake that one time.” Also, strollers are permitted, so your little ones can take a ride. Additionally, anyone under the age of 18, is not permitted without a ticket-holding adult.
11. Can I take my wristband off and pass it to a friend, if I’m not interested in going on a particular day? No! Please don’t do that. Those wristbands are equipped with some sort of super-scientific, microchipped gizmo that, if tampered with, will void return entry. Don’t take it off. Don’t say, “Oh, I’m sure if I’m careful I can…” NO! Don’t take it off! You’re not going to be able to hear the awesome music if you do.
12. I’m really having a great time with the person who accompanied me to Hangout. How do I show them my utmost affection? Why don’t you marry them? There’s a wedding chapel right near the beachfront at Hangout. You can either really get married, if you’ve already taken care of the license paperwork, or you can just have the ceremony for fun.
13. Where do I look to get festival updates on the fly? Hangout Music Fest has an app available on your phone. You can follow festival announcements and they’ll even push notifications to you if you need information quickly. The first thing you’ll want to do when you arrive at the festival grounds is activate your wristband with the app, using the instructions given directly to your phone. You can even sync your location to help you figure out where the heck you are and where you’re headed.
14. Are there any other ways to keep up with the action when I’m not on the festival grounds?
If you didn’t spring for tickets this year, or you simply stepped away from the action for a bit, keep your phone close. I’ll be in the middle of the action getting tons of photo and video for AL.com’s SnapChat (@aldotcom). Yep. That’s right! I saved room for a shameless plug. Log on and follow our story. You won’t feel like you’re right there, sure. But, you’ll likely be amused enough by all the festivities to come see for yourself. After all, there are tons of things you’ll only ever see at Hangout Music Fest!