Hangout Fest Heats Up, Begs the Question: What has happened to Voodoo Fest?
The Voodoo Experience could really take a cue from the 2nd year music festival making quite a name for itself down the coastline. The two events are worthy of comparison because they seem to maintain a similar operating budget, target a similar 18-34 demographic, and shoot for programming goals of providing a profound round-the-clock musical experience from an array of diverse genres.
As for the past couple years in City Park: Propping up worn out, irrelevant headliners like Ozzy Osborne and KISS speaks to whom, I have to ask? Although the overall 2010 edition looked to be an overwhelming success, with picture-perfect weather, an overall strong lineup, and was an incredible weekend for me personally, the Hangout's recent lineup begs the question: Can't a comparably (top-to-bottom) strong lineup succeed and exist in City Park?
I realize I'm playing virtual festival promoter and that these events have the difficult task of pleasing an immeasurably broad array of musical palettes and age groups, but the qualitative differences between the two festivals this year are stark and hopefully will stoke the Voodoo organizers to return to the form it established for itself as a dominant force on the American festival landscape in its formative years (see lineups from 2007-08).
With a lengthy extension for Voodoo to exist in the scenic City Park venue, it's time for the programming quality to match the surrounding beauty of the park. Convincing faraway, out-of-town friends to come to Voodoo has been a lost cause the last two years; as for Hangout -- they've already booked rooms. That's a pretty good barometer of festival buzz for me.
Over the years, Voodoo has done an excellent job at the gates (especially this year) and has contrasted some of these regrettable nostalgia acts with show-stopping entertainers like My Morning Jacket, Janelle Monae, and Eminem, but as far as offering a complete platter of renowned and still-relevant live acts, the Hangout takes the cake in spades for this year. If you're gonna go for the wayback machine, I'll take Paul Simon any day (and not Simon & Garfunkel) over KISS and their fireworks or Ozzy and his water hose. Perhaps it's just a matter of personal taste (and I love Black Sabbath), but Paul Simon's live abilities far trump that of poor Ozzy, and that's something just about any layman could tell you.
Latest Hangout News
This week, the Gulf Shores, Alabama Hangout Music Festival has further established itself as one of the best (if not the best) festival offerings on this season's menu by adding 12 more names to an already impressive lineup. STS9, who likely were supposed to be in the initial lineup, are in the mix after bassist David Murphy's recent bout with cancer put the band's Winter Tour on hold (including a pair of dates at the House of Blues in late February) while he recovered.
Additionally, '70s glam rock revivalist Grace Potter recent played a memorable show last month down at HoB, The Avett Brothers will be appearing a couple weeks earlier at Jazzfest and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe is a scene staple year-round (especially during Jazzfest). Gulf Shores is a mere 190 miles away, the first bands are set to hit the stage in only 65 days, and tickets are still available, so why are you still waiting to pull the trigger? Tickets are still available for $174 for all three days here. More artists are still to be announced.
Note: The Hangout should perhaps add "(On The Beach)" after each artist's name. It's hard to avoid thinking about how each of these artist's performances will be enhanced by the coastal atmosphere.
The Avett Brothers - STS9 - Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Brandi Carlile - JJ Grey and Mofro - Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe - Big Gigantic - Soja - Railroad Earth - Greensky Bluegrass - Rival Sons - Honey Island Swamp Band
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Oasis (Live at House of Blues NOLA - 2.20.2011)
Paul Simon & Miriam Makeba - Under African Skies (Live)
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