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Hangout Music Festival Review 5/16/10

edited November -1 in OK Go

I want to do a concert write up that’s a bit different than the typical. I want to take you all a virtual road trip with me on my weekend adventure in Gulf Shores, Alabama to see Ok Go. I had an absolute blast. I shall tell you guys the tale through pictures, so that you can feel like you're going on the trip with me. Buckle your seat belts and don’t make me come back there!...........



  • …………..Ok Go was set to show up on Sunday May 16 at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The week of, I was debating whether to go. None of my classmates could come. My mom had guilted me about going alone that it'd be dangerous. Many of you on facebook encouraged me to go. My classmates insisted that not only was it a very safe trip, but that Gulf Shores was so incredibly beautiful and fun, I'd be crazy not to go. They were all drips and weren't able to go, but if they telling me it was safe, I knew I could trust that. One of them let me borrow their navigation equipment too. I booked a room at the lovely Holiday Inn Express in Gulf Shores and headed out on Saturday morning.  

    It was good traveling weather, overcast, so the sun wasn't blindingly beating down. The only annoying part was when I got caught in some rain for about 10 minutes near the end of Mississippi. Gulf Shores is a 4.5 hour trip from Jackson, but it really doesn't feel as long as that at all. I saw some very interesting roadside stores, which I shall cover in the next few posts.

    Rt 49 takes you from Jackson to Hattisburg and even futher south if you really wanted to. I took 49 to Hattisburg going south. Then in Hattisburg, I headed east. Most of 49 looks like this:

    Just outside of Jackson in Flora, MS. This place has great catfish so all my friends tell me now that they've seen the pics.

    The Collins Zoo in Collins, MS. One of the dental assistants says that this zoo is rather crazy. When you first come in there are snakes that are barely in cages and the tiger and lion are close enough for biting you. Eeesh!

    Throughout the trip in both MS and AL, I passed a lot of roadside tourist stops as well as gardening stores and fresh produce stands. I expect Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies to be selling possum meat here (only because the store is called "Granny's Kitchen" lol)

    Then I got on Rt 98 in Hattisburg and headed east toward Alabama......

  • Welcome to Alabama, "Alabama is Beautiful" says the sign.

    Rt 98 in Alabama becomes known as Moffett Rd as you approach Mobile. After the above pic was taken, I passed some schools and a golf course, when suddenly overhead, a yellow airplane that looked like something the Wright brothers would fly went by.

    After awhile, I got on I-10. Most of the trip was flat with trees and stores and such. Suddenly, approaching downtown Mobile and the water of the Gulf Coast, skyscrapers out of nowhere loomed in front of me. Of course, the Ok Go song "Skyscrapers" started playing in my head till those buildings passed out of sight.

    I didn't realize Mobile was right on the water. I saw some cruise ships. To get from one side of I-10 to the other in this area, you actually had to go through a tunnel that goes under the water!

  • From I-10, you get off on a road called AL-59 that leads straight down to the beach. You pass through some pretty towns and there's a fantastic outlet store in Foley, AL, that has all the major brands. Sadly, I did not have time to be a shopaholic. I went beach crazy instead.

    Anyway, here are some pics of the downtowns you pass before getting to Foley and getting to Gulf Shores.....(Sorry a lot of these pics look odd, I was driving and snapping pics)

    Random billboard that I just love:

    Hardware, plumbing, and a giant chicken. What a great store:

    Can't remember the name of this pretty little downtown and park, but it looks so Southern


  • Just north of Gulf Shores, the stores are getting more beachy

    Strawberries, anyone?

    Since my mom has a fascination with Piggly Wiggly, here's one for her:

    Mellow Mushroom Pizza store with a creepy tall hippie sign out front. (Notice the palm trees.) They have one of these pizza stores near my house, but with no creepy hippie sign. I don't think my neighbors would be happy with a giant creepy hippie sign.

    Ooo, look. Pretty mural:

    Most of the area so far seemed like Mississippi. I didn'' see what was so special about it that people raved about. But then you cross this small bridge and the area suddenly opens into lushness. Once you cross the bridge, you've entered the town of Gulf Shores. I wish I could've taken a pic to explain, but it was too hard in that area. You cross over an intercoastal waterway. I explored Gulf Shores (GS) and Orange Beach on my first day in town.

  • My hotel, the Holiday Inn Express in Gulf Shores.

    This hotel was fantastic! Brand new. Great breakfast. Really nice, helpful staff. Only three miles from the beach/concert venue. The (very cute) guy checking me in was Russian. He looked a little like our own Damian Kulash. (As you can tell, I was having extreme Ok Go withdrawl that now everyone was becoming them.) He said his mother manages the place during the day. My sister has a fascination with Russian things. She's teaching herself Russian, even. He was so fun to talk to. When I got back to the hotel later that night after exploring, I put my sister on speaker phone so that she could practice her Russian with him. Turns out, I kept running into Russian people that weekend in GS. He insisted there aren't that many Russians around in that area. But one of the tourist stores I went to was run entirely by Russians.

