Interview by: Orchee Sorker | February 18, 2022
To anyone who may not know you, can please tell me a little bit about yourself? What is your role in the Hangout Festival?
R: My name is Reeves Price. I'm the Vice President of AEG Presents Festivals. I am the lead producer for the show. I oversee everything a little bit from initial planning on budgeting to what we want the fan experience to be like, and those sorts of things…oversee the project as a whole. There's quite a few other people that do many important things like booking, marketing, production, operations, etc.
What makes Hangout more special than other festivals, do you think?
R: Certainly, the fact that it's on a beach makes it special. There aren't many festivals that take place in the sand like that. I think the beach really provides unique opportunities, whether it's the kind of beach clubs along the waterline and the access to the water…assuming the weather is cooperating. All of the palm trees, the aesthetic and decor around the festival site that makes you feel like you're at a beach, but also at a music festival. That's the first thing that comes to mind in terms of what makes it unique. Before and after the festival, all of your friends kind of get together, either staying in a condo or staying in a hotel room. It really feels like a beach trip and a festival combined. Gulf Shores is a beautiful town. It's beautiful white sand and clean water.
What is your favorite memory of the festival?
R: Ooh, my favorite memory of the festival. I met my wife at Hangout Festival. How about that?
That's awesome! How long have you been a part of Hangout?
R: I went as a fan to the very first one, which was in 2010, I believe. Since then, I've been to pretty much every single one…but I didn't start working directly until 2019.
How many months of preparation comes before the festival each year?
R: It's a year round project. It never really stops. Immediately after the festival, there's a lot of work to do. Reviewing how things were done, settling the show, and taking surveys of what people thought…what we need to improve or do differently…those types of things. How do we put on a better show for the fans, our artists, crew, and staff? Also, just making sure of all the tools that they needed to be successful at their job. It really is a year round project. These scale of productions take a lot of work. It's important to start early, get ahead of things, and give yourself an ample amount of time for planning.
I believe you all have an internship program that helps with the preparation and the festival. How did the program come to be? Why do you recommend college students to apply and participate?
R: It came to be by wanting to provide opportunities for people to get some experience in the festival world. If you're a college student, you can go to the website. There's a form you can fill and reach out. You get to work on different fun projects and support different departments within the festival.
This year's lineup is insane with some of the headliners being SZA, Lil Nas, The Kid Laroi, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. How is the lineup determined usually?
R: There's a lot of different factors. We see who all comes to Hangout. Then, we try to deliver something that we think really fits the core community around the festival. At the same time, we also bring in something different and give some sort of surprise moments. It comes down to artist availability and timeliness, in terms of making them offers and trying to confirm them on the show. Sometimes you talk to an artist, and they're like, “Oh, we're not available that timeframe.” You go in a different direction and then all of a sudden they become available later. It’s an ongoing negotiation to put together something everybody feels excited about!
If an artist can’t make it and they were supposed to come, what do you do in that situation? Do you all have backup artists?
R: We don't typically have backup artists set up. If we know far enough out that somebody's not gonna be able to make it, then we'll typically try to book somebody in their place. Sometimes something happens on the day of, that's too close to fill the gap.
What is one aspect of the festival that is new or different this year?
R: Right next to the festival site, we've rented out a whole hotel and calling it the Hangout House. It's gonna be like an all-inclusive package where people can get their hotel room, ticket, and all-in-one stay at the festival. You have your own entrance into the festival from the hotel. I think that's gonna be a pretty cool experience for folks that do that. That's something new that we're excited about!
What is the future of this festival?
R: The future is continuing to book a diverse, fun lineup. We like having The Chili Peppers next to somebody like SZA. It's different, but it's all great music. Continuing to try to book an interesting lineup that gets people ex