TVD Live: Hangout Music Fest, 5/17–5/18

This year marked our return to the Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama, after two years, and man, what an anniversary it was. We spent three days drinking bottomless cocktails on the beach and watching some legendary acts, all in the name of journalism. So, let’s get on with it—here are our Hangout Highlights from this past weekend. 

Friday’s festivities were sweaty blurs of hip-hop crowds and lots of smoke in my lungs, but it was the ideal way to kick off a music festival on a beach with top-notch performances. I ended up (accidentally) starting my day off seeing Wiz Khalifa while relaxing in a hammock to the left of the stage. The audience was really pumped to see the show, and the overwhelming smell of weed blowing by the flower headband-adorned crowd in the ocean breeze was evidence enough of it. Wiz was introduced by Sway and his wife Amber Rose, who got an equally loud reception to Khalifa himself.

He performed a mix of his best-known songs, throwing in some Martin Garrix remixes before closing out the show with a performance of “23” sans Miley Cyrus. I was a little disappointed she wasn’t a surprise guest for the event, but it was an energetic set and got the crowd going.

Gary Clark Jr. played the main Hangout Stage at the festival and really, really delivered. His performance was being talked about backstage in the media area for hours after he had gone off. They have a point. He set the bar incredibly high for the festival, and he wasn’t even the night’s headliner.

His performance was captivating and exuded a confidence that only comes with time and genuine appreciation for the craft. He let his guitar shine and impressed everyone within the vicinity of the grounds. Be on the lookout for GCJ becoming your favorite festival act soon.


I was scrambling to fight my way between seeing Gary Clark Jr. and Donald Glover’s incredibly talented rapper alter ego Childish Gambino and managed to catch quite a bit of both sets. Donald played one of the smaller side stages, but that didn’t stop thousands of people crowding the area, making the stage almost impossible to see.

There are many sides to a Childish Gambino performance: sultry, smooth, and a little emotional, or incredibly amped with nonstop energy. Gambino is a mastermind, as we’ve all learned, and managed to deliver a solid performance balancing the two sides of the coin. He performed songs from Because The Internet and Camp, pleasing new and old fans as well as those Community fans just seeing what the buzz was all about, and he made us all swoon while doing it.


Friday night closed out with The Black Keys performing all their greatest hits, as well as songs from their recently released album Turn Blue. The Black Keys always put on a great show and are always a fan favorite. Thousands of people crowded around the stage to dance and sing along to “Gold On The Ceiling” and “Howlin’ For You,” and most even knew the words to recent single “Fever.”

Auerbach shredded, while Carney gave 100% energy into making us feel the pulse of the drums in our chest from the speakers. The Black Keys are always a safe bet to ensure festival goers have a good time, and they didn’t disappoint us this year as headliners.


Saturday’s shows led me down memory lane, and the only proper way to share our experience is through video. The day started with our favorite Nashville rocker friends in Diarrhea Planet, who had the most fun and energetic performance that we saw the entire weekend.

They ran through all the favorites from the Aloha EP, Loose Jewels, and I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, prompting fans to crowd surf on inflatable donuts and rage under the hot Alabama sun. They closed the set with their most notable hit, “Ghost With A Boner,” while jumping into the crowd, riding floats and slinging guitars. We wouldn’t expect anything less. Check out the boys of DP at Bonnaroo this year as well.

My personal favorite performance of the whole festival came unexpectedly with The Killers. I haven’t actively listened to The Killers since I was in high school, and the live performance was like a step back in time, inspired by “When You Were Young,” “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine,” and the night’s closing song, megahit “Mr. Brightside.”

Brandon Flowers is one artist who knows how to command a stage and audience and looks about the same as I remembered him from 2005. The audience was obviously feeling the same throwback emotions from the performance as it sang along to almost every song and swayed along to the music with closed eyes. The show ended with fireworks and left me full of pleasant vibes at the end of the night, despite The Killers having ended their set at 10:30—a whole 30 minutes less than what was scheduled.

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Sunday’s itinerary was a little mismatched, but the most fun of the weekend. The acts I caught mellowed the festival attendess out and let us relax on the sandy shores before preparing for the big headliner of the weekend, Outkast.

First up on the list was Bastille. The performance drew a massive crowd at the second biggest stage of the festival. Frontman Dan kept the audience riveted throughout the performance, jumping into the crowd at faster-paced tunes and holding everyone’s attention at the slower jams. The ocean breeze was an added bonus for the performance, leaving us in a relaxed state for the rest of the festival. Their big hit “Pompeii” was a spectacle to behold as the crowd sang and danced along in the sand. Bastille is a pretty ideal beach band, and I hope we see more of them on the festival circuit later down the road.


The Avett Brothers simply delivered. Their set was full of energy and kept the crowd amped with Scott and Seth’s unique style. They covered songs from all the records in their catalog, including a very moving rendition of “Pretty Girl from Chile,” and I got a chill up and down my spine when they closed with “I And Love And You” as the entire beach sang along with every note.


Outkast closed out the night to the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen for any musical event. You could feel the excitement from the shores as we all anticipated the return of the “ATLiens” on stage. Before their set, I was handed a rose and shot of rum by an inebriated VIP attendee going around spreading the Outkast love, so I knew it would be a great night.

Shortly afterward, Andre 3000 and Big Boi hit the stage, and we all lost our minds. Opening with “B.O.B” and closing with “The Whole World,” the duo performed hits spanning over 20 years of recordings. I’m not even going to lie—I lost control of myself during “Kryptonite” and “Hootie Hoo,” but the crowd pleaser came with the first note of “Hey Ya.” I didn’t know there were so many ways to shake it like a Polaroid picture, but I spilt my beer while trying to find out, and I’m okay with that.

In short, the Outkast reunion was the most fun I’ve had at a music festival, and I am so happy I was able to see them live on their 40-stop festival tour. 


Thanks for the fun times, free drinks, and late night dance offs, Hangout Festival. We’ll definitely be back again next year to the coolest, most relaxing festival out there.

All photos and videos courtesy of our friends over at MTV.

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