  • After I got settled in my room, I called Mama Tempe and Baby Sis to let them know I had arrived. Mama Tempe had originally made me feel so guilty for wanting to embark on this trip. But now she was super-excited for me. (Typical. She did the same thing when I went to San Francisco.) She suddenly had a list of things for me to see. There's a great zoo and water park there. There are also some historic battle sites since GS is a port. She had a list of good restaurants. Inspired my her ideas, the notion of going shopping at the outlets went by the wayside for beach side adventures instead.

    I went to check out the venue. Russian Hotel Boy had given me a bunch of great maps and brocheurs. There were condos near the venue that were on stilts. People were selling parking spaces outside their house. Clever. I decided I'd buy my concert ticket later. I drove out and saw the most incredible beaches. Growing up in NJ, the Jersey Shore was the big happening. To me, the Jersey Shore is rather icky and doesn't attract a very good crowd. But GS was the exact opposite: Southern Hospitality to the max and the most beautiful beaches. The sand was sooooooo white. These pics do it no justice. It felt like I was driving around snow banks.

  • I pulled into a little parking area and walked down the boardwalk.

  • I pulled into this little bayou area to take pics as well. There's not only ocean but pockets of waterways as well.

  • Then I pulled into this little development that was so pretty because they were beach houses that looked so Southern at the same time:

  • Check out this strange water looking high-rise:

  • It was getting time to eat. I wanted to go to a place that serves food by the water. I went to a fabulous placed called Wolf's Bay Lodge. The shopping center also had a great seafood restaurant. The entire parking lot had old boats on stilts as decorations! I thought I was in the wrong place.

    Here's the front of the restaurant:

    I ate outside. Here's the view from my table. The waterway is called Cotton Bayou.

    I had the ribeye, which came with baked potato, roll, and a help-yourself salad bar. My waitress was from Birmingham. She was very cute and tan. She looked like she belonged in AZ or California.


    Me after eating.

  • Some boats I got to watch while I ate:

    The back of the restaurant:

    Some shiny Florida looking condos from the parking lot of the restaurant:

    After I ate, it was getting dark (as you can see above). I went into a gift shop next to the restaurant and bought some goodies. On the reduced rack, they had a pink t-shirt with shiny palm trees that said "Orange Beach, " and a really pretty pink straw sunhat. I also got two necklaces (made in China) but made from seashells. I ran into a lady who said her daughter-in-law works at the same place as me but on a different floor. She also knows my realtor. She lives in the town near me, but goes often to GS/Orange Beach for vacations.
  • I headed back toward the hotel. I loved driving in that area at night. The open sandyness, palm trees, and sparkly lights made me feel like I was back in AZ.

    I drove past the venue which was now buzzing seeing as it was a Saturday night. I was tempted to stop for ice cream at a nearby place, but I wanted to call my sis and I had to get the dental goodie bags ready for the boys. When I got back to the hotel, I spent a lot of time having my sister on speaker phone so that she could talk to Russian Hotel Boy. I have to be honest. I don't really have a biologic clock. But Southerners get married so young, that during the past year, I've felt a bit like an old maid. It was nice to be in a place with young people again. I wondered where Ok Go would be staying while they were in town. Perhaps my hotel? Haha. I did see a van that belonged to one of the bands performing at the festival, but it wasn't Ok Go. Still, kinda neat to be sharing a hotel with some musicians. I wonder if they trashed their room, lol. I almost got Russian Hotel Boy to check for me whether the lads were there---actually, I was more like joking about it. But seeing as he's Russian, he took my joke literally and almost thought I really did want him to check if Ok Go was staying there. I had to tell him I was just joking. We talked about the schooling we were each getting. He was studying Foreign Business. The people staying at the hotel were also sweet and friendly and chatty. Then, I headed to my room to put together the dental goodie bags. I made a package with toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, orbitz gum. I made a 5th bag for Pete as he's been really nice and helpful via e-mail.

    To top off the night, my all time favorite Britcom, "The Vicar of Dibley" was on Alabama Public Television!
  • I shall now begin the beginning of Part II just to put everyone in suspense.

    Suspense? Why what do I mean by that? I'll tell you what I mean by that, Geoff.

