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Hangout Festival 2024: The Who and What You Missed

Nestled along the shores of the Gulf Coast in Alabama, the 2024 Hangout Music Festival, renowned for being a huge atmospheric annual party, promised three days of music and community and it absolutely delivered. We attended the festival just for you, capturing highlights from each day to share the incredible weekend experience—and to preserve our own memories of a festival well enjoyed.

Before we delve into the festival, painting a picture of its idyllic setting is required. Gulf Shores is a beautiful area, and it’s a spectacular geographic location despite the occasional weather hiccup. The smooth, sandy beaches and gorgeous coastal views are stunning from almost any vantage point and it's safe to say that it's the best way to start the summer.

Inside Hangout, there were plenty of non-music-related attractions, including displays from M&Ms, pools in the VIP areas, a beauty bar, and even direct beach access, to name a few. Shuttles conveniently transported attendees to and from the festival, making it easy to avoid driving (since parking is limited). I was impressed by how efficiently the shuttles managed the large crowds, with minimal wait times. I know that you might think "Who cares? Tell me about Lana Del Rey's set." It might not seem as glamorous as the main stage performances, but trust me, efficient logistics make all the difference, especially under the blazing sun. And hey, we've all heard about Fyre Festival, right?

Day 1:

The day kicked off with a hint of uncertainty in the air, as remnants of the previous night's storms lingered. However The Stews took the stage infusing the sandy festival grounds with their eclectic blend of classic rock, 90s alternative, and blues. Their electrifying performance, punctuated by intricate guitar solos, powerful drumming, and soulful vocals, set a high-energy tone for the day and a high bar for the performances to follow.

Following The Stews, David Kushner brought a soothing contrast with his indie pop gentleness. Mixing well-known hits like "Daylight" and "Skin and Bones" with some fresh tracks, his emotive delivery, coupled with the gentle strumming of his guitar and heartfelt lyrics, made his set a standout moment, providing a much-needed breather for festival-goers amidst the day's excitement.

At the Shoreline Stage, Del Water Gap continued to set a relaxed atmosphere with their introspective indie rock. A lot of swaying, a lot of hugs. A true masterclass of subtlety and emotion. Tracks like "High Tops" and "Ode to a Conversation Stuck in Your Throat" were crowd pleasers, as expected.

Occasional actor, full-time heartthrob, and musician Dominic Fike brought a refreshing blend of pop, rock, and hip-hop to the stage, offering a nice change of pace from the acts we'd heard earlier. While I didn't have strong opinions about his music before the festival, his outstanding set, particularly his hit "3 Nights," left a lasting impression on me. Dominic's charismatic stage presence and eccentric musical style made him one of my favorite discoveries during the festival, if you can use the word "discovery" for an artist who cumulates more than 20 million listeners per month on Spotify only. Shout out to Hangout Festival for catching me up to speed I guess.

Imagine Project X, but set on a beach. The Chainsmokers turned Boom on the Beach (aptly named) into a sun-drenched dance floor with their biggest hits and an impressive light show. The electronic duo's set was a blast, featuring pyrotechnics and a high-energy mix of tracks like "Closer" and "Don't Let Me Down." Whether or not you willfully listen to The Chainsmokers, experiencing their set at a massive beach party felt undeniably good.

Despite a 20-minute delay, Lana Del Rey closed out Day 1 with a mesmerizing set that was well worth the wait. She arrived in true Lana fashion, gliding in on a golf cart from the beach, and instantly drew the crowd in with her signature dreamy vocals and cinematic soundscapes. The stage visuals, evoking the grandeur of an old-school mansion, paired perfectly with her ethereal energy. Dressed in a flowing white dress and glittery cowboy boots, Lana commanded the stage, her presence both haunting and captivating. The set was elevated by surprise guest appearances from Nessa Barrett, Benson Boone, Tommy Genesis, and Jelly Roll, adding layers of excitement and variety.

Lana Del Rey's setlist combined tracks from her latest album with her classic hits, seamlessly blending new material with fan favorites. Her ability to create an intimate, almost magical atmosphere in such a vast space underscored her unique artistry and enduring appeal. By the end of the night, Lana had transformed the beach into a surreal, dreamlike landscape, reminding everyone why she remains a house hold name in the music industry.

Day 2:

Knox kicked off Day 2 with lively indie-pop tunes, quickly reviving the festival spirit despite earlier weather disruptions. Their catchy and good-spirited energetic performance style set a positive tone for the day. Tracks like "We Are Not the Same" and "Blindside" highlighted their talent of engaging the crowd, making for an uplifting start. Knox's vibrant set not only shook off the morning's gloom but also set the stage for a day full of musical excitement.

One of this year's hottest stars, Chappell Roan, delivered a truly memorable performance with her commanding presence, particularly on standout tracks like "Pink Pony Club" and "Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl." The festival grounds, conveniently housing a Pink Pony Pub & Club (deliberately or not?) was quite funny.

