Hangout Fest 2016 started off like every good music festival does- with horrid weather conditions and the fear that you wore the wrong shoes. Things were looking pretty bleak from my hotel window on Friday afternoon around 3 o’clock, with clouds lingering in a sky that refused to reveal the sun. But unsurprisingly, the storm was only teasing, and it disappeared just in time for Day 1 of Hangout Fest to commence with only minor changes to an exciting schedule.
Friday was filled with cool performances, great food, and unexpected run-ins with performing artists. Borns, Hippie Sabotage, Daya, Moon Taxi, Walk The Moon, Alessia Cara, The Chainsmokers, and The Weeknd were only a few of the performers on the first day’s incredible lineup. I watched The Struts while eating a teriyaki chicken bowl from an Asian food stand that was next to the stage. Like, what else did I need? Truly? Maybe for Garrett Borns himself to casually walk by? Well, he did. It was a pretty cool thing to see him and other bands in the crowd that night, enjoying the festival after they had just put on a great show themselves.
Day 1’s performers really offered a solid start to the weekend, and the audience showed their true gratitude by packing out every stage 30 minutes before the artists were scheduled to start. While waiting for Alessia Cara to come out at the AXS stage, Walk The Moon was performing “Shut Up and Dance With Me” around the corner at the Hangout Stage. The crowd was anxiously waiting for one artist while singing at the top of their lungs (and with their happiest voices) the set of another band playing in the distance… I wouldn’t be surprised if Alessia was backstage dancing along too. The Chainsmokers and The Weeknd both held the last time slot, and I was deeply conflicted on who to watch. But who can deny live DJs in their element…The Chainsmokers were incredible, and I heard the Weeknd ended the night right too.
Day 2 brought us performances from X Ambassadors, The Neighbourhood, Cage the Elephant, Leon Bridges, Panic! At The Disco, and almost Calvin Harris, who was unable to perform (but who we all missed terribly and wish a speedy recovery!).
The entirety of Saturday was mind blowingly beautiful- there was a perfect breeze during the day, a purple sky at sundown, and a glowing full moon shining on the ocean by nine. All of the offerings at Hangout Fest were on full display throughout the second day, with Pandora hosting a mini party on the shore, a DJ rave happening in the Malibu tent next to it, and a super soaker battle arena/hippie craft nook crowded with people at the Camp Hangout station.
At the end of the night, Panic! At The Disco stepped up as the main act, and I truly believe that both the band and the crowd had equal amounts of fun during their performance. Lead singer Brendon Urie had to literally stop himself from laughing multiple times mid-verse, and there were massive inflatable pink flamingoes surfing the crowd. When Panic played their awesome cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Urie introduced the performance by saying “We wrote this song backstage,” and then proceeded to send the crowd into a frenzy, per usual.
The final day of the fest wrapped up an awesome weekend with more perfect weather, phenomenal performances, and five-star festival food. The afternoon didn’t waste any time getting started as Fetty Wap had the undivided attention of basically the entire festival before 4 o’clock even turned the corner. The beach was full of sunburnt, exhausted, hungover fest goers, refusing to let anything keep them from enjoying their last day in paradise. Under the shade of a palm tree, I watched HAIM perform and ate an ice-cream cone the size of my forearm. I sat there for a while, watching guys do backflips in the sand and admiring the view of tons of happy people in every direction. But then I heard Lenny Kravitz’s singing “American Woman” across the beach, and off I went, on to the next incredible show. Ellie Goulding and Florence + The Machine wrapped up the performances for the weekend, leaving us with sweet memories of live music and crashing waves.
The weekend was filled with enough space buns and metallic hennas to film a music festival 101 TV series, and I loved it. To me it felt like a bunch of really happy 20 somethings who were truly in love with the long awaited freedom of summer, fully participating in every part there can be of a festival on the ocean. Hangout Fest 2016 surpassed all of my beach music festival expectations. It was beautiful. It was fun. Thanks Hangout, way to put on a show. See you next year!