    Well, Sunday started off quiet. I woke up early to catch the hotel breakfast, then brought it back to my room to finish sleeping for a bit. There was a nice little breakfast spread put out in the breakfast room: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hard boiled eggs, bananas, bagels, english muffins, juice, coffee. I began to load my plate. There was a little door over the scrambled eggs, I didn't have enough hands to hold open the door, scoop eggs, and hold a plate. Out of nowhere, a sweet middle aged Southern gentleman who looked a lot like my next door neighbor in MS, came over and held the scrambled egg door opened for me. I've started to recognize a MS accent vs an AL accent. My boss here is from AL originally. I asked him where in AL he was from. He proudly said, "Tuskaluska, born and raised, ma'am!" (BTW, there are a few cities in the country with that all time best names in my book and Tuskaluska is one of them. Hohokus in NJ is another.) He asked what I do back in MS. Then he said his wife, his son, and him are all in healthcare and have their own office. With a smile, he said they could used a dentist in their office, how would I feel about moving to AL? Then I headed back to my room to change back into my pj's and finish sleeping for about an hour and a half. The shades were drawn, so I decided to peak outside before bed and see what's doin'..........

    .....It was raining! Heavily! There was no indication in the weather report to me that this would happen, I was about to be going to an outdoor rock n' roll concert. Having not seen Ok Go in 3 years, a bit of panic hit me that the show might get canceled. But I took a deep breath and tried to remember: spring time in the South means passing showers. I knew this to be the case already. It would pass in a little bit, I told myself, going back to sleep, but not sleeping too heavily cause I had worked myself up.

  • When I woke up an hour and a half later, it was still raining! I ate my breakfast in denial (forgot to take a pic of my breakfast!). Turned on the tv. Since it was Sunday, there were a lot of infomericals, Washington news shows, and religious programing on. Some channels had weather at the bottom of the screen. It was to be a wet day, they were now predicting. I got dressed, put on my make-up, got ready for the concert wondering what was going to happen. This was a big time music festival being put on, and it was the first one GS had ever put on. They really wanted to make this festival something big and crowd attracting, which it had been so far from what I'd seen. So I couldn't image they'd cancel. I kept an eye on the window. After awhile, the sky became less dark and the rain began to slow. It appeared to be stopping. A weather caster showed the radar, and it looked like we had gone through the thick of the rain, which was slow moving. But more was to come later today, she said. Later today? So is that like later this afternoon or tonight? No specifics there.  

    The plan was to check out of the hotel this morning, go to the concert, then drive back to MS that night to be at work on Monday morning.
  • As I packed my suit case and got ready to check out, the rain had finally slowed and come to a stop. It was done! Maybe things would be alright. Athough, it remained quite cloudy. I brought some stuff to my car before checking out, since I had a lot of stuff to put away. I had left my windows opened a crack on all four sides. So now the inside of my car was wet! I borrowed some towels to dry everything.

    While I was getting ready to check-out, I talked to Russian Hotel Boy's mother. She was sooooo Russian. She made me miss my old Russian roomate, Olga. (Yes, at one time, I had a Russian roomate named Olga.) She got sort of busy, so I checked out with the other manager. He was originally from Bombay, but had spent a lot of time in Jersey City in NJ. He agreed that NJ wasn't the nicest of places at times and that he likes the South much better. He says his business partner still works in NJ. He asked me why I was leaving town without checking out the music festival. I informed him that my whole reason for coming was to go to the music festival. Then I started to tell him a bit about Ok Go, and he asked me, "Are you with the band?" Tee-hee! That made my morning! I was about two seconds away from saying, "Yeah, I'm Tim's sister." Comes from watching "A Hard Day's Night" too recently to my trip.

    Oh yes, forgot to describe my wardrobe. Dolled my face and hair up. Dolling up the hair was a bit tricky as it was so steamy the night before and windy from the water. I wore a purple shirt with a sparkly rose on it and a gold glittery flower barrett in the hair.

    I told him how much I loved my stay and then I headed for my car. The rain had appeared to be done, even though it was gloomy out. I passed two guys who were also thinking the same thing and said they were on their way to the concert. It was still early. The doors wouldn't opened till noon and it was only 11 am. So I decided I had to check out a weird hippie store that I had passed yesterday on the way to the venue. I also wanted to take pics of the amazingly crackpot looking souvenir stores near the venue. The venue by the way, was the beach. AL-59 ends right at the beach at a restaurant called "The Hangout." The Hangout is a restuarant/gift shop/bar/music venue with direct access to an area of beach. The Hangout was the one that put together the three day music festival. Permits were obtained to close off that large area of beach and turn all the nearby parking lots into places for food, craft/nicknack vendors, and music stages to be set up.

  • But after I got in the car, and started to drive, it began to drizzle! Nevertheless, I tried to stay positive.

    I stopped at the crackpot hippie store, a place that sold rock n' roll memorabilia, incense, tie-died stuff. Their motto is "stop by today for a free hug." Well, I stopped in, but luckily got no creepy hippie hugs. I did buy my sis a Tweety Bird lunch box and for me a Beatles refrigerator magnet.

    They even had a hippie caravan out front.

