The biggest challenge the Hangout Festival faced this year was how it could top itself. Last year the festival snagged Paul Simon and the Foo Fighters to headline and ended up selling all 35,000 tickets in a matter of weeks. So how could the festival possibly top Graceland on the beach?
Snag huge touring acts Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White and Dave Matthews Band? Check. Expand the festival site? Check. Round it out with up and coming buzz bands like Sleeper Agent and the Alabama Shakes? Check.
The third annual Hangout Festival might have been the biggest ever, and here were some of the biggest moments from the weekend.
10. The Alabama Shakes
The Alabama Shakes proved that you don’t have to be a headliner to attract a headliner’s crowd. The Shakes packed the Chevrolet Stage at 2:15 p.m. on a Friday, which when you consider the hot sand, the unforgiving sun and the previous night’s hangover, is about as impressive as it gets. Lead singer Brittany Howard didn’t disappoint, belting out tracks off their debut album Boys & Girls.
9. Jack White
Since Jack White started his solo tour, he’s been alternating between an all-male band and an all-female band, so that the crowd never knows which show they’re going to get. Hangout fans were treated to both bands, who brought unique takes on White’s extended catalog, as well as plenty of songs off his new album, Blunderbuss.
8. Randy Newman
Some artists don’t need a band to put on an entertaining show, but that takes personality. Luckily, Randy Newman’s show is rife with it. You know an artist has an audience in the palm of his hand when a mistake leads to a standing ovation. “Aw shit,” Newman playfully snarled into the microphone after missing a note on his piano. The crowd loved it almost as much as when he played his Toy Story song.
7. The Devil Makes Three
The Devil Makes Three brought the right mix of rowdy and relaxing to the “Letting Go” Stage for their noon set. Bassist Lucia Turino was out with a broken arm, but that didn’t stop the band from putting on an impressive performance. “What the hell am I doing drunk in the middle of the day?” lead singer Pete Bernhard crooned during their song “Shades.” Many in the crowd that gathered for the band seemed to be asking themselves the same question.
6. Sleeper Agent
In the past when Sleeper Agent played big shows with Cage the Elephant, it was because of the close relationship that the two Bowling Green bands had with each other. This time Sleeper Agent got on the bill on its own reputation, which Cage lead singer Matt Shultz said was no surprise to him. “It’s crazy, but I think it’s going to become less and less of a random occurrence, with all of the great bands that are coming out of Bowling Green,” Shultz said. The only thing more impressive than Sleeper Agent’s set was lead singer Alex Kandel bearing the heat in her long black boots. “They keep the sand out,” Kandel said.