Hangout Music Festival 2014 Thoughts
The fifth Hangout Music Festival just wrapped up and I wanted to throw some thoughts out there. This was my fourth Hangout Festival and while this is a festival my family and I thoroughly enjoy, there were some things this year that may influence our plans for 2015. So where there was plenty of good, there was a fair share of bad. I'm going to spare us all the positive comments and focus on the negative with the hopes that Hangout organizers improve for next year's festival.
The biggest issue was the Chevrolet stage. This is Hangout's second largest stage and one of the two beach stages. Given the narrow location on the beach, it is a hard stage to get a good spot at. Despite the limited viewing area, the sound is the biggest issue when it comes to the Chevrolet stage. Unlike the main stage "Hangout", there is only one set of speakers. For a stage of this magnitude, more speakers need to be added. You cannot have acts at a festival that people cannot hear.
Jack Johnson was the main draw for me this year and not being able to hear him when i could clearly see him on the Chevrolet stage was unacceptable.This is the kind of flaw you might experience at a small town fair, but for a music festival that expects to be considered one of the best to have this type of malfunction is absurd.
So lets talk about Moon Taxi. For the most part the Hangout festival is pretty straightforward. There aren't a lot of novelty acts or collaborative efforts on stage. This year Moon Taxi decided to do a Rage Against the Machine set. Hangout even promoted the set on its facebook page. So what does Hangout do? They scheduled the set for the smallest stage at Hangout. The stage at the Hangout restaurant that has limited access to it. Not only were people not able to hear the Moon Taxi set, they were locked out of it when security was forced to close the gates due to overcrowding.
Earlier on the day, it was announced that Chance the Rapper had to cancel due to illness and Moon Taxi would be taking over his set on the same small Hangout restaurant stage. Yep, it happened again. People were locked out and could not check out Moon Taxi for the second time in one day.
So let's take a look at simple logistical planning of the layout. There are three connecting walkways from the street to the beach. One by the Chevrolet stage side, one by the main stage side and one in the middle. The only one that wasn't overpopulated was the one in the middle. The walkway on the main stage side was blocked by lines to the porta-potties and water station that so creatively were placed across from each other forming a barrier of pissed off people waiting in lines. The Chevrolet stage side had porta-potties and Mega Drop to maneuver around. It didn't matter what direction you were walking on that side, it seemed like you were always walking against the crowd. This is the first year I felt like this was a problem, so Hangout needs to take a look at what they changed and go back to the way it was before.
My last mini rant will be about the dj booth on the beach between the Chevrolet stage and the main "Hangout" stage. In the past, the middle of the beach was for relaxing. You could take in whichever act was performing on either beach stage and it was nice. I guess the Hangout organizers decided against peace and serenity while at Hangout and instead decided to add terrible DJs that spin loud noise all festival long. Because of course you want to hear loud bass in the background of every set you see at an actual stage at Hangout.
While there were many positive things about the Hangout festival this year, these problems mentioned above were serious for a festival that wants to consider itself a premier festival. I hope the Hangout festival organizers get their shit together next year and avoid the amateur mistakes they made this year.