  • I wanted to be cheap, as Russian Hotel Boy had suggested, and park at Burger King. But I didn't want to have to do the 15 minute walk to the venue. The stores near the venue warned of towing for those who were not customers. So I went ahead and paid $10 to park in a very convenient location directly across the street from the venue at a store called "Alvin's Beach Department Store." I asked the boy if parking was $10 an hour or for the whole day. He looked quite surprised and said, "for the day. You think we charge $10 by the hour?" I said to him, hey, I'm from the New York area. There, it'd be $30 an hour. He looked foreign, sounded sorta French at first. Turns out he's, you guessed it, Russian. I would chat with him later. I crossed a busy side street to take pics of the very crackpot looking Gleetarded souvenier stores.

    The back of one store was made from a pirate ship:

    And the front of that very same store looked like one giant shark. I couldn't get the whole shark in the pic. But to enter the front of the store, you go through the shark's mouth.

    Next door, there was a similar shop with a giant purple octopus on the roof:

  • I then went to buy tickets to get into the festival, which were ridiculously overpriced. They told me I'd have to leave my umbrella in the car. Fine, it was drizzling. But I could see how umbrellas could be a liability. The lady checking people on the way in was a nasty gym teacher type person. Then I had to let them look through my purse for security purposes. The old lady checking what was inside my purse loved the idea of bringing a band dental supplies. She laughed and said, "what a cute idea." Then she actually apologized for having to take everything out of my purse (even though it was her job) and carefully put everything back in the way she found it. Nasty Gym Teacher said once I go through with my ticket, I can't come back out again unless I'm for sure done being there or I'd have to pay to get back in. Ridiculous. I went though into the festival. There was a giant hand I could get my picture with that made a rock n'roll type symbol. I'd have gotten a pic of it, but too many people were around it. I got acquainted with the layout of the place. There were lots of vendors selling greasy food and hippie-wanna-be rock n' roll memorabilia. There were a lot of people there pretending to act hippie-ish actually. Lots of dreadlocks and silly clothes. Wish my sister was there. Hippies love her. Except for Nasty Gym Teacher (who was only a volunteer, mind you, and not even getting paid) everyone else working the place was very nice. There were three stages set up, two directly on the beach, and one in a parking lot. Ok Go was going to play the parking lot one. It was called "The Playstation II stage" because that's who was sponsoring it. There was a van set up for geeks who wanted to play playstation games. The Hangout restaurant itself was my fav place to go to the bathroom due to it not being a porta-potty. Also the walls leading to the bathroom where covered from ceiling to floor in old lunchboxes. I saw a Donny and Marie and Monkees lunchbox, yey!

    Ok Go wasn't set to play till 4:45 and it was only 1 pm-ish now. The bands that were playing were not too bad. Matisyahu was supposed to also perform on one of the stages. I usually like to make my own Ok Go shirt for concerts, but seeing as I decided at the last minute to go, I didn't get around to making one. I bought one from the merch stand: that very cute white shirt with a picture of the boys splattered in paint. Two girls I talked to said they were also there just to see Ok Go. I took a picture of them together cause I like doing that for people.   

  • I also took some pics of the beach and silly stuff I saw like this:

    ^^Makes me wanna watch the old show "Taxi"!

    These pics were taken as people were coming into the place, that's why it looks so quiet

    As I was watching a band perform on the stage Ok Go would take, it began to rain again, quite heavily. I headed toward the Hangout restaurant in search of something to buy to cover up. The Hangout has a nice little gift shop with beachwear. No umbrellas. They had no ponchos. Those were sold outside the venue! And it was raining, literally cats and dogs! All I could find was a Hangout beach towel. I bought that. An extremely stoned acting middle aged woman was also shopping. I swear, she was in her own little world and acted just like a character would who was stoned. She didn't smell stoned. I think she was just very Jim Ignotowsky and burnt her mind out in the 60s. She had a hoola-hoop with her. I kept bumping into her. She was with two ladies in their late 20s maybe who said they liked my shirt. Too bad I didn't make my own shirt, then they'd really like it. I make fantastic concert shirts. Tis a hobby of mine.

    A group of people huddled outside on the back covered porch of the Hangout. I could hear a lady on a microphone on one of the stages trying to keep things going and chatting up the audience, but people were taking cover where ever they could find it. For some reason, I decided to venture out back in the rain toward Ok Go's stage and see what was doing over there. I had my beach towel over my head and sloshed through heavy puddles. At the playstation van, people were still watching the concert but instead of being near the stage, they huddled under the van's awning. The playstation people didn't like that and made everyone get away from the van who didn't want to play video games. I'm not sure if the band on stage had to cut their set short or if they had managed to finish in the middle of the rain. I sloushed my way back to the Hangout's back porch to wait out the rain.

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