If you follow along with me on Instagram (@apinchoflovely), you might have seen that I was at Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, AL this past weekend with the Subway team! Although I’ve been to New Orleans Jazz Fest and Bayou Country Super Fest numerous times, this was my first time going to Hangout. Gulf Shores is about a four hour drive from Baton Rouge, so I was lucky to have friends who had attended in years prior to provide tips a successful fest weekend. Their advice paired with the Subway activation really helped make our trip a memorable experience! For those thinking about attending next year, I’ve included Hangout Fest tips and additional information about our stay in today’s post!
I’ll be covering a little more about lodging, festival food, what to wear, transportation and the VIP experience in the second half of today’s post. But to start things off, let’s talk essentials to bring inside the festival. I packed a small backpack each day (note – it WILL be thoroughly searched before entrance) with must-have items:
Sunscreen is an absolute necessity.
Bring a large water bottle to fill up at the numerous water stations.
Something to sit on – like a blanket or towel.
I brought a hat with me every day + an extra pair of sunglasses.
Hand sanitizer – unless you are VIP, you will be using the port-a-potty.
CASH. For parking + quick transactions at the bar and food locations.
Keep Reading Hangout Fest Tips
Where We Stayed
Most people will book EARLY and reserve beach rentals in Gulf Shores within walking distance to the festival. I was a little late to the game when it came to lodging, so we ended up staying a short distance away in Orange Beach. I think this actually ended up being a great option because restaurants and businesses were not nearly as crowded as if you were staying right in Gulf Shores. The Fairfield Inn and Suites also offers a pretty generous breakfast and decent hotel coffee (I’m a coffee snob), so this was a double win. Other options were available a little bit farther in Perdido Beach as well.
Transportation + Parking
There are shuttle passes available depending on where you decide to stay – you can look at the Hangout Fest website for shuttle details. Again, I was late to the game and the shuttle passes were already sold out by the time I was planning my trip. BUT my friends who have gone to Hangout Fest advised me to drive from Orange Beach and park on the streets behind the Waffle House. The Waffle House is right before the festival entrance coming from the Orange Beach direction. Parking is offered in various supervised lots in that area for about $20 a day. You need to get there early (10:30-11am when the gates open) to get the closest spots and to avoid traffic. From there it’s a pretty close walk to the festival entrance.
If there’s one thing Hangout is not short of – it’s festival food. Various tents are set up around both festival entrances offering everything from pizza to gyros. Sponsor locations are spread across the festival with some offering complimentary food at certain times throughout the day. For example, the Subway Green Room activation offered free wraps every day for lunch at 11 am and again at 4:30 pm. This drew massive crowds and a line every single day! The Hangout restaurant is also right there in the middle of the stages, but be warned about the wait time! VIP guests have extensive food options that I’ll include below.
What to Wear
I think this was one of the most difficult trips for me to plan for when it came to packing outfits. It’s a festival… but on the beach… in the sand. Again, I turned to friends for answers who advised me to keep it simple. So, I wore a swimsuit under shorts and tank tops each day. Turns out, you will see a little bit of everything when it comes to outfits at Hangout – from beach coverups and backpacks to swimsuits and fanny packs only. And attire is definitely influenced by which musical acts are that day. For example, the Saturday lineup was primarily EDM performances which meant a LOT of glitter. My favorite part of this festival was probably the people watching!!
Thank you to Subway for inviting me along to experience my first Hangout Fest, the Subway Green Room and full VIP access! I was blown away by the Subway on-site activation and the interactive experience put together for their Green Room. Not only was there free food and air-conditioning retreat for all concert-goers, there were also charging stations and 30 minute wifi hotspots. The wifi hotspot was a lifesaver for me!
If there are several acts you absolutely want to see each day, VIP would definitely be worth splurging on. Not only do you get to skip the LONG entrance line, you get special access to main stage VIP bars. One included hammocks and a covered lounge area while the other boasted in-ground pools, hot tubs and more.
At the VIP Grove, you have complimentary drinks (yes alcohol included) and a complimentary food tent. Food was served twice a day and included wraps, salads, chips, fruit and cheese trays + more. Acoustic sets are also played throughout the day with covered lounge chairs and lounge furniture for escaping the sun. There are grass covered areas for sitting unlike most of the festival area that is covered in sand. And maybe most importantly, you get access to incredibly clean and air-conditioned bathrooms. You also have access to reserved areas next to the main stages where you can get extremely close to the front.
Any suggestions or tips that you have for Hangout Fest? Leave them in the comments!