Every Moment That Made This Year's Hangout Music Festival Unforgettable
Stepping onto the hot, sandy grounds of day one of this year's Hangout Music Festival, I immediately felt overdressed for the occasion. Glittered-up festivalgoers strolled into the event in droves wearing their tiniest bikinis and swimwear ready to party — I felt like the new kid on the block.
As I was escorted through Hangout, I stared in awe of my enormous beach surroundings that stretched farther than a football field. At any turn, you could find some carnival-like attraction teasing you with a good time, with even more surprises waiting just around the corner. Unlike every other music festival, Hangout's three-day event — held May 20-22 — offered so much more than artists on big stages.
Hangout is best described as a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
Set on the white sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, AL, Hangout is best described as a truly one-of-a-kind experience. In addition to stacked lineups on all six of its stages each day, Hangout takes it a step further with just about every fun-filled outdoor activity you can think of — including a fair, roller disco, mini pools, and, of course, the beach at your disposal. Even with the unpredictable bouts of rain, strong winds, and high tides, Hangout still managed to host an unbelievable weekend lineup.
Rock-star headliners like Post Malone, Halsey, and Tame Impala, plus other big names like Megan Thee Stallion and Jack Harlow, might've been the main draw for most Hangout attendees, but budding talent and stars well in their stride were the real sights to see. On Saturday evening, a suave Leon Bridges graced the humongous Hangout stage with every bit of soul I wanted to hear. His sweet vocals serenaded the lively crowd with old favorites like "C-Side," "Shy," and "Brown Skin Girl" — which he switched to a funky upbeat rendition "for the festival vibe," as he put it. Meanwhile, Mobile native Flo Milli had her very first festival performance in her home state, turning the Boom stage into a full-blown party with bubbly hits like "May I," "Back Pack," and "PBC."
Doja Cat was another anticipated act I looked forward to seeing at the festival, but, unfortunately, the "Kiss Me More" artist had to pull out of her performance just a day before she was scheduled to appear. "Hi guys. I wanted you to hear it from me first. Unfortunately I have to have surgery on my tonsils ASAP," she explained on her Instagram Story on May 20. "The surgery is routine but the recovery is going to take awhile due to swelling. That means I have to cancel my festival run this summer as well as The Weeknd tour. I feel horrible about this but can't wait for this to heal and get back to making music and create an experience for y'all." It would've been great to see Doja live. I can only imagine how epic her set would've been had she had a chance to grace the SMKFLWR Surf Stage.
In between occasionally resting my legs and finding refuge in some cool air, I managed to cover a lot of ground. I saw some of my favorite artists live for the first time ever and enjoyed discovering other acts that I've already added to my playlist rotation. I hope every music-lover gets to experience something as grand as Hangout one day. The only thought I had as the weekend came to a close is that this can't be my first and last time at the festival. Keep reading for more standout moments from this year's Hangout festival.
The Best Performances at Hangout Music Festival 2022
Koffee hit the BMI Mermaid Stage on Friday night with a slight delay in her set, but her performance more than made up for it. The 22-year-old Jamaican artist was greeted by an energized crowd who couldn't wait to jam out to some of her hit songs like "Pull Up," "Pressure," and more from her Grammy-winning EP "Rapture." Accompanied by her fierce band and backup dancers, Koffee kept everyone on their feet for a smooth 40-minute performance that had the crowd begging for an encore — which she happily obliged.
Jack Harlow is another big act who delivered an exceptional performance Sunday night — in the rain, no less. The "First Class" rapper opened his set on the Hangout stage with "Nail Tech" before testing out more songs from his new album, "Come Home the Kids Miss You." "This is an exciting day because I've never performed any of the songs on this new album," Harlow revealed to the crowd. He then treated us to "world premiere" performances of tracks like "Side Piece," "Young Harleezy," "Movie Star," "Poison," and "I'd Do Anything to Make You Smile." To top it off, he even performed his verse from Lil Nas X's "Industry Baby" twice. For a beachside set in the middle of a rainstorm, Harlow didn't disappoint his fans in the slightest.
The Biggest Surprises at Hangout Music Festival 2022
Post Malone closed out day one of the festival as the true rock star that he is. As someone who's never been big on the rapper, he immediately turned me into a fan Friday night. With a red solo cup in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other, I was wary of whether he'd actually deliver a good performance. But his passionate nighttime set eventually convinced me otherwise. "My name is Austin Richard Post, and I've come to play some sh*tty f*cking songs for you guys," Malone announced over the mic, as fans loudly chanted "Posty" back at him. He opened up with an explosive performance of "Wow." before running through more crowd favorites like "Circles," "Better Now," "Saint-Tropez," and his newly released single "Cooped Up" featuring Roddy Ricch. That night, Malone set the stage on fire — quite literally — putting all my doubts about him to rest.
Phoebe Bridgers also offered another unexpected surprise Sunday evening. However, it wasn't her performance that had me at a loss for words, but rather a moving story she shared with fans. "So I had an abortion in October because I didn't want a baby. I didn't even think about it," she said. "I found out I was pregnant, and the next day, I had an appointment. And I still had to walk through picket signs of people screaming at me, and I live in California. So I can't imagine what you guys are going through right now. My heart goes out to you." The "Sidelines" singer recently opened up about her abortion following the SCOTUS's leaked Roe v. Wade opinion, but her message for Sunday's crowd was way more personal than I expected her to be. Following her story, fans gave Bridgers some encouragement as she performed "Chinese Satellite."
My Favorite New Discovery at Hangout Music Festival 2022
After hearing the crowd roar over Maren Morris's set on the Hangout stage on Friday, I went to explore her discography. I didn't expect to be so captivated by the country singer's performance, but her pen is undeniable. Wooing us with songs like "Circles Around This Town," "Nervous," and "Tall Guys" off her latest album, "Humble Quest," I made a mental note to more pay attention to Morris's music. Clearly, I've been missing out.