Only at the Hangout Music Festival do concertgoers come for the best bands in the U.S. and leave singing about shrimp. From May 17–19, dozens of bands and thousands of fans will flock to Gulf Shores, Ala. for a weekend of sand, songs and seafood.
During the three-day festival, Alabama Gulf Seafood will have a refrigerated, air-conditioned tent to provide an escape from the heat and samples of some of the best tastes of the Gulf. This is the second year that Alabama Gulf Seafood has sponsored the music festival, according to Chris Blankenship, director of Alabama Marine Resources and program administrator for the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission (ASMC).
“Sponsoring something as big as the Hangout Music Festival with 35 or 40 thousand people there every day really exposes our seafood,” Blankenship said. “Having the Alabama Gulf Seafood tent as part of the Hangout gives people a chance to buy the seafood if they want to.”
Visitors from across Alabama, the southeast and the U.S. will be eating Alabama Gulf Seafood—perhaps trying it for the first time. Last year, plenty of music fans became Alabama Gulf Seafood fans and raved about what they ate. This year’s tent is built from shipping containers and will be open all three days of the music festival.
Last year and this year, Alabama seafood suppliers will deliver more than 3,000 pounds of seafood to the sold-out Hangout Fest. This year’s menu includes oysters on the half shell, yellowfin tuna tartar, a fried gulf grouper sandwich and gulf peel and eat shrimp.
“They’re going to take the message of how good seafood from the Gulf Coast is,” Blankenship said. “Our distributors and processors try and work with grocery chains to carry Alabama Gulf Seafood in other parts of the country. When they see it in the store, it will increase sales.”
In addition to the menu in the tent, chef Chris Hastings of Birmingham’s Hot and Hot Fish Club has created a VIP menu for members of the media on Friday evening.
From Alabama to the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in New York City, Hastings always plans meals based on seafood from the right places and at the right times.
“Whether it’s a big event in New York City or an event on the Gulf, wherever we go, the way we think about planning menus is through the lens of a seasonal, local approach to what’s available,” he said.
Hastings doesn’t only use Alabama seafood—he’s also an advocate for those who catch it.
“Fishing and fishing communities are getting beat up pretty good, but being on the Alabama commission has given me a chance to speak more about the people in our state,” he said. “They are an important part of our community.”
The tent will be open on Friday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Stop by to cool off or eat up.