By: Shayla Lee
I am still finding sand in random places and can’t get rid of my awkward back tan line from wearing my fanny pack but unfortunately, Hangout is over and I have to wait until next year to do it all again. I went in with little/no expectations for this festival and I completely fell in love with it.
If I could describe Hangout in three words I would say it’s the perfect beach festival. It truly felt like I was on vacation and there happened to be amazing live music at the same time. Vacation AND music?! Can’t go wrong with that. Food trucks galore, cool brand activations, a ferris wheel, roller skating area, an outdoor chapel to get married… you name it, Hangout had it.
If you know me you will know how much I hate wearing shoes. Every time I travel somewhere there is always at least one situation when I walk barefoot even though I probably shouldn’t be. Shoeless in downtown Sydney? Check. Leaving Reading Festival in the dirt? Check. Random gas station in Mississippi? Check. I find shoes restricting so anytime I don’t need to wear them I’m instantly more comfortable. Since Hangout is on the beach, I didn’t have to wear shoes AND I didn’t have to worry about getting random skin diseases so it was bliss. Aside from not needing shoes, the ocean played as the perfect backdrop, the sunsets were insane, and it didn’t get cold at night.
I was lucky enough to be on media for this festival which meant I had access to the VIP areas. Since I have done GA at every other festival I’ve been to, I am always skeptical of the VIP perks and accept the fact that I will have to wait a little longer in lines and use porta-potties for three days. Hangout changed my perception.
POOLS. INDOOR BATHROOMS WITH NO LINES. FREE WATER BOTTLES. ROOM TO DANCE. I camped out for Halsey for about an hour and a half and when I got to the VIP area I was the first one there. In GA, there was already about 25 rows of people. I ended up being right at the front beside the exit row and I ended up having a meter around me to dance. I swear I made eye contact with Halsey a few times and it was incredible. This wouldn’t have been possible in GA unless I waited at least 3 hours.
I remember when the lineup for this festival dropped I sent it to my friend because I thought it was so great. Being able to actually have the opportunity to go and see some of my favorite artists was amazing!
On Friday I saw full sets of BANNERS, Tash Sultana, Oh Wonder, Cold War Kids, and The Killers. After seeing Portugal. The Man at Coachella, choosing between Oh Wonder and Portugal was a struggle but I ended up choosing Oh Wonder. After their set, I was able to catch the last few songs of Portugal so it was all worth it. The Killers are one of my favorite bands (I even gave up drinking coffee so I could afford to go to their concert) and they killed it again. They opened up with ‘Mr. Brightside’ and everything was right in the world.
On Saturday I saw full sets of Amy Shark, Bleachers, and Halsey. I also caught the end of AWOLNATION. Halsey was a religious experience and I don’t think I have ever danced harder. I’m not a huge fan of the Chainsmokers’ music but I will be the first to admit that ‘Roses’ is a great song. It was one of the first songs they played and right after I ran to St. Vincent and got to watch the rest of her set. Best. Decision. Ever. She absolutely killed it.
On my last day, I saw full sets of MANSIONAIR, Whethan, and Foster The People. I also made my biggest mistake on Sunday. After Foster The People, I split up with my group and decided to see ODESZA in VIP because I couldn’t be around people anymore after almost being trampled on. I had about an hour before ODESZA so I walked around the festival for a bit, bought another Mexican bowl, found two really good spots to shoot from, everything was great. 8 pm rolled around and I noticed that the VIP area was still basically empty. Maybe this crowd isn’t into ODESZA?
8:15 rolls around which was their slated set time. Nothing. I spend another 10 minutes waiting before it dawns on me that I am at the wrong stage. I RAN to the Beach Stage but I wasn’t allowed into the VIP area because it was full. Trying to maneuver around thousands of people trying to get a decent spot was difficult and I was not successful. I gave up after about 15 minutes and watched the rest of their set from behind the sound booth. If you ever have the chance to see ODESZA live, figure out what stage they play at, triple check, and be there on time because their show is absolutely amazing.
I want to thank you every person who helped put on this festival, thank you to the two girls who picked me up from the NOLA airport when my original ride ghosted me, and thank you to the amazing girls I stayed with! Until next year Hangout 🤙