Hangout Music Festival Dates Announced for 2012: May 18, 19, 20 pending Council approval. Some residents happy, some not so much.
From Mobile Register/al.com
GULF SHORES, Alabama â€” Business owner Shaul Zislin announced the dates for his third annual Hangout Music Festival, while requesting another permit from the City Council.
If OKâ€™d, the festival would run May 18, 19 and 20 next year.
Zislin touted this yearâ€™s festival as a â€œfantastic success,â€ though he said he wanted to work through â€œlogisticalâ€ issues.
The cityâ€™s financial director, Cindy King, has said the festival injected an estimated $30 million into the beach communityâ€™s coffers, trumping economic predictions. The sold-out event was credited in part for record-setting lodging revenues along Baldwinâ€™s coast this spring. The season took in more than $64.9 million in lodging rentals, topping the previous mark in 2007 by almost 13 percent, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism said Monday.
Zislin pointed out to the City Council on Monday that no arrests were made for violent crimes among the daily crowd of about 35,000, though nearly 200 were arrested on drug and alcohol charges.
Zislin does not want to increase the size of next yearâ€™s event, but hopes to enhance the experience for those who want to enjoy the concerts.
The festival drew people from all 50 states and some from outside the country, according to Zislin, who paid for a post-event survey of the attendees.
About 40 percent of the people at this yearâ€™s festival were making their first visit to Gulf Shores, he said, while 27 percent of them had never heard of Gulf Shores or the Alabama coastal area before the event.
Asked if they would return for another Hangout Fest, Zislin said, â€œthe overbearing response was yes.â€
‘They were wearing feathers and war paint and whatever else’
A majority of those in attendance were upper-middle class, financially stable families, he said.
â€œI think that will surprise a lot of people,â€ Zislin said. â€œA lot of people that came down here for this event are in their costumes. They came to a beach party. They were wearing feathers and war paint and whatever else it is. But these are really solid people, these are people we should work very hard to entice to come down here.â€
>Some residents complained about those who were drawn to the concerts, however, saying they found people sleeping on the beach and docks.
While several businesses near The Hangout reported a spike in revenue during the festival, Don Stafford, the owner of Ribs & Reds restaurant, took issue with the crowd, saying he caught several people â€œusing the bathroomâ€ on his property.
â€œThe aura or the atmosphere created by this event doesnâ€™t seem to fit what has made our beautiful area so popular with sane, beach-loving, family-oriented people,â€ Stafford told the council. â€œThe quest for the almighty dollar can bite you in the butt in the long haul. I hope this will not happen to Gulf Shores in this case.â€
The City Council is still several weeks away from a vote on the permit.
This weekend, Zislin and 4 city officials â€” Police Chief Ed Delmore and Lt. Alan Carpenter, who coordinates efforts for authorities; Grant Brown, the cityâ€™s director of recreational and cultural affairs; and Councilman Jason Dyken â€” are traveling to Chicago to observe behind-the-scenes work at Lollapalooza.
That three-day music festival draws about 95,000 people in a city whose population is nearly equal the entire state of Alabama, but officials want to analyze everything from security issues to revenue management.
â€œThat will play a lot in what we learn and what type of discussion, relative to modifications, to make it better from our standpoint at a minimum,â€ said Mayor Robert Craft. â€œIt now becomes a discussion on how do we tweak any problem areas that we may have had.â€