Review: 10 festival cliches we saw at Hangout Music Festival

Let's breakdown 10 festival cliches we saw at Hangout Festival, and the sets we saw them during.

Since 2010, Gulf Shores, Alabama has played host to one of the more wild and anticipated parties in the south, Hangout Music Festival.

Each year, Hangout Music Festival starts the summer festival slate with a wide variety of genres, from alt-rock to rap to the top names in EDM. Outside of the larger budget festivals like Bonaroo, Lollapalooza, and Coachella, Hangout's lineups have always stood out as some of the top in the country. When Hangout dropped its 2017 lineup last fall, it appeared that it would continue this impressive run. Mumford & Sons, Twenty-One Pilots, Chance the Rapper and the incredibly elusive Frank Ocean were slated for headlining spots, with the lower bill featuring 2016/2017 breakout stars like DJ Marshmello, Jersey-based rapper Russ, and EDM staple Major Lazer.

The wide variety of music and unique headliner selection grabbed the attention of music fans all over, and the festival continued its success by selling out the 40,000-plus person event.

Hangout promised to be a can't-miss weekend — until a month out, that is. After cancelling his Sasquatch! Music Festival performance earlier in the week, Frank Ocean pulled out of his Hangout set due to "production delays," without further explanation. The festival did its best to replace him, adding Phoenix less than a month out, but the blow was still felt by those who were clamoring to see the two-time Grammy-winner.

With the cloud of his cancellation looming, festival organizers must have been queasy as they watched the weather forecast call for actual clouds, and rain during each of the three days of its eighth annual run. Nevertheless, fans coasted down to the northern tip of the Gulf to see what Alabama had to offer them.

After three days of rain, sweat and in some cases tears, we've listed 10 festival cliches we saw this weekend and the sets they happened at:

High-school girls crying:

One of the more common themes of the weekend was the procession of noticeably younger girls racing around, red faced and hysterical. While not an uncommon sight at a festival, we felt the need for further investigation after three days of witnessing what looked like patrons fleeing theaters after watching The Notebook. While making my way to the Hangout stage to see Mumford & Sons, a visibly shaken (and inebriated) girl shuffled by me. When reached for comment, however, the most elaborate response she could manage was, "I just can't," before storming off into the festival ferris wheel line.

Fortunately, most of the fans in the area were happily enjoying the live music from the top billed act Mumford and Sons. The UK folk-pop guys treated fans to songs from both the older albums and their latest Wilder Mind LP, as well as their notoriously high energy stage presence. For fans that opted for the live band over the newly popular Marshmellow were not disappointed.

Guy with an inflatable unicorn head: By the time I ran back to Hangout's Boom Boom Tent stage to catch Marshmello's anticipated festival-closing set, the crowd had easily spilled out from under the tent and flooded back to the concession stands across the concourse. As I was shuffled in by the swelling crowd, my line of sight was blocked by a large inflatable unicorn head. The shirtless, chubby-wearing patron took no notice of me and as the set began continued to parade the unicorn in the air along with the beat drops.

When I retreated to a less unicorn-heavy section of the crowd, I got to take in the endorphin-frying set of a DJ donning a marshmallow helmet. Hosting the closing set of a festival is usually an honorary position, and Marshmello did not disappoint. He ran through remixes of the chart topping singles "Alone" & "Ritual", set to a spastic assault of lights and smoke cannons. Fans were graciously left breathless after three days of rain-soaked fun.

Cancelled sets:

Unfortunately, cancelled set appearances are part of festival life. However, after such a high profile cancellation from Frank Ocean, most fans probably felt they were safe from losing any more big names.

This would prove wrong, as fans phones began to vibrate with notifications from the Hangout app notifying them that DJ Snake's 4:45 Surf stage set had been cancelled, and that Lil Yachty's set time had been moved in its place.

After a little more digging, it appears that the cancellation may be correlated to the lawsuit the DJ is currently facing over the viral hit song "Turn Down For What." After news broke of the cancellation, the DJ also deactivated both his Twitter and Instagram accounts and has since been mute on the subject.

Lil Yachty being Lil Yachty:

On Saturday afternoon, I stood patiently in the wet, Bud Light-riddled sand while waiting for the oft-critcized Lil Yachty. As the man in an over-sized bucket hat next to me swayed back and forth, he confided to me (for almost an hour) about his long-time love for the man responsible for "killing hip-hop." Just when it appeared times could not get any more dire, Lil Yachty came running on stage in a teal-blue Supreme jumpsuit. Unfortunately for the high energy, red-braided Atlanta 'rapper', mic issues paired with his already ear numbing, nasally voice left many fans wondering what he was trying to mumble in between trying to get the crowd to "turn up."

