While the idea of a festival on the beach is exciting and fun, running back and forth through the sand to catch sets is not. Luckily Hangout Music Festival offered some of the best food for fans to refuel and get back to the music (and alcohol). Typical fair food like pizza, burgers, corndogs, and funnel cakes were abundant throughout the festival. But after looking for a few extra minutes, there were plenty of hidden gems to get your snack on at. Tacos and Asian-fusion bowls were popular (and delicious!) The best food, however, came from the street lined with food trucks upon entry, and the Humpty Dumplings Truck should be crowned King of Hangout Festival for the all of the goodness they were serving up in little, flavorful pouches.
As Sunday (Day 3) came around, the energy of the festival was through the roof. It was clear that everybody was looking to go all-out on their last day on the beach. Alice Merton kicked off the final day with an exceptional performance, including her radio hit “No Roots”. It seemed like radio-friendly artists were the ones to watch on Sunday as Max with “Lights Down Low”, AJR with “Weak” and NF with “Let You Down” all packed their respective stages. Alternative music was not to be outdone though, with Hippo Campus, Foster the People, and Grouplove all delivering too. But it was classic-rock inspired music that drew the biggest crowds of the day. The Struts and Greta Van Fleet absolutely PACKED their stages. Festival organizers must not have expected the turnout for GVF as their crowd spilled off to the sides of the BMI mermaid stage and onto the road adjacent to it.
Check out some footage from Hangout Music Festival 2018!
Arguably the most anticipated performances of the day were SZA and Kendrick Lamar, and both were unforgettable. SZA performed the majority of her breakout record CTRL and the crowd loved it, singing along to every word. She explained to the audience that the tour she was currently on was taking a toll on her voice, but it barely evident. Performing with a live band made the set more intimate and personal, as opposed to some big production that pop-stars put on. It was just about SZA and her songs, which was perfect. Nobody could even tell that her outfit was a slight disaster with camouflage pants and a patterned top. But then again, she is SZA and she can do whatever she wants and somehow still look beautiful doing it.
Kendrick Lamar is close to, if not the best solo performer of this age. He has a way of taking control of the stage and holding the audience’s attention as they linger on every word. With or without his extreme stage production, Kendrick puts on a show that people will remember forever. Cycling through both old and new tracks, Kendrick pleased the long-term and newer fans with selections from DAMN. all the way back to 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city. He even brought out tour mate and fellow TDE artist Jay Rock for a few songs from the Black Panther soundtrack, which Kendrick produced.
The highlight and low point of his set came as he invited fans on stage to perform “m.A.A.d. city” with him, in front of thirty thousand people. First was a man named Rohan, and it was clear both the crowd and Kendrick were skeptical about what was going to happen. But as soon as the beat dropped Rohan lost it and WENT IN on the song, not missing a single word. It was jaw-dropping to see a kid who had no experience performing put on a show the way Rohan did. After he had finished, Kendrick decided he wanted a girl to try it, and invited Delaney on stage. She was confident (and slightly uncomfortable) but reassured everyone she knew all the words.
And she did...including the n-word. After dropping it twice Kendrick stopped the music and told her (a white girl) that she needed to censor herself and gave her another chance. After Rohan was able to do it, maybe she could too. But she started to fumble immediately to which the crowd booed her off stage. After a short burst of uncontrollable laughter from Kendrick, he finished his set like the powerhouse performer he is. As the night came to a close, the ceremonious fireworks and final playing of “Sweet Home Alabama” of the weekend began. Festival-goers dragged their tired, and mostly drunk, selves out the doors and back home, counting down the days until they returned to one o the most unique and well-put together festivals in the country.