Over 35,000 music fans flock to the white sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, AL to the Hangout Music Fest each May. Hangout Fest 2016 is Friday, May 20 thru Sunday, May 22 with a Thursday, May 19 kickoff show featuring Matt and Kim as well as Moon Taxi. Tickets are on sale now!
If you’re looking for a fun beach vacation combined with a music festival, Hangout Fest is the place to go. Along with the lineup, the Nashville Guru team has been lucky enough to attend a few times to provide you with some helpful tips for having a great time at the festival.
2016 Hangout Music Fest Lineup
The 2016 headliners include The Weeknd, Calvin Harris, Florence + The Machine, Alabama Shakes, Ellie Goulding, Lenny Kravitz, Flume, Haim, Cage the Elephant, and many more.
The lineup each year is solid, ranging from huge acts like Foo Fighters to some great, lesser-known acts like the Lone Bellow. Whether you like classic rock, progressive rock, or dubstep, there’s usually something for everyone.
Getting There from Nashville
Gulf Shores is about a 7-hour trip from Nashville, making it one of the closest beaches and easiest drives. The drive is pretty much I-65 South all the way.
Where to Stay
People stay along the coast in condos, hotels, and beach homes, which are usually within walking distance to the Hangout Fest. Your best bet is to look on websites like HomeAway for vacation rentals. Keep in mind, the closer you stay to the fest, the rowdier the crowd. If you want a more relaxing environment, a mile away might be better than next door. Unlike some festivals like Bonnaroo, there isn’t camping within the festival, but there are campgrounds nearby.
This is one of the most unique music fests because it’s on the beach. The popular concerts can get crowded, but you can easily enjoy the open beach area and still hear the tunes. There are also rides, slides, pools (for VIP), and lounge areas when you want to mix things up. The shows are basically from 11:30am-11pm, so you can get a good night’s sleep for the next day’s show.
The people attending the festival range from about 18-34 years old, though there are plenty of older and younger people, too. We saw people in their 80s dancing to dubstep and young children playing in the sand. If you love music, the beach, and good times, age is only a number, right?
The Food & Drinks
There are many vendors inside, along with restaurants like The Hangout, which are accessible from within the festival. You can easily fill up on tacos, pizza, lo mein, or fried pickles within Hangout Fest. We highly recommend Spicy Pie if you like pizza. Budweiser provides the beer. One major perk of VIP tickets — the beer is included. Just like most festivals, you cannot bring coolers or beer into the festival. Nevertheless, bring your koozie because your beer will get hot in the 85-degree heat.
The Weather & What to Wear
The weather is excellent. Sunny or partly cloudy with highs around 85-90 degrees and lows in the mid-60s.
During the day most people wear swim suits, t-shirts, tanks, shorts, and flip flops. We expected to wear long-sleeved shirts at night, but we never needed them. It did get cool, but you can probably make it through the night with short sleeves and shorts.
If you go with the standard 3-day pass and purchase early, you can snag tickets for about $270. If you want VIP or Super VIP, costs are a bit higher — around $1100-$1600. Learn more about tickets and prices.
Hangout Fest Tips
- Bring or rent a bike. Gulf Shores is very flat, so if you’re staying a mile or more away, a bike is your best bet for reliable transportation. Cabs are difficult to get, especially towards the end of the night.
- Get a free ride with Chevy. They have about 20 vehicles providing free rides most of the day (about 11am – 9pm), so flag down one of the marked cars to save your energy.
- Download the Hangout App for your phone. The app is excellent and includes a map, schedule, and more.
- Wear comfortable, light walking shoes. You’ll spend half your time walking on sand and half your time on concrete, decks, or grass. The terrain isn’t always suitable for bare feet. Sometimes flip flops may not be sufficient either.
- Travel at odd times. We hit some pretty heavy traffic leaving Gulf Shores on Monday morning (10am), so plan to stay an extra day or travel at odd hours (or sit in traffic).
Get More Hangout Fest Info
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