The sold-out 2022 Hangout Music Fest ran into several weather-related hurdles this year, but it did not stop the fun. After a two-year hiatus, the 40,000 festival goers were on their best behavior as …
The sold-out 2022 Hangout Music Fest ran into several weather-related hurdles this year, but it did not stop the fun. After a two-year hiatus, the 40,000 festival goers were on their best behavior as they enjoyed 80 musical acts across four stages.
Gulf Shores Police Department reported 133 arrests over the three-day festival, less than 0.01% of the ticketed guests.
"I think it went very well compared to years past," said Gulf Shores Police Lieutenant Jason Woodruff. "There were no violent crime or assaults reported this go around. Not that there have ever been very many but there have been a few over the years. It seemed like it was a tame crowd overall."
Gulf Shores Police Department with the assistance of the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office and several local police departments, worked the three-day event. Woodruff said most of the 133 arrests were drug related.
"It was by and large unlawful possession of controlled substances and felony level possession of various controlled substances. That was the bulk of the arrests. In the stats you will see other charges but a lot of those are companion charges to that possession of controlled substance charge. I would say all of that was more self-initiated or proactive police work. It wasn't a result of any calls or anything," Woodruff said.
Possession of Marijuana first degree — 2
Intent to Distribute — 5
Warrant — Alias — 2
Unlawful Possession of Controlled Substance — 127
Public Intoxication — 14
Gulf Shores Fire and Emergency Services Chief of Staff Melvin Shepard said the department had 1,200 patient contacts throughout the weekend and there were no water related calls at the festival either on the beach or in the pools. Only 12 patients were transported to the emergency room.
The Hangout Music Fest beach swimming accesses were closed early Saturday due to rough wave conditions.
Shepard said the lifeguards remained in the towers in case people jumped the fences but there were no issues. Outside the festival area, one swimmer was pulled from the water by Gulf Shores lifeguards and sent to the hospital for evaluation.
Many of the 1,200 patient contacts Gulf Shores Emergency Services saw included people walking up to the first aid tent asking for Band-Aids or needing their feet bandaged due to walking around the festival barefoot. Shepard said most heat-related calls happened Friday.
The Hangout Music Fest organizers posted regular reminders to reapply sunscreen and drink water on the massive screens throughout the festival grounds. Despite the reminders, emergency services saw several dehydration cases and sunburn.
"We had a lot of cloud coverage Saturday and Sunday and the heat-related calls subsided, but we did have some people still dehydrated through the weekend from not drinking enough water even though there was plenty of water available at the festival," Shepard said. "I personally saw some people with sunburns. They weren't thinking about being in the sun all day. I think the Hangout as a festival did an excellent job on the signs on the stages reminding people to reapply sunscreen."
Overall, Shepard said the opinion with most of the city staff is the festival went well. While the crowds seemed younger this year, Shepard said he felt they were better behaved.
"I think this was the best ran festival they have had. I think the break with COVID gave them a chance to look at how they operate, how we operate as a city and we were able to come together this year and really have a unified command over it," Shepard said. "I think that helped lead to a successful event and I look forward to them in the future. Overall, the people that were here, they were a lot younger than the past but must better behaved."
The 2022 Hangout Music Fest had a change in producer from years past. This is the first year that the festival was fully produced by Reeves Price and his team at Winter Circle Productions (now operating as AEG's Gulf South Office).