Hangout Music Festival 2011 Report Card

Hangout Music Festival 2011 Report Card

  • Article by: Libby Funke, Photo by: Brian J. Waters of Lightning 100
  • Posted: 05/24/2011

Parking: A

With many of the condos in walking distance and a shuttle transporting everyone else, parking is a breeze and is also relatively inexpensive. If you don’t mind a three-block walk, parking only costs $10 for 24 hours. To park directly across from the festival, $20 will get you the same amount of time.

Local Food: A+

This festival is splendid in that you can come and go as you please. Tired of vendor food? Check out Shrimp Basket, The Steamer and Gulf Coast Grill, all within a block’s walk from the festival and all serving up fantastic fresh seafood daily.

Artist Selection: A

If you can’t find music you like in a festival as far-reaching and diverse as this one, it’s time to check your music barometer.

Festival Layout: B+

The stages were a good distance apart, although trekking through the sand did became a rather exhausting workout by day three. (Luckily, three of the stages were on solid land.) The placement of food vendors did at times create traffic jams that were hard to maneuver, especially when running late to a show. Overall, a constant flow of people could have been better thought out when it came to vendor placement.

VIP Pass: A

It’s worth the extra money, and why wouldn’t you want to watch The Avett Brothers poolside? VIP has several levels to choose from, but all packages include a bar, VIP entrance, VIP areas for cooling off or recharging, private restrooms and food. Upgrades include additional free shows, concierge services and on-site lodging.

Shuttle Service: B-

The reviews on the shuttle service are mixed, and it seems to depend on where you stay. It’s cheap—$20 for the entire weekend—and much better than a taxi service. If you don’t want to take the shuttle, then book early to get a condo within walking distance.

Scenery: A+

The only constant sound between shows is the waves crashing on the ocean. Want to go for a dip? This is also possible if you’re OK with leaving the festival. Added bonus: You can still hear concerts as you are taking a swim.

Communication With the Outside World: D-

Hangout might as well take place on Gilligan’s Island for the phone service it offers. Forget calling friends, texting photos from a show or uploading anything to social networks within a half-mile of the festival. The wireless network gets drowned out in the mess of dropped calls and undelivered texts. But did we mention the beautiful scenery?

Crowd: A

The best crowd of 35,000 people you’ll ever be in. Everyone’s there for the same reason—to see some amazing shows on the beach. Want to bring the family? A kids stage keeps the little ones entertained and occupied.
Weather: A?The weather at this year’s festival couldn’t have been better if it were ordered off a menu: slight breeze, sunny and low humidity. As the weekend went on, the days got warmer, but nothing a cool ocean breeze, an outdoor shower or a cold margarita couldn’t quickly mend.

Locals: C

Local restaurants and shops operated as if it was just another day at the beach. They simply didn’t seem prepared (or adequately staffed) to accommodate the extra 35,000 people. Service was extremely slow and painful at points. And if you want extra booze at your condo, bring it from home. Low selection and stock, long lines, steep prices and extra taxes made going to a liquor store a daunting task.

Ferris Wheel: A

Well worth the $5 view.

Sky Bar: A

With hammocks to lounge in, misters to cool you off, an upper level to take in all the scenery and a bar to boot, the Sky Bar hit the spot.

Overall Grade: A

Only in its second year of existence, the Hangout Music Festival is a tightly run event that never skips a beat. And the best part: You no longer have to choose between a vacation and a music festival.

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