Hangout Music Festival Announces 2014 Lineup

The Hangout Music Festival released its much-anticipated 2014 lineup on January 14, and the festival buzz has officially begun! Here’s the scoop on will be performing at the festival on May 16- 19. And for those of you who’ve never attended the music festival before, we’ve also included some logistical tips to help make your festival experience a breeze.

Festival Lineup

The Hangout Music Festival is known for landing big name headliners and up and coming bands year-end and year-out. They did not disappoint for 2014. This year’s headliners will be: The Black Keys, The Killers,Outkast, and Jack Johnson. Backing them up will be more than 50 bands including: Queens of the Stone Age,Wiz Khalifa, Modest Mouse and Amos Lee. You can find the complete festival lineup on the Hangout Music Festival site.

Festival Shuttles

Unless you’re lucky enough to land a room within walking distance to the festival, shuttles are by far the best way to get to and from the festival. For $50 per person, you get a three-day shuttle pass. Shuttle stops are scattered all over Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, so there are many options to find a stop that is convenient for you. Some Gulf Shores and Orange Beach condos even offer shuttle service directly from their properties. The shuttles run continuously beginning an hour before the gates open and ending an hour after the gates close. So no matter when you decide to come and go,shuttle transportation is convenient.

Festival Passes

Early bird sales have ended, but ticket sales resume on Jan. 16. Three-day general admission passes start at $229. If you really want to enjoy the festival in style, there are VIP and Super VIP ticket options available for up to $1,500 per pass. Super VIP passes will get you access to a Thursday night kickoff party, a private air-conditioned dining area and lounge that serves restaurant quality meals and snacks, access to festival pools and hot tubs (filled with refreshing cool water to combat the May heat), and more.

Festival Tips

As repeat festival attendees will tell you, you’ll want to pack some essential items such as sunscreen, a beach towel, snacks and aspirin. It’s also a good idea to wear light clothing. Something that will help block the sun but also allow some airflow is ideal. The festival provides food and drink options onsite, but you can also bring snacks from home so you don’t have to leave a performance to grab a quick bite.

If you want a front row seat, your odds are better during the daytime shows when the crowds are lighter. Seating and standing room for the headliners fills up quickly, so you’ll want to get to the main stage at least an hour before the performance starts to grab a good spot.

The most important thing is to have fun and hang loose. That is what the Hangout Music Festival is all about after all. Leave us a comment and let us know who you’re most excited to see in 2014.

 

Gulf Coast Dreaming: Is it time to buy a beach home?

At one time or the other, most of us beach-lovers have fantasized about owning our own condo or house on the beach. But maybe you are one of the lucky ones ready to stop fantasizing and get serious about purchasing.

The time seems right in a lot of ways. Interest rates are low and the market appears to be on the verge of a rebound.

Before you wade in, here are some things you may want to consider before buying a beach home.

To Rent or Not to Rent?

Beaches are prime locations for second homes with potential rental incomes. If you do plan to rent, and want to maximize your rental income, make sure the property you are considering has the amenities most renters expect. Things such as proximity to the water, updated kitchens and bathrooms, swimming pools and other onsite amenities will help increase your potential occupancy and determine the amount of rent you can charge. In general, it will cost you more upfront to purchase property with a lot of amenities, but you should also realize higher rental revenue.

Work with a tax professional if you decide to rent your beach home. They can help you decide whether it is best to treat it as a second home or an investment for income tax purposes. Generally, though, you cannot occupy a rental investment for more than two weeks a year (or 10 percent of the total days it’s rented).

How important is proximity?

Whether you plan to rent or not, most people want a vacation home that is relatively close to their primary residence. You’ll probably use it more often if it’s close enough for long weekend trips. Plus if it’s not too far away, you are more likely to be able to use it for holidays and extended family gatherings

Also, returning to the same place time and after time allows you the opportunity to expand long-term friendships with residents and become part of the social fabric of the area.

Head start on retirement

Locating and buying a second home prior to retirement enables you to experience the benefits of a dream location before actually retiring there. It also give you time to correct and amend your plans if the reality is different than the dream.

While all assets fluctuate in value in the short term, vacation properties are more likely to retain their value and appreciate simply because they are located in popular areas with a geographically limited supply. There is simply a finite amount of shoreline on which coastal residences can be built.

 

Gulf Coast Fish Stories: Catching the Big One

The Gulf Coast may be known as the “Red Snapper Capital of the World,” but there’s also plenty of grouper, amberjack, blue marlin and cobia pulled in annually on local saltwater fishing charters.

Dozens of charter options are available from the backwater experience of the bay to a deep-sea adventure in pursuit of the big one. But there’s no doubt, the Red Snapper has a special lure.

So, it was good news for fishermen when NOAA Fisheries announced that the 2014 Red Snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico will be two weeks longer than it was in 2013. The 40-day recreational season in federal waters will open June 1 and close July 10.

To help conserve our outdoor living treasures, NOAA uses the season catch rates in previous years and considers the catches expected in state waters to determine the length of Red Snapper season. It is also likely NOAA will announce a two-week fall season later in the year.

Alabama Fishing License

Alabama fishing licenses are available for purchase online (a two-percent convenience fee applies) or by calling toll-free 888-848-6887 (a $3.95 convenience fee applies). You will be issued a temporary license number to use until the hard copy of your license arrives by mail.

Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

Or if watching the big fish being pulled in is more to your liking, there are several fishing tournaments drawing anglers from around the world to the waters surrounding the Alabama Gulf Coast. The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, http://www.adsfr.com, made the U.S. Guinness Book of World Records for largest and oldest saltwater fishing tournament. It draws more than 3,000 anglers and 75,000 spectators each July.

Blue Marlin Grand Championship

The Wharf in Orange Beach plays host to the Blue Marlin Grand Championship,http://www.thewharfmarina.com/bmgc/. This two-year-old tournament is the first tournament on the northern Gulf to sell out all open spots since 2005. The week draws to a conclusion with the tournament weigh-in and awards ceremony that crowns the Blue Marlin Grand Champion. In 2013, the 24-year-old Alabama state record for blue marlin was broken twice in one night of exciting weigh-ins.

Be assured that some kind of fish is always biting on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, and you can find a wide variety of inshore and offshore species all year round. The Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau website, http://www.gulfshores.com/fishing/, is a great resource for finding out what’s biting, what you need to know about fishing regulations and how to hook-up with a fishing charter.