Stevie Wonder Cries, Flavor Flav Drums And 8 Other Reasons We Love Hangout Fest

Our sunburned skin is peeling and we’ve got a mix of sand, glitter and cake (we’ll get to that) in our ears, but damnit if we don’t miss Hangout Music Fest already! Cue Boyz II Men, ya’ll, because we’re not ready to say goodbye. So don’t. Instead, let’s recap our three-day adventure in Gulf Shores, Alabama with a countdown of things we obsessed over the most at the best only beachside event like it.


Twenty One Pilots Drum While Crowd Surfing

Twenty One Pilots had already blown the first-day Hangout crowd away with their hour-long set. The electro-rap-rock duo backfliped off a piano during “House of Gold” and ape-climbed scaffolding while performing “Holding on to You.” And if the acrobatics weren’t enough to slay the dance-crazy audience, their mid-set mash up that included R. Kelly’s “Ignition,” DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win” and Nelly’s “Rid Wit Me” did. But it was when the guys climbed atop the vibrating throng’s outstretched hands to bash drums at the end of “Car Radio” end that everyone really went insane.


Vinny Photobombs The Shore

Jersey Shore alumVinny Guadagnino went everywhere at Hangout Fest from sweaty beach to street as one of our guest correspondents for the weekend. And when he tired of snapping selfies, he decided to have a little fun and photobomb  unsuspecting Gulf Shores attendees. Their hilarious reactions ranged from outraged incomprehension to hysterical excitement once it clicked what was up and who was in on the gag.


Chrissy Teigen & Katherine Webb’s Shrimp Eating Contest

Our new favorite correspondent duo Chrissy and Katherine (or C.K. as we like to call them) made the already beautiful Gulf Shores beaches a little more attractive as they tackled thrill rides and water slides to give you at home an up-close look at Hangout Fest’s atmosphere. But it was their shrimp eating contest against two body builders at the music festival’s namesake restaurant that showed us these models are as hilarious as they are hot. Is that even legal?


Steve Aoki Gives Audience A Cake + Champagne Shower

When house music extraordinaire Steve Aoki asked “Who wants cake?” at the top of his set on the final night of Hangout Fest, the EDM tent exploded with pleas to get a sheet cake to the face. The Dim Mak founder did not disappoint, tossing signature frosty goodness all over shrieking fans and letting them wash it down with champagne he sprayed in their faces throughout the hour-plus packed show.


Sway Discovers A Redheaded Rapper

When Sway went looking for a few “real MCs” while he stalled for Kendrick Lamar who was running late for his Hangout Fest set, no one expected him to stumble across 19-year-old Matt Webb. The physical therapy student from nearby Pensacola State achieved his dream of spitting hot fire for the festival crowd to the delight and surprise of the restless crowd. That’s more than we can say about the other two volunteers. Well done, Hard Ginger!


Macklemore Preaches “Same Love”

Hangout Fest’s “be nice…or go home” motto was in full effect during Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ packed performance. The crowd went wild for the Seattle MC when he gave an impassioned gay rights advocacy speech at the top of his anthemic song. After telling the crowd, “I believe in tolerance, I believe in passion and I believe in equality,” they responded with a deafening wall of screaming then sang along to every word of “Same Love.” It was almost spiritual. Well, if your church tossed around inflatable toys to play with and sprayed the audience with confetti at the end of the sermon.


Flavor Flav Busts Out A Drum Solo With Public Enemy

Public Enemy gave the young-skewing audience present for their hour-long set an arguable live-action Cliff’s Notes of rap history. Their performance rounded out a great lineup of past, present and future of hip hop that comprised The Roots, Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. While the groundbreaking rap group’s hit list included classic’s “Fight The Power” and “Don’t Believe The Hype,” it was Flavor Flav’s impressive drum solo over “Timebomb” that made everyone flip out. Can he hit the sticks? Yeah, boy!


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Karaoke Party

Ever hear 25,000 fans under various states of sobriety sing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers standard “American Girl” like the world’s biggest choir? As Petty himself joked to Hangout Fests’ beachside crowd, “You guys are pretty good singers.” It’s hard not to sound good with a wall of voices chanting along to the band’s All-American rock standards as they capped off day two of the weekend with a brilliant two hours of “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin'” and more.

[Photo: Mike Kittrell/]


Kendrick Lamar’s Private Plane + Motorcade Arrival

When Kendrick Lamar missed his Cali flight to Hangout, he hopped a private jet and police motorcaded himself to Alabama so he could make thrill the 10,000 deep packed in the Boom Boom tent. First words out of his mouth for the excited fans as he breathlessly ran onto the stage 25 minutes late? “P***y and Patron make you feel alright!” And like that, all was forgiven, especially as he ran through his good kid, m.A.A.d city album plus tossed in a few Section.80 mixtape favorites. Now that really made us feel alright.


Stevie Wonder’s “Lovely” Engagement Story And Emotional Thanks

Playing everything from The Beatles and Marvin Gaye to Michael Jackson, and, of course, his own jukebox joints aplenty, ultimate headliner Stevie Wonder wrapped the last night of Hangout Music Fest with two-and-a-half hours of mess yourself with feel-good excitement. It was a favorite by far made even better by the personal stories Wonder shared throughout his performance. Before launching into a sing-along version of hit “Isn’t She Lovely?” Wonder recounted to the 30,000 fans the last time he performed the song written for his daughter and backing singer, Aisha Morris, she’d gotten engaged. Feeling reflective after the tune, Wonder paused his set yet again to give tearful thanks to the enormous crowd for their support, which allowed the Grammy-winning legend to give his late Alabama-born mom “a good life before she went away.” The pleasure’s ours, Stevie!

[Photo: Mike Kittrell/]