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Liberation Tourology with ALO

I like how the south does the beach party thing – buckets of beers, less focus on glamorous extreme sports and more fun for all.

The Hangout Music Festival
The Shores, Alabama

Nature doesn’t care about your rock show.

With the margins of the festival season ever-expanding into months previously untouched by multi-stage, four-day rock show extravaganzas, Nature – the great humiliator of mankind – gets more opportunities to show larger-than-life types like rock musicians and promoters who’s really the boss. Everything was going fine for the Hangout Festival on the gulf coast of Alabama until the Gods became angry for reasons still unknown (might have had something to do with greedy and careless humans spewing millions of gallons of oil into the nearby ocean).

ALO 5.16.10The weather had threatened all day but we managed to squeeze off a set before the deluge. Up to that point we had a gentle shower, just enough to segue into an apropos cover of “Purple Rain.” And then it happened. The photo that I provided for this entry was taken just as we had walked off stage. Every awning in site became a waterfall. Within 30 minutes the stage was surrounded by about six inches of water and there were murmurs of evacuating the festival. I rolled up my pant legs and waded over to the open bar in the artist’s area where I found a lively crew determined to “play through” with drinks in hand. They were the same type of people who would probably stay at the bar come hell, high water, military coup or World War 3, and I admired their dignity and determination. As tempted as I was to stay, when the final call for evacuation came – I jumped on the chopper (van, really) and got the hell out. I’d be seeing them again at the same location later that night anyway.

I like how the south does the beach party thing – buckets of beers, less focus on glamorous extreme sports and more fun for all. The Hangout was a well-run festival (I can tell within five minutes of arrival which are running well and which are gonna be a shit-show), and they took their lumps from the Gods with grace. I can only imagine the rainfall I saw that afternoon (a heavier dump than I’ve ever seen on the West Coast) combined with 135 mph winds – the stuff of hurricanes. I got a taste of the devastating potential. What if one of those hit your multi-stage four-day rock show? I hope the promoters of The Hangout are asking themselves the same question.

Dave Brogan

Keep up with all things Brogan, ALO or otherwise, at his official website.

Throughout 2010, ALO drummer Dave Brogan will regale us with tales from the road as Animal Liberation Orchestra travel around behind their sweet new album Man of the World, both as headliners and as primary support for Jack Johnson’s summer/fall tour.

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