GULF SHORES, AL -- FULL DISCLOSURE: Sunday, day three, was why I came to cover Hangout Fest. I planned on coming just to see Chance the Rapper. To me, everything else was just icing on the cake, sprinkles on ice cream, syrup to pancakes. I’m hungry.
So with that being out there, I planned on staying near the front of the Surf stage, where Chance was playing, until he went on stage. My plan was to watch Lil Yachty, DJ Snake, and Chance. However, DJ Snake had something happen and could not make the festival. So instead of Lil Yachty going on first, they moved him to DJ Snake’s timeslot.
But they did not announce the schedule change until five minutes before Lil Yachty was scheduled to go on. AKA, people were upset. These fans (including myself) were waiting for hours and hours and then they are told to wait another two hours! In my best Trump voice, “SAD!” But this gave me time to catch the tail end of Shaggy. So, sad for them but not so sad for me.
I got to Shaggy in just enough time to hear the climax of his career, “Wasn’t Me,” and grab some pork chops in the media tent. Also, got to catch an intense game of ping pong between Paul Klein and Jake Goss of LANY. Good times.
FINALLY after lounging by the pool watching Lukas Graham, I was able to go and watch everything I never realized I needed.
I was a Lil Yachty hater. Self-proclaimed. But now I have seen the light. Never have I been to a show where the artist had more fun than when Lil Boat took the stage. His DJ warmed up for a good 15 minutes and finally there he was. Donning a SUPREME brand penitentiary suit and signature bright red hair, doing a chuck berry impersonation. The crowd lost it.
He was everywhere. At one point he walked through the crowd to the sound booth and found himself on a platform lift. And he wasn’t just everywhere physically. Musically, he performed his friends songs too, like Lil Uzi Vert’s, “XO TOUR Llif3”. But there was a point in the show where it all changed.
Yachty hopped on the shoulders of his security guard and demanded that the crowd go crazy when the beat dropped for the next song. I cannot even recall what song it was because the aftermath of that beat dropping was too much. People were throwing everything they could into the air. I saw shoes, hats, backpacks, glasses, each other, shirts, water bottles, and I even saw a couple of pizza boxes go flying.
but it wasn’t enough
“Y’all gotta do better than that,” he says into the mic, “I’m going to keep playing this song until y’all go crazy for real.” And so we did it again, and it got crazier. Lil Yachty is headbanging, still on this man’s shoulders, and the crowd is throwing the same things, just way more of them. Luckily, the second time was the charm. I don’t know that I would have survived round three. But all good things must come to an end and Lil Yachty’s time finally ran out. Next up, Chance the Rapper.
This was why I came. To see the rapper named Chance. He tweeted out that he was so mad about not being able to play Hangout Fest a few years ago due to sickness and that tonight’s show would make up for that. Good, I can’t wait. I mean let’s get this thing started like now.
We waited and waited in the crowd for an hour and a half (which is nothing compared to the people who got to the stage at one o’clock) and right at 7:18, there he was. Signature Chanc3 hat in khaki, the new Penny’s, and a shirt that read: “The hardest job in America is being a black man.” The crowd lost it, fireworks exploded from the stage and the sounds of, “Mixtape,” came through the speakers.
“I want this to be an experience, y’all,” Chance told the crowd, “if you’ve been following me you know I’m on a journey. I’m trying to get to heaven and take you with me.”
He was right, this show was unlike any other I’ve ever seen. It was a combination of “everything is about me right now and I’m going to put on the best show I can,” and, “I’m not gonna forget the people that got us here.” He introduced the social experiment, performed songs from the Donnie Trumpet mixtape. When he introduced his team, though, it was like his family. I’ve seen so many artists introduce their band before, but this was emotional. We may have paid to see Chance the Rapper but he was not going to let us forget who he came with.
It is very rare to see an artist as transparent as Chance, too. He filled us in on his personal life, his faith, and his late aunt. But not so we would feel some sympathy for him, but because he feels that type of connection with his fan base. He even shared two new songs that have yet to be released.
Chance played through the entire Coloring Book album and then some. Everyone knew every word, too. He went through an entire arsenal of stage fireworks and brought the best out of his entire band. I could not even write about Mumford & Sons because I was still amazed by his performance. The only thing I can recall from the rest of the night is the Hangout Fest sound team playing, “Sweet Home Alabama,” over the loud speakers as everyone left—which was the most fitting thing ever (I mean seriously that’s a no brainer).
So there it is (or was). Hangout Fest 2017 is in the books. I don’t know what could top it for me, so I’m excited to see the lineup for next year. I still have sand in my backpack, too.
Photo credits: @AustinWho