Complete with a beach backdrop and sand in their toes, 35,000 fans were treated to three full days of music at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, AL.
The festival, set on the beachfront shores of the Gulf of Mexico, had a little something for everyone, including a kid's stage. The festival had five stages which were set far enough apart that the sound didn't compete, but close enough to make a quick trip from one to the other, and showcased a huge variety of bands.
The talk of the early afternoon Friday were Alabama locals, Alabama Shakes. No less than ten people told me I'd missed a great, great show (and I didn't ask).
Some of the late afternoon acts that really rocked were Coheed and Cambria, Paul Oakenfold, and Chris Cornell.
As the sun set, most the crowd relaxed in the sand to the electronic sounds of Wilco. After Wilco's soothing set the crowd was ready to amp it up with headliner Jack White, who opened with a White Stripes hit, "Dead Leaves in the Dirty Ground." From there the hard rocker played a jam from his new album, Blunderbuss. After a solid two-hour set, Friday's festivities ended with a firework explosion as Jack White said good night to thousands of sun-kissed and weary fans.
Those who braved the early afternoon sun on Saturday were treated to Julian Marley, Randy Newman, and Gary Clark, Jr., just to name a few.
I was told that Gogol Bordello (think band-meets-burlesque show) was the most unique show of the weekend by several people.
The energy didn't wane after that as the Flogging Molly dared the crowd to stand still with their fast-paced and infectious music. They opened with "Likes of You Again"and followed it up with another Irish-influenced boot stomper.
Jam band String Cheese Incident played a double set as the sun set on another beautiful day of music on the beach.
With darkness came the funk-influenced sounds of Red Hot Chili Peppers on the main stage. Their two-hour set did not disappoint, proving that after decades of making music, The Red Hot Chili Peppers are still very relevant.
Sunday was a short day for this music lover needing to make the trek back to Atlanta. However, before hitting I-65 and then I-85 North for the manageable six-hour ride, I did catch a couple quick acts.
Young The Giant played to a huge crowd on one of the smaller stages, proving perhaps they are on their way to the big stage soon.
Michael Franti brought peace, love, harmony and the whole crowd together with a show that had thousands moving in rhythm in the hot afternoon sun.
Before hitting the road I was able to catch a short bit of Cage the Elephant, who blew the doors off as usual, and Steve Winwood, who's a surprisingly great live show.
Those who were able to make it through Sunday, were treated to The Flaming Lips and headliner Dave Mathews Band.
Overall, The Hangout Festival is a phenomenal event, I would highly recommend it to music lovers in Atlanta.
It's not too far away and they have vastly improved the traffic issues that they've had in the past.
The organizers speak of commitment to experience and back it up. One example: they spread the event out across the beach this year to make even more room for everyone, but didn't increase the amount of tickets sold.
The Hangout Festival is a unique experience that caters to music lovers of all ages and has plenty to do for kids that tag along as well.
They promise to back next year and to make it even better. I, for one, am anxious to see that. My advice to you, book early and a take a hat and some sunscreen.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.