(Gulf Shores, AL) Before his performance on the kids stage, singer Michael Franti was presented with The Key to the City by Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft, Hangout Music Festival organizer, Shaul Zislin and hometown radio station WZEW owner Tim Camp.
Zislin began the surprise ceremony with a story from the first Hangout Festival. When severe thunderstorms drove bands and fans running for cover. Franti asked to play. When he did, the “clouds split apart and the sun came out. It hasn’t rained on Hangout Festival since Mr. Sound of Sunshine took the stage”.
The Mayor, with key in hand, supported everyone’s sentiments, adding “We have loved seeing Michael three years in a row, but more than just a performer, he’s been a wonderful ambassador for our city and community. The inaugural Hangout Festival was plagued by troubles with the BP Oilspill. Tourists afraid to visit, residents didn’t know what the future would hold. Then Michael Franti took our message on the road. At every show he encouraged fans to visit the beautiful Gulf Coast, thereby helping workers in the tourism industry.”
Franti did indeed help our community bounce back from those dark days. His dedication to other causes like Souls4Souls, his great musicianship and his kind words, Franti received a key and a plaque, as well as a ‘no shoes are necessary’ pass.