The evolution of the concert festival experience has taken another step, in the sand. The Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama last weekend clearly raised the bar in ways that other festivals will be scrambling to match.
A festival on a beach is exactly what you might imagine - relaxed, spirited, and an ultimate combination of the most popular recreational activities. There were also many nice touches to Hangout that transcended its location. Although it was sold out weeks in advance, it was not oversold. Food lines were manageable and the walks between stages - while long - were never particularly harrowing.
The lineup was arguably as good as any festival this summer, with a nice mix of electronica, indie rock and jam bands. VIPs were treated to head-spinning amenities like an actual swimming pool with a full view of the stage. The headliners - Widespread Panic, The Foo Fighters and Paul Simon - did exactly what Headliners should do. They each created a daily highpoint that appealed to diverse tastes.
HeadCount actually surveyed the crowd as to which band they were most excited to see. As a testament to how well the lineup was chosen, it was fairly evenly spread among the headliners and the rest of the lineup. Here are the results from a poll of 570 Hangout festival attendees:
What performer are you most excited to see?
• Foo Fighters - 16%
• Widespread Panic - 22%
• All of them! 17%
• Other! I'm into ___ - 18% (My Morning Jacket and the Black Keys were popular choices!)
That's not all we asked. The Hangout marked the official kickoff of our "Fan DNA Project," a poll about music and politics that we'll be conducting at festivals and shows all year.
We believe that before anyone asks for your vote, they should ask what you think. So with the Presidential election a year away, we put together the first poll specifically asking music fans what they think about the world around them.
The results will reveal our political and musical DNA, especially when we compare them from different festivals and tours.
At Hangout, we learned some interesting things, including:
- There were more Republicans than Democrats
- Nearly two thirds of attendees said this country is "messed up, and we better do something about it."
- More than half the crowd said they are inspired to take action when a musician speaks out on a cause or issue
- Exactly half the people we polled said they never "Like" or "Re-tweet" something related to politics, while half said they did
Here are the results to all the questions we asked.
How many concerts do you see a year?
• 1-4 - 27%
• 5-10 - 25%
• 11-25 - 24%
• more than 25 - 24%
When acquiring new music, which do you do MOST often?
• Buy mp3s online - 27%
• Get live shows from friends - 23%
• Buy physical copies (CDs/Vinyl) - 17%
• Let's just say I don't pay for it -33%
Do you consider yourself a:
• Republican - 25%
• Democrat - 18%
• Libertarian - 15%
• Independent - 25%
• None of those - 17%
What do you think about the state of America today?
• It’s not so bad - 15%
• We've got problems, but what can we do? 19%
• It's messed up and we better do something - 65%
• I don’t really think about it - 1%
How do you feel when a musician supports a cause or speaks out?
• It inspires me to take action - 53%
• I think it’s cool, but I don’t take action - 34%
• No impact. I ignore it. - 9%
• It annoys me 4%
Which issue(s) do you care about most?
• Sustainability and climate change - 22%
• Personal liberty - 39%
• Human rights - 45%
• Food and farm policy - 15%
• Gulf coast recovery - 8%
• Education reform - 21%
How often do you “Like” or “Re-tweet” something related to politics?
• Almost every day - 10%
• Once a week -20%
• Once a month -11%
• A few times a year - 8%
• Rarely or never - 50%
What is MOST on your mind these days?
• Work, school or paying the bills - 52%
• Music and upcoming shows - 22%
• Friends, romance or family - 25%
• The crazy $&%# on the news - 1%
We want to thank everyone who took the poll at Hangout, or registered to vote or wrote a letter to Congress at our booth. We also want to extend a HUGE thank you to our hosts at Huka Entertainment and Music Allies, as well as Grace Potter, Dave Schools, and our favorite new supporter Meredith Ezzell. (We were given the opportunity to auction some tickets and meet and greets, which covered the costs of our entire trip to Hangout!).
There were many highlights for us at Hangout, but I think one of our volunteers summed it up best. She said, "I had a great first experience with HeadCount. I just loved talking to people and finding out what they thought about things." That's what the Fan DNA Project is all about. Look for it soon at Sasquatch, Summer Camp, Bisco Inferno or a show near you.