May 22 Editorial

This weekend, like 40,000 other people, I ventured out into the madness that is known as the Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores. Not usually one for large crowds, I knew this was either going to be a horrible experience that finally severed what string of hope for humanity that I had left or the best people watching I’d ever known. Not surprisingly, it was a little of both.
Seeing as how I am considered part of the media, I was lucky enough to snag a media pass for the sold out weekend festival. Not particularly an obscure rock fan, there were only a few bands that I actually cared to see. However, seeing as how covering these events is my job, I headed out into the world of fake hippies and synthetic weed to get the scoop.
As I walked the, what seemed like, three miles to the ticket booth to pick up my pass, I encountered tons of happy go lucky idiots who continuously asked me for high fives. Was this a new thing with the young whipper snappers? Apparently so. You heard it here first people. High fives are back in style.
As a kind of “when in Rome” thing, I high fived the crap out of this vast sea of morons in a desperate effort to avoid conversation as I made a bee line for the media tent. To my surprise, it was quite posh. Free shrimp and beer? Yep. This job rules.
I settled in to see my first act, Wiz Khalifa. Sure, I had heard him on the radio but like most rap acts, I wasn’t sure if he would be any good live without the help of auto-tune and a studio. As his first song began, I giggled as in unison, a legion of white girls all dressed in hippie sheik cutoff, high waisted jean shorts with a headband of flowers around their foreheads started awkwardly bobbing their heads off beat to the music.
Granted, these “hippie” sheik clad girls are probably the same posers who wear sundresses and cowboy boots to every country concert that comes to town, but hey….I always liked to play dress up when I was a kid too.
As it turns out, Wiz Khalifa was actually pretty good. Sure, he sang along to prerecorded tracks, but he switched it up a bit and kept the crowd interested. Thirty minutes later, Queens Of the Stone Age came on stage, only to make the same girls who just spent the last hour trying to “twerk” their tiny size 0 booty, start head banging/zombie dance. I’m not really sure what you call this exactly, but they went from looking like they were in the club to having controlled seizures. All I could do was shake my head. Luckily, mine was to the beat.
As the weekend wore on, so too did my contact high, as the smell of weed lingered in the air like a ton of bricks. I’m sure the police department did their best to deter illegal activity, but I personally witnessed more open pot smoking at this festival than I did in the ghetto in Jamaica. Seriously.
By Sunday, the people that had started out partying so strong were fading fast, and some were even dropping like flies. I watched from the luxury of the media cabana as one guy face planted into a garbage can causing his body to be contorted into a scorpion like figure while he lay there unconscious. The medics arrived on the scene and literally had to wake the guy up to check on him. Once they got him back on his feet, he was stumbling on his way again.
The crowd may have been misguided clones of one another, but they all seemed rather friendly. I didn’t witness anyone fighting, or stealing. Just a lot of white people dancing badly. Oh, and don’t forget about a lot of high fiving.
I know that I’m getting old. If I ever need a reminder, I just go to things like the Hangout Fest. I’m sure the young people looked and me and said, “Check out the old lady who still thinks she’s cool.” Well at least they are right about some things.
As for their hipster ways, I suppose it’s alright. So what if they all dress alike, don’t know how to stand out in a crowd, and listen to mediocre music? I guess there are worse things our younger generation could grow up to be.
Now, I’ll high five to that.