When the new year began and music festivals started making announcement lineups (just like Christmas- it comes earlier and earlier every year) I made a vow to myself that in 2013 I would only attend major festival events that I have never been to. After three years at All Good, two at Electric Forest, two at Bonnaroo, and one at Wakarusa, Forecastle, and Summer Camp- it was time for something totally new.
I settled on two major events- both of which incorporated specific elements of my favorite festival of 2012, Forecastle. In March I journeyed to the live music capital of the world, Austin, for South By Southwest (SXSW)- one of the industry’s biggest conferences. Like Forecastle, SXSW is an urban festival that utilizes its host city’s existing infrastructure. Factor in the Texas weather (sunshine and high 70’s all week), vast genre and geographical representation, and the extensive personal networking opportunities and it wasn’t hard to fall in love with South By.
This week I’m headed south until I hit water. Destination: Gulf Shores, AL for The Hangout Fest.
The other thing that I liked so much about Forecastle is its small footprint that lets attendees hop from one stage to the next in a matter of minutes. The Hangout appears to boast the same layout advantage which will equate to savings in both time and energy- crucial elements that are always in low supply at music festivals. Factor in more awesome weather, a main concert venue blanketed in white sand, and a bill touting classics like Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, and The Black Crowes and I’ve got another stacked southern vacation in order.
The Hangout is modest and discerning in their lineup selections and presents attendees with little scheduling conflict as a result. There are only four stages and no more than two are active at a time, not to mention the fact that festivities run for a mere 12 hours each day (11 am -11 pm). The outcome is a carefully crafted schedule whose obvious focus is on quality over quantity.
I’m looking forward to seeing some top tier performers for the first time ever including Stevie Wonder, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Black Crowes, Kendrick Lamar, Slightly Stoopid, The Roots, Railroad Earth, Lotus, and Ellie Goulding.
Acts I’ve caught before but can’t pass up the chance to see again include Tom Petty, Umphrey’s McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, Bassnectar (or, as my friends have affectionately renamed his Hangout appearance, Beachnectar), Big Gigantic, Conspirator and Jim James (though I’ve never technically seen him solo).
I’ll be speaking with a member of Umphrey’s McGee sometime on Thursday and I’m reaching out to fans for help in writing my interview questions. Post in the comments what you would ask the band if you had the chance to interview them.
Finally, I’m perhaps most excited for my interview with Bright Light Social Hour, and up-and-coming three-piece rock outfit based in Austin, TX. The group of road warriors have been touring relentlessly for the past two years and are about to settle down in the studio they’re currently building from scratch to start work on their next album. Tour videos suggest they’re quite the wild and crazy bunch, yet also down to earth and very friendly people. I look forward to hearing about life in a band that’s on the verge of tipping into stardom.