There are two schools of thought on how to tackle the final day of a music festival. You can (1) Take it easy and rest up a bit. After all, you have a long car ride home the next day and you have to get back to real life. Or (2) go hard. Real life is boring and there is still a few inches of drink left in a handful of those bottles!
If you select option (1), good for ya. I’m mighty proud of you, but we can’t be friends. It is your festival duty to kill it on the last day there. Not to pat myself on the back, but I’m pretty pleased with my day 3 performance.
This is getting a little predictable given my reports from day 1 and day 2, but I started off my morning with a cocktail and a trip to the beach. The weather really held out for Hangout Fest 2014. The temperature never got above 82° and there was never a cloud in the sky. If I had to voice one minor grievance, it would be that the mild weather kept the ocean just slightly chilly. I know, sounds awful, right?
After drying off and reapplying a layer of SPF 1000, I headed into the fest grounds to split by time between the bassy goodness of Mimosa at the Boom Boom Tent and the chill reggae/rock of Soja on the main Hangout Stage. I also took this opportunity to check out some of the festival activities going on around me in the daylight. An artist market lined the road between the two main stages with local and regional sellers displaying an array of custom jewelry, tapestries, handbags and clothing. Carnival rides including a ferris wheel and the “Mega Drop” were also available for thrill-seeking festival goers. The Mega Drop is basically a circular elevator that hoists people up in a harness, holds them up there for about a minute and then sends them in a free fall back to the ground. No thank you. My palms are sweating just thinking about it.
Around 2:30 p.m. I headed over to the Red Bull Sound Select Stage to get a good spot for Le1f. As one of the hip hop acts I was most looking forward to all weekend, I braved the direct sunlight and ended up close to the stage. His DJ started off the set with 3-4 tracks to warm up the crowd. Dropping remixed tracks from Future’s latest record, he had the crowd going well before Le1f even took the stage. When he finally did, it felt like the crowd took a song or two to decide if they were into it or not. They were. While it didn’t seem like the people near the stage for Le1f were familiar with his tracks in a “sing-along-the-whole-time” kind of way, there was still a huge dance party at the Red Bull stage for his hour long set.
From there, it was back to the Boom Boom tent for Boys Noize followed by a strategic stop by the Spicy Pie tent for pizza before getting a good spot for Zedd. In three short years, Zedd has gone from opening gigs and late night sets to headlining main stages across the planet. His set started with his first big single “Spectrum” which segued into a mix featuring other Hangout Fest acts Bastille and Capital Cities. Much like Pretty Lights’ set from the night before, the Boom Boom Tent couldn’t come close to holding the crowd that amassed to close out the tent for the weekend.
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With the weekend come to a close, every footstep in the sand led to the main Hangout Stage to get a good spot for Outkast. Their set followed what we’ve seen from them already on this reunion tour at stops like Coachella and CounterPoint. A two hour set featuring all the hits and plenty of b-sides. The Hangout Fest crowd was treated to guest appearances from Sleepy Brown and Killer Mike during the set and, in addition to Outkast’s hits, both Big Boi and Andre 3000 performed mini-sets of their solo material.
The walk back to the hotels that night was particularly long. The sunburns, sweat and sandy feet was totally worth it to the 40,000 attendants who came to the Gulf for three days of incredible hip hop, electronic music, indie rock and everything in between. Even if we can’t all go back to the beginning of the weekend, there’s always 2015 to get stoked about. This year’s festival sold out a month out, so don’t sleep on it when early bird tickets go on sale!
Kurt is already prepping for the next batch of fests this summer. Find him on Twitter @theactualkurt