Day two of Hangout Fest was probably my favorite lineup of the weekend. We started the day strong with 347Aidan on the Boom Stage. The Canadian rapper garnered a massive following after his song “Dancing in My Room” blew up on TikTok and put on a super energetic performance as he bounced from one side of the stage to the other. The crowd went wild when he brought out, Renforshort, also on the lineup later that day, to perform their collab single, “IDONTWANNATALKTOYOU!”.
There had been an imminent threat of rain for the whole day, but instead of bad weather, we ended up with a welcome breeze coming off the Gulf in Alabama that day. Nashville-based band Moon Taxi took to the Surf Stage around 3 PM. Although not surprising, there was a massive crowd for the band because the two founding members, Trevor Terndrup and Tommy Putnam, are from Alabama. They are also a festival favorite, and according to frontman Trevor, this is their 7th time to play Hangout Fest. I can see as their performance did not disappoint.
Seeing all the cool things the festival offered for patrons was amazing. There was a roller rink with skate rentals, a spa hair salon to help you with your perfect festival hair, a puppy kissing booth, and a Ferris wheel for the perfect bird’s-eye view of the fest. The food, however, deserves a special shout out of its own. There were so many delicious food options, but my absolute favorite with the gourmet grilled cheese stand. Instead of normal cheese slices, they use macaroni and cheese, and you could get yummy toppings like barbecue chicken.
After gorging myself on delicious grub, I returned to the music and spent the rest of the day was spent running from stage to stage to see as many acts as possible. I got to catch some amazing performances from Surf Mesa, Flo Milli, Chelsea Cutler, Leon Bridges, The Band Camino, Breland, Illenium, and Beabadoobee before the last two acts of the night. Earlier in the day, we got the unfortunate news that Doja Cat had to cancel her set because of an emergency throat procedure. However, Hangout Fest promoters were adamant about making sure that fans had a worthy sub-headliner replacement by quickly adding GRiZ in her absence. This was a solid choice as the Surf Stage was packed like sardines for his set.
Halsey was the headlining act for Saturday evening, and I was utterly astounded by how powerful her performance was. It was an edgier performance than the last time I had seen her at Hangout, which was in 2018. Something I adore about Halsey’s music is the paradoxical fierce but also vulnerable and soft lyrics. She started the night with “Nightmare” and “Castle.” Halsey mentioned her affection for Fall Out Boy and their performance the previous night. She told the crowd that she was in awe of their pyro, which her standard set included, but because of the winds, she couldn’t use them safely for her performance. Halsey also painted a whole canvas while singing the song “Be Kind,” which is a fantastic feat.
Near the end of her set, Halsey reprised the song “Nightmare,” with powerful backing visuals on the giant screen behind her. These visuals were striking images and videos from protests over decades for women’s rights, as well as infographics meant to educate people on the topic of abortion. I applaud Halsey for using her platform to bring more awareness to this issue, especially in a state like Alabama. I hope these images paired with Halsey singing “I’m tired and angry, but somebody should be,” impacted someone that night.