41: Hangout Music Festival, The Summer Fling

Unlike myself, most of my friends aren’t flight attendants. This means when I want to go on trips with them, I have to plan them months in advance. In the case of Hangout Music Festival, it was planned in five months. This is not my style. This is stressful. My anxiety was in full swing and I loved every minute of it. Douandy, my roommate, best friend, former travel companion and sometimes intoxicated therapist, saw the lineup for the festival at the same time I did and from that moment we knew. We knew we’d be spending a week in Alabama with wannabe Kylie Jenners and Lucy Hales. We knew we wanted a condo on the beach. We knew we’d probably have to drive because it’d be cheaper. We knew we’d have to invite at least a few more people we could tolerate for a week to make it affordable. Game on.

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Add ten people that were interested and five real life problems and we were left with a truck of five:
– Jack and Harrison, college friends of mine
– Andie, a flight attendant who I’m sure you me heard me mention traveling with before (and if you haven’t stop right now and read more of my blogs because she’s been in four and your laziness is nauseating)
– Douandy
– And ME!

I was the only person that connected everyone and most of them were meeting each other for the first or second time. *insert my oh shit I hope they don’t hate each other face*

We met in Cincinnati where Jack lived, rented a car, and trekked down to Alabama for the 13hrs it took to drive there. First sign of good juju was that our rental sedan was upgraded to a truck due to unavailability. Score. Second was that when we got to Alabama four hours early, our room was ready to be checked-in to. Double score. Fast forward one hour and we managed to have our fridge stocked with food and hands full of beer while we played music on the beach to the sound of southern waves crashing not twenty feet away. Sometimes vacations are worth taking the time to plan.

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Jack naturally took the role of dad, not with responsibility but with jokes and hysterically embarrassing flatulence. Andie was the closest thing we’d get to a mom, managing to cook and clean almost every morning because she was usually the first to rise sans headache. Douandy helplessly wandered and managed to lose his phone (twice), cigarettes, money, us, and himself, but was arguably the one having the best time. Harrison played the musically inclined DJ combined with a wild card and always happened to know where more booze was. And me, I planned it so I was fully checked into “my job is done, lets party” mode. Naturally, we fit together perfectly.

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Several things happened on this trip and the faded indiscretions that seem to troll with any festival were all but too willing to invite us to toy with its debauchery in the most flattering way possible. So let’s just make a list, shall we?

1. Maybe I’m just getting old (I’m definitely getting old), but there were so many teenagers
2. Said teenagers were at a four day music festival, in Alabama’s sweltering heat, with full contour. Full. Contour. *insert Tony Stark eye roll gif*
3. I SCARCELY dieted before the festival yet somehow I felt like I was at a secret bikini completion because EVERYONE WAS FIT
4. Okay maybe not everyone but, come on. Who chugs a beer while their six pack flexes with each gulp? Demons and soul suckers.

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5. The first day, Friday, a huge storm caused a half day cancelations
6. Because of #5 I didn’t get to see Silversun Pickups. Tear.
7. Because of #6 we were “forced” to keep the party in the beach facing condo.
8. Jack and Harrison rented bikes which turned out to be a baller idea other than the fact they got there in a quarter of the time that we did. Yes, I was jealous.

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9. We lost weight not only from the mile walk we had to do there and back but also from unevenly dancing for hours on the sand and running in between sets.
10. I saw Alabama Shakes for the second time, only this time I didn’t accidentally chug water disguised as Everclear. (See Bonnaroo blog post for full story)
11. Calvin Harris cancelled for a good reason but I walked around blaming it on Taylor Swift to make myself, and everyone else, feel better.
12. It made me feel better.

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13. Snails played a “Bodies” remix that made me break my neck
14. Portugal. The Man reminded me why I own all their albums and listen to them regularly
15. Florence managed to make me cry (again)
16. And then there was Panic!

I don’t know what I could possibly say about Panic! At the Disco that can make you, my audience, understand what this show meant to me. I’d planned on seeing all of their set because I’ve been a fan since day one and have you seen Brendon Urie? What I didn’t expect was for his vocals, performance, song order, and shirtless demeanor to completely capture my attention, soul, and body. It could’ve been the fact that me and Douandy play Bohemian Rhapsody every other day and he did a cover that blew my mind. It could be that he ran around the stage hitting notes I couldn’t dream of reaching while playing all my favorite songs of theirs. It could be that he was shirtless in leather pants and playing the piano like a boss. I’m not sure but if there was a show this year that ever made me question my judgement while simultaneously blacking out of pure euphoria, I think this was it.

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The trip ended while we watched stars on the beach practicing back bends and eating every food item we’d bought over the weekend to avoid “wasting it”. We stayed up reminiscing of our favorite moments of the weekend while creating new ones where we stood. I learned that I not only could travel with these beings regularly but that they enjoyed each other’s company as much as I did theirs.

The journey back from a festival is always a soft spot for me. Festivals help me become as close to my natural being as I spend days engulfing myself into the music that serves as my everyday mental therapy. I’m completely carefree for an entire week or weekend and then in a matter of seconds it’s over. Reality sets back in and though my reality is seems more glamorous than others, it isn’t. The people I share my favorite moments with I won’t see for an extended period of time. Traveling gives me great stories to tell, but one can’t live their every day life recalling stories. I either recall stories or create them, but is it possible to balance in the in between?

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Making friends in temporary environments are fun but everyone is just that, temporary. Festivals in a way remind me of that, this temporary high that I chase in order to feel complete; satisfied. It works to an extent, but when it’s over it’s gone. It’ll never repeat itself and fortunately time machines don’t exist. These moments aren’t meant to be lived in for forever but in this day in age we tend to consistently search for the euphoria that comes with it. My everyday just so happens to be constantly temporary, and that’s okay. Things that are meant to last will last and if it’s meant to be, it’ll be. Luckily for me, my favorite people in the world, tend to last. And though festivals and the music within them are temporary, they’re some of my favorite parts of the summer.

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