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Hangout Festival: Fans happy, exhausted as festival closed

4:28 PM, May. 22, 2011
The crowd cheers Hassidic hip-hop artist Matisyahu on the Surf Style stage on the final day of the Hangout Beach, Music and Arts Festival. / Phil Bailey/GoPensacola.com

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As the final day dawned on the 2011 Hangout Beach, Music and Arts Festival in Gulf Shores, Ala., music fans were happy, excited ... and exhausted. Some questioned whether they'd make it as far as Sunday headliner, legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Paul Simon.

"I don't think I've ever been so tired, but it's been a blast," said Eric Schroeder, 23, of Galveston, Texas. "The plan is to see Paul Simon, but we'll see. I do have work on Monday at 10 a.m. to think about."

After two days of music that included scorching sets from such music superstars as Foo Fighters, Widespread Panic, Flaming Lips, Motorhead, Cee Lo Green and My Morning Jacket, and equally scorching temperatures in the high 80s with cloudless skies, it was easy to understand the fatigue.

But Sunday afternoon still found tens of thousands of happy fans dancing to the sounds of Matisyahu, J.J. Grey & Mofro and -- in a special early set for kids, one of the biggest acts on Sunday's bill -- Michael Franti.

Elizabeth Torres, 20, of Seattle, was a little more rested than most. "We missed the first day, but we're really looking forward to an awesome day at the beach," she said.

Overall, she was thrilled with the experience. "I think the festival was a little oversold, but they did a good job overall," she said. "I would come back next year."

The lineup appealed to festivalgoers of all ages, including Bruce Spano, 52, of Worcester, Mass.

"I've been to my share of festivals," he said. "This ranks with some of the best. I'm an old Deadhead from the 1970s, and I'm finding that by the beginning of day three that I'm feeling my age. But these festivals aren't for the week."

Pensacola residents Dana Baggett, 23, of Pensacola Beach, an employee of the Break Beach Bar, and her friend, Charlie Liker, 29. Baggett said "we didn't bother with the shuttle. We paid $20 to park, which was worth it. Yesterday, the Foo Fighters were awesome and Motorhead rocked our faces off. Today, we're excited about Drive-By Truckers."

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