Residents speak their mind on Hangout Festival

GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) – It was a full house in the Gulf Shores City Council Chambers Monday, June 16, to discuss the future of the Hangout Music Festival.

Festival organizers have requested a permit extension for another five years. But, before the Gulf Shores City Council will vote on that extension, council members wanted to hear from locals about their opinions on the festival.

Surveys were distributed to local business owners and residents last week, and Monday, June 16, the results of the surveys were revealed at the council meeting.

Across the board, the surveys reported a majority of positive remarks about the festival, however there were still residents and business owners who noted negative impacts of the festival, as well.

The surveys reported 64% of local residents and 72% of local business owners agree the festival should get a five year extension.

Meanwhile, 30% of residents and 17% of business owners were against a five year extension for the festival.

To see the full survey results from citizens, click here.

At the city council meeting Monday, the majority of citizens who showed up to voice their opinions for public discussion had very positive comments, something that surprised some city council members.

“We expected a lot more negative if you will, because there’s a lot of anecdotal stories and experiences that people are sharing,” said Councilman Steve Jones, “I guess some that are widely impacted living very close to the festival site, and most of the comments tonight were positive which I was again surprised to hear.”

One man said the fest creates unforgettable memories that will make more people want to come back to Gulf Shores.

“But if we can create that memory of music on the beach, and a great experience, then we can get these people to tell their friends, maybe come back to Gulf Shores, or come back with their families as they grow older and so forth,” said Patrick Bussey, a Gulf Shores resident.

Other locals weren’t so optimistic about the festival. One woman told FOX10 she worries about what the festival could do to the family friendly image Gulf Shores maintains.

“I understand that people enjoy this, and I understand that they want to bring it here, but I want them to also look at the whole picture and see what it does for the rest of us,” said Carole Lefler, who lives in Gulf Shores.

City council members have two weeks now before they will vote on the five year extension.

On Monday, June 30, the issue will be voted on, and the fate of Hangout Fest will be up to the city council.

FOX10 will keep you updated on that decision.


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