Bright and early, Hangout Music Festival opens its gates for a second day of good music, drinks and fun.
It is day two; everyone prepared their bodies and minds for Paramore and SZA to be headlining the night, but during the day fans enjoyed what Hangout had to offer. The festival started things off strong with all kinds of attractions and activities along with spectacular music sets.
Wenzday and Kidd G opened the stages and delivered energetic performances that got the crowd going. Southern locals put up their hands and sang along to flipturn's set as well. The band was fresh and exited after celebrating their bassist's birthday on Hangout's grounds, and to describe the energy they brought with them would be impossible. Lead guitarist and frontman jammed together constantly and even the drummer found a way to jump up and down on his hit while still playing.
Highly Suspect, Dr. Fresch and COIN grabbed their instruments and started playing by 2PM. After all the fans had time to get food and fill their stomachs with the delicious treats the vendors had to offer, everyone was ready to dance to the music and complete all kinds of side quests. At Hangout Music Festival you could go from kissing a puppy --which they had a special tent for--, to getting married at the on site chapel. There was so much to do besides listening to the groovy music on every stage. There were separate jewelry, clothing and merchandise tents set up by the main street as well as all kinds of local --and not so local-- art vendors. The true cherry on top of the Hangout off-stage experience, however, was the full size ferris wheel and roller skate rink. Seeing your favorite artists perform at the Shein Surf Stage while sitting at the very top of a beautifully lit up Ferris wheel, wind in your hair and the beach just steps away felt like an out of world experience.
The Maine, Big Wild and AJR were next up on the spotlight and all three gifted the fans great sets. In between songs, AJR's lead singer Jack Evan Met, recalled past festival performances where he used to crowd surf around the grounds. Likewise The Maine and Big Wild's tracks were sandwiched intercalated with fun crowd-engaging anecdotes. Long time fans laughed and cried alongside the performers, nostalgia greeting them, and new fans were let into the loop, creating memories that would last a life time. Hangout Music Festival created a place that fostered community and happiness where artists could connect with the crowd in all their favorite ways.
Flume, Sabrina Carpenter and John Summit were the last to give out a show before the headliners rampaged the night. Flume's beats basically forced your limbs to bop around with the vibrations bouncing against the sand, his music impossible not to jump to. Sabrina brought for the masses her signature vintage soft side right right before belting fast paced feminist power tracks into the microphone, all eyes glued to her figure walking around with tall curb-stomping boots. Charlotte Sands and Nostalgix were too blasting good music for their audiences, but it was a couple hours before Paramore and SZA showed their faces and fans were starting to camp out for their favorite of the night, anxious to hear what these legends had in stock.
The lights were dimming, the festival's playlist slowly died down, the crowd cried for Hayley Williams, Zac Farro and Taylor York. It was time for Paramore to face the music. To say that Paramore delivered a breathtaking, memory-binding, timeline-changing set of songs would be an understatement. The band, after coming back from what many thought was an official break up, was brought on stage by Hangout Fest and visited old sounds that fans swore were buried under tombstones. All of their classics were played, including "Misery Business" and "Still Into You"— the latter of which Hayley Williams dedicated to the old Paramore they had built as kids. People cried and lifted their phone lights and lighters to The Only Exception, and then danced uncontrollably to their last album's hit This Is Why. Paramore's show at 2023's Hangout Music Festival has without a doubt started a new era for the band, and everyone standing underneath Shein Surf Stage that night was there to witness it.
To close the night, nothing less than queen of modern R&B herself, SZA stepped on stage. She pulled out every trick possible in her bag, the production value of her set going far beyond anyone's imagination. SZA's dedication to her craft is superior to majority of performers out there, she knows what she's doing, she's a virtuoso in her vocation; watching her set, hearing her songs live, it altered brain chemistries and inspired many. After a few songs, she admitted to the crowd how she thought about cancelling her set at Hangout, her physical health had not been in great conditions, but seeing the audience as alive as it had ever been for her and her music had made the struggle way worth it. The fans' beaming support and passion for her music being overwhelmingly uplifting; contagious.
Two days down, one to go. Hangout Music Festival has given its attendees a perfect day two, and with Skrillex and Calvin Harris on the line up for day three, everyone is buzzing with eager anticipation.
Want to catch the rest of WEGL's Hangout Fest coverage from this weekend? Check out the links to our other recaps below!