The Midwest princess is known to effortlessly blend powerful vocals with deeply emotional lyrics and she did no less than expected. Her voice is an instrument on its own that listens like opera and her confidence and stage theatrics is the ultimate cherry on top. Between songs, she shared heartfelt anecdotes about her journey and inspirations, adding layers of intimacy to her set. Roan's striking stage numbers, paired with her compelling music, and her unique ability to captivate her audience underscores why she’s rapidly becoming one of the most talked-about artists in the music scene today. With her combination of authenticity, talent, and an undeniable charisma, Roan is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with and I’m very excited to see where she’ll be going next.

Now this… this was arguably the best performance of the entire festival. Cage The Elephant's passionate set, featuring hits like "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," "Shake Me Down," and "Come a Little Closer," was a true tour de force. Their performance was punctuated by high-energy antics, including lead guitarist Brad Shultz's spontaneous dip into the VIP pools mid-set. The band's raw intensity and dynamic sound, paired with their immersive stage presence, made this one of the most memorable shows you'll ever witness.

Matt Shultz captivated the audience with his magnetic stage presence, effortlessly leading the band through a setlist that spanned their entire career. They also celebrated the release of their newest album, "Neon Pills," which had dropped just the day before. The blend of old favorites and fresh tracks created a perfect balance, showcasing the band's evolution while keeping the crowd engaged and ecstatic.

This performance was a standout not just for its musical excellence, but for the palpable connection between the band and the audience. It was a must-see experience that left a lasting impression, and I eagerly anticipate the next opportunity to see them live.

ODESZA closed out Day 2 with a cinematic performance that had the crowd on their feet. With stunning pyrotechnics, synchronized drumming, and an incredible light show, their set was a sensory explosion and tracks like "A Moment Apart" and "Line of Sight" showcased them at their best. What really set them apart was their ability to blend their well-known electronic production with live instruments. The visual effects also added to the spectacle, making the whole thing feel like a dream sequence instead of a regular set.

Day 3:

Hemlocke Springs took the stage bright and early, setting an irresistibly cheerful tone for the final day of the festival. As one of our favorite emerging artists here at Tonitruale, Hemlocke Springs, the brainchild of Isimeme Udu, brought her eclectic pop sound to life. Her music defies categorization, bursting out of genre boxes with boundless creativity. It was clear that Hemlocke Springs had a devoted following in the crowd, with fans eagerly gathered in the pit. When she launched into her cult classic song "girlfriend," the energy was infectious—it was just as much fun to dance to live as it is to jam out in your room (maybe even a little bit more). Her performance was a breath of fresh air, overflowing with the quirky charm that defines her project.

Remember that high school crush? Well, All Time Low brought back those nostalgic feelings with their pop-punk anthems like "Dear Maria, Count Me In" and "Weightless." Hailing from Baltimore, these guys showed the South why they've been such a success for so long. Their performance was all about high energy. For that full hour, the festival was completely swept up in their punk sound, making them stand out from the rest of the lineup. Few other acts managed to get the audience moving in quite the same way as All Time Low did which wasn't a surprise to me. Taking a shameless walk down memory lane while jumping up and down? Count me in.

Around this time, Sexxy Redd took the stage, albeit not without a few bumps along the way. Scheduled initially for Day 2 but mysteriously moved to Day 3, perhaps due to the festival's delayed opening, her set left us waiting for a good 20-25 minutes. When she finally graced the stage with her presidential anthem "Sexxy for President," the excitement was there—until a sound issue halted the show after just 15 seconds of the next song. Despite the setback, Sexxy Redd eventually returned and managed to salvage the momentum, delivering a solid set that brought the crowd's energy back up. Yet, it's hard to deny that some of the enthusiasm had dissipated after baking in the hot sun for so long.

Reneé Rapp was undeniably one of my favorites. She's like she's been spoon-fed with stardust—it just radiates from her. Her powerful voice and captivating stage presence made her set an absolute standout, especially with electrifying tracks like "Poison Poison" and "In the Kitchen."

Rapp's delivery, reminiscent of the mean girls era, coupled with her dynamic performance style, had everyone in the audience falling head over heels. What truly set Rapp apart was her ability to connect with the crowd on a personal level. She shared stories behind her songs and encouraged audience participation, leading to unforgettable moments like the collective shout-along during "Poison Poison" when the crowd belted out "I hate that bitch" in unison. Well needed cathartic release. Rapp truly brought the house down (which is quite a feat considering we were outside), leaving the audience clamoring for more and solidifying her status as a must-see performer.

Zach Bryan brought the festival to a poignant close with a heartfelt, soul-stirring performance that seemed very fitting for closure. His emotive lyrics and acoustic-driven sound provided the perfect ending, with the crowd joining in to sing along to favorites like "Something in the Orange" and "Heading South."

As the sun set on the shores of Gulf Coast, Alabama, the 2024 Hangout Music Festival drew to a close, leaving behind unforgettable memories and a profound sense of community. Over three days, the festival delivered a diverse array of musical styles and performances, each one a unique vignette of emotion and passion. From the energetic anthems of Cage the Elephant to the ethereal displays of Lana Del Rey, and the emotional depth of Zach Bryan's closing set, each artist brought their own unique flair, making this festival an exceptional celebration of music. Until next time, Hangout Music Festival continues to inspire and unite music lovers from near and far.

Full Gallery from Hangout 2024:

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