Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama Rules the Beach

When I was a kid, the Hangout in Gulf Shores, Alabama, was where you went to get a hot dog.

Things have changed.

The Hangout Music Festival, set for May 19-21 this year, has morphed into an award-winning, over-the-top beach vacation for music fans. Named “Music Festival of the Year” by Pollstar, Hangout Music Festival has continually ranked as one of the best festivals in the U.S.

The Festival takes place against a backdrop of white sand Gulf beaches

The three-day event sprawls over the white sand Gulf beaches in a setting that includes seaside beach clubs,  stageside swimming pools, a full-size roller rink, hammocks by the water, and an abundance of delicious food. The music pours from the Hangout Stage, the SHEIN Surf Stage, the Boom Boom Tent and pretty much everywhere else.

Since its origin in 2009, the Festival has prided itself on its eclectic array of artists. This year, in addition to the inimitable Red Hot Chili Peppers, the lineup includes Grammy winner Lil Nas X, Grammy-nominated Highly Suspect,  SZA, Calvin Harris, pop-punk favorites Meet Me @ The Altar, and alternative folk artist Daniel Nunnelee. The complete mind-bending list can be found at the festival website and includes international acts like London-based DJ and producer Deeper Purpose and Aussie export Flume.

The Festival’s stages host a mind-blowing array of acts

The music isn’t the whole story. While wandering around the white-sand beaches, festival fans can drop in on a variety of beachside clubs, including the Monster Beach Club, the Corona Beach Club and the Malibu Beach Club, featuring Malibu Rum. The Psychedelic Bus—a classic yellow school bus gone funky– provides a unique backdrop for photos. For those whose sense of fun verges on the extreme, the festival even has a Wedding Chapel. Food options, as diverse as the music lineup, include Asian, Mexican, pizza, burgers, and of course the local seafood.

For those whose tastes run beyond General Admission, Hangout offers  premium VIP and Super VIP admission including a stageside swimming pool, golf cart concierge service between designated stages, gourmet meals by award-winning chefs, and a premium open bar.

This year the festival offers the option of Hangout Beach Vacations with exclusive lodging packages in a range of local hotels and condos. Perhaps the most intriguing option is Hangout House, which features accommodations right on the beach above the SHEIN Surf Stage and includes a private festival entrance into the VIP area of the stage with unlimited re-entry.

For more information visit the festival website at

Photos courtesy Alive Coverage/Hangout Music Fest

Kathie Farnell
Kathie Farnell
Freelance writer Kathie Farnell lives in Foley, Alabama, ten miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, with her husband, photographer Jack Purser, and a flock of cats. She has written travel articles for print and web publications since 1992, and also produces programming for public television and radio through her nonprofit corporation, Artemis Media Project. The couple enjoy exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations and spending time on the Gulf beaches.

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