Hangout Music Festival

What’s better than listening to great music on a gorgeous beach? Yeah, we don’t know either. Here’s your guide to Alabama’s Hangout Music Festival.
Amy Bickers

Last year’s first-ever Hangout Music Festival made a splash in Gulf Shores, Alabama, at a time when the Gulf Coast truly needed something to cheer about. This year’s festival, May 20-22, will bring even more cheers as acts including Paul Simon, Foo Fighters, Widespread Panic, and The Flaming Lips fill five stages. A three-day pass is $174, with VIP ticket packages that include special seating (and pool access!) starting at $525. Here, some beach concert basics.

Where to Stay
Some 10,000 condos, beach houses, motel rooms, and hotel rooms are located within walking distance of the festival, which takes place on a wide stretch of sand behind The Hangout, a beloved bar and restaurant that’s been part of Gulf Shores since the 1950s. For a beachside condo less than a mile from the action, check out The Lighthouse Resort or visit gulfshores.com for more options.

What to Wear
You’ll be on the beach, slogging through sand all day, so comfort is key. There’s no need for a bathing suit because access to the water will be closed (so that non-ticket holders can’t pull up on boats and join the fun for free). Opt for a T-shirt and shorts or a loose-fitting sundress.

What to Bring
First off: Don’t try to carry too much. Re-entry to the festival is allowed, so you can come and go throughout the day. Just fill a beach bag with essentials such as sunscreen, sunglasses, photo IDs, a camera, a cell phone, and cash. (Many of the concessions don’t take plastic.)

Where to Cool Off
Retreat from the heat at Hammock Beach, where you’ll find a saltwater lagoon, art exhibits, hammocks, shade, and the Sky-Bar Tower, which has 360-degree views of all the action. Cold beverages are also available at the tower.