Men wearing rompers:

Perhaps the worst thing to happen to men's fashion since Crocs, men's rompers made a startling appearance at this year's Hangout Festival. While a contained phenomena, I witnessed a group of men during the Dillon Francis set all donning the controversial one-pieces. Regrettably, we did not get a photo, in large part due to the pull Dillon Francis' show had on everyone's attention. The quirky, LA-based DJ reminded fans why he was closing out the Friday slot.

With an at times comical light board display behind him, Francis dished out an electrifying run of remixes, from fan favorite 'Get Low' to his recent successful remix 'Need You.' Before jetting off to an Edmonton performance the next day, Dillon Francis got the most out of a crowd that was spent from a day of travel and partying in the sun.

click to enlarge Hangout's Boom Boom Tent was a constant party over the three-day weekend - LJ Hilberath
LJ Hilberath
Hangout's Boom Boom Tent was a constant party over the three-day weekend

The guy with the aux chord playing 'HUMBLE':

From the moment Compton rap icon Kendrick Lamar dropped 'DAMN.', the lone single off his album DAMN., it has been a viral sensation. From the grungy, Mike-Will-Made-It produced beat to it's anthemic chorus, the chart topper was the first rap song to hit #1 on the Billboard 200 since 2010 and has been sending fans into moshed frenzies since its debut March 30. Over a month later fans still can't get enough, a fact that wasn't lost on Hangout's DJs. Whether it was in between performances or during the explosive Cheat Codes set, the song made constant appearances throughout the weekend. It shared this distinction with Migo's "Bad and Boujee" and Lil Uzi Vert's "XO Tour Lif3', which were also heard often.

People attempting to crowd surf on pool raft:

A common theme of Hangout Music Festival over the years has been it's emphatic use of pool floats in the pit areas close to the stage. Whether it's giant inflated alligators or food items like doughnuts or eggs, the fun and beach enthused spectacles add the party atmosphere of Hangout. Some people however, saw the floats less so as props as they did transportation.

Exhibit A: Girl who attempted to ride an inflatable unicorn during the Nghtmre set. In her defense, she wasn't alone. Dozens attempted to climb aboard the rafts as they made their way through the crowd. Before security reclaimed the majority of the rafts, one emphatic fan ignored warnings from security to de-board the float. Unfortunately for her, the inflated mystical beast bucked her from the saddle and sent her down to the sand head first (here's what that looks like).

The excitement of this did not take away from the show going on on stage, as newly popular trap DJ Nghtmre hosted one of the more exciting day performances of the weekend. Check out his latest remix above, which samples Travis Scott's 'Goosebumps.'

Frat guys fighting, then crying on each other:

While the late spots Sunday were held down by Mumford and Marshmello, the sunset set was hosted by the contagiously good-natured Chance the Rapper. Lil Chano has had quite the past year, taking home multiple Grammys for his album/mixtape Coloring Book and achieving mainstream, radio success. Whether it was his charming ad campaigns, feature on Kanye's 'Ultralight Beam' or '3' hat series, the Chi-town gospel enthused rapper has been all but unavoidable. His pleasant demeanor and good-spirited music was lost, however, on the group of Alpha-something-something's that were posted up in front of me.

While it was immediately unclear why the were fighting (most likely due to competing scooter size or stress caused by the unnecessarily small tank tops they were wearing) security plodded through the sand to contain the situation. As security calmed the group and the two of them began to hug it out with blushing, tear-covered faces, Chance made his way to the packed Surf stage.

For those clamoring to see the gospel aspect of Chance's music, the show was just that. While playing the primarily songs from Coloring Book, Chance also did gospel renditions of 'Cocoa Butter Kisses', 'Ultralight Beam', and 'Waves.' The ballad-y nature of the songs left the crowd dazed at times, in particular when he tried to conduct fans into singing the song "Finish Line'. 

About The Author

LJ Hilberath

Franz “LJ” Hilberath is a Clearwater-native who contributes to Creative Loafing's Music section. He previously served as an intern and is now a freelance contributor for all things music.LJ can be found in the field reviewing concerts and music festivals around the country, and also works interviews for both local...
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