Hangout Music Festival announces lineup for 2020 but still working to satisfy concerns

By Melanie LeCroy
Posted 12/12/19

The lineup has been pushed out for The Hangout Music Festival 2020 but organizers are still working on satisfying the concerns of Gulf Shores residents and city leaders.

On Dec. 2 Gulf Shores …

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Hangout Music Festival announces lineup for 2020 but still working to satisfy concerns

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The lineup has been pushed out for The Hangout Music Festival 2020 but organizers are still working on satisfying the concerns of Gulf Shores residents and city leaders.

On Dec. 2 Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft spoke passionately at the end of the city council meeting letting those in attendance know the city did not intend to issue a permit for the concert until a list of issues was resolved. Craft said the city sent Hangout owner Shaul Zislin a letter outlining those issues.

“We have told him in writing we will not approve a permit until he satisfies us that he has made significant progress toward controlling the noise and vulgarity permeating outside the festival site into residential areas, that the negative impacts to the festival site for overnight parking and parking on the street must be fixed, and there is a loss of 4.68 acres that he currently utilizes that he must have a site plan showing he can survive and the number of people he is going to take care of with losing that amount of space. He must prove it to us without question,” Craft told the crowd.

The city has a contract with The Hangout Music Festival through 2025 but it requires an annual permit review. The city and resident concerns must be addressed before the city will issue a permit.

“You will see a statement somewhere where he is releasing a lineup. He does not have a permit to operate yet. But that is Shaul taking the steps necessary to proceed assuming that he gets a permit,” Craft said during his public statements. “He has committed he can answer these questions and that remains to be seen. I want you to know that there are still boxes to be checked before he gets his permit.

“It hasn’t been approved yet, he does not have a permit, he hasn’t even submitted a permit application yet. We told him, if he can meet these things for 2020, we will give it to him.”

Zislin responded via email to Gulf Coast Media questions regarding the city’s concerns. He said festival planners are working with the city.

“Historically, the Hangout Festival’s permits have not been issued until the spring. The nature of the timeline means that planning and announcements must take place prior to that date. During this period, our main priority of the festival is to work closely with the city to ensure that any and all community concerns are heard and addressed,” Zislin said.

He said the reduction of the festival’s footprint will not be an issue.

“The loss of acreage is due to pending development in the area of the festival site. All of that land is considered back of house and will not impact the space that festival attendees occupy,” Zislin said.

After the 2019 Hangout Festival, several residents have voiced their concerns to city leaders regarding concert goers’ rowdy and sometimes illegal behavior in neighborhoods near the venue. Zislin said his planners are working to address the issues.

“To alleviate crowd disruption and potential negative impact in neighborhoods beyond the festival site, our team has created the Hangout Ambassador Program. Ambassadors will be stationed in surrounding neighborhoods and heavy festival-traffic areas, serving as community liaisons to answer questions and address concerns or potential problems,” Zislin said. “Ambassadors will report directly to the Lead Community Affairs Liaison, a new position created to ensure the festival’s cooperation with the city and its residents.”

Zislin added that in 2020 the Hangout Festival will be produced by AEG, a change that will bring more oversight to the event.

“With this year’s addition of AEG as festival producer, the Hangout team has a fresh set of eyes with large-scale operational expertise working tirelessly to address all concerns and create a concrete action plan for Hangout 2020,” Zislin said. “While the event attracts visitors to Gulf Shores from across the U.S., our main priority is to create a festival that local residents are proud of. We are working with the mayor and city council to improve the festival site layout, address noise and traffic complaints, and make the weekend a more enjoyable experience for surrounding neighbors with our Ambassador Program.”