Hangout Festival Review

“Excuse our appearance while we throw the biggest beach party ever!”

This was the text from a lone sign that hung on one of the fences at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, AL this past weekend. They weren’t kidding.

Hangout pulled off a festival on the beach just about as well as anybody could. Built around a local restaurant called “The Hangout” and 2 main stages on either end, the festival spanned about a mile of beautiful Gulf Shores white sandy beach. Except for some serious rain on Sunday the festival was a success.

HeadCount’s mission at a festival is always to engage fans and encourage them to be more active in democracy. At Hangout, we had a more specific mission: to raise awareness around the oil spill disaster, encourage fans to write a letter to their Senators about the issue, and raise money for local nonprofit groups working on oil spill recovery.

Several artists including Zac Brown Band, The Black Crowes, John Legend and Trey Anastasio signed donated Peavey guitars and Hangout posters which will be auctioned with the profits donated to local relief groups. HeadCount also teamed up with CauseCast to interview artists and get their perspective on the oil spill.

“We never should have been drilling that deep,” said Ben Harper when we asked for his thoughts on the situation, right before he plugged his new website fuckBP.net which urges people to boycott BP gas stations. Shortly after, during his set he told the crowd about the site and successfully started a “Fuck BP” chant from about 5,000 fans.

Warren Haynes and Grace Potter both stated while BP is at fault for this spill, it’s up to the people to take responsibility and end our dependence on oil.

Over 250 fans wrote a letter to their Senator at the HeadCount booth. Michael Franti mentioned the oil spill several times during his set on Sunday and at one point encouraged the crowd to visit the HeadCount booth and write a letter about it.

Trey Anastasio and his band closed the festival with a 2.5 hour set including a song he specifically wrote for Hangout Festival titled “Sailboat Man.” Like most festivals Hangout closed each night with a massive fireworks display during the headliner’s closing song and it looked a little like this

Look out for interview videos to come…

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