Hangout Music Festival, photo courtesy Hangout

When Hangout Music Festival returns later this month, it will be the Alabama fest's first edition since 2019, and fans are clearly ready.

Like so many other live music events, Hangout was forced to scrap its 2020 fest, which sold out within two weeks of the announcement of that year's lineup, which was scheduled to feature Billie Eilish, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Marshmello, Lana Del Rey and more. But when it returns to Gulf Shores on May 20-22, a number of holdovers from 2020 will be performing, including Post Malone, Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Kane Brown and Illenium, as well as Zedd, Halsey, Tame Impala and Jack Harlow.

And nothing against these big acts, but there are plenty of gems in the smaller font tier of this year's roster, and if you're heading to the beach for Hangout, you should definitely catch these sets earlier on in the day.

Audrey Nuna
We haven't been shy about our fanship of Audrey Nuna, who released her a liquid breakfast project last year. Jack Harlow actually appeared on that record, but Nuna doesn't need features, as her single "Space" is a single example of an immense ability to fuse R&B and rap into a whirlwind of intoxicating music guaranteed to hold your attention.

The Swedish producer duo has been gifting fans with a flurry of tracks recently, including collaborations with Nightly and The Band CAMINO, both of whom are playing Hangout also. Perhaps it wouldn't be impossible to catch a cameo. Back in March, NOTD teased that they have plenty of new music to share. In fact, they're releasing a new song on Friday (May 13).

Still Woozy
This is one of first festival appearances for the musician also known as Sven Gamsky since he released his impressive debut album If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is last summer. His music is playful, sometimes off-kilter and definitely forthcoming, and he's one of the exciting new voices making music right now.

Over the past few months, the French DJ-producer has been experiencing a bit of a rebirth as an artist. He made it official last month with his two-weekend performance at Coachella and his first release on Mom + Pop Music, after two albums on major label Columbia Records. It's an exciting moment for Madeon, who surely has more freedom now to explore and give in to his most leftward inclinations.

The singer is absolutely thriving right now, as she moves beyond the viral success of her breakout single "Coffee" and feature on Powfu's massive hit "death bed (coffee for your head)." This latest chapter started last year with her EP, co-produced by Matty Healy and George Daniel of The 1975, and it's further expanded by her new single "Talk," which is a wonderful pop-punk explosion, a preview of what to expect this summer from her album Beatopia. Her performance in Gulf Shores will definitely be a can't-miss set.

The Head and the Heart
The Seattle band was initially expected to play Hangout in 2020, but this time, they're coming off the release of a stellar new album Every Shade of Blue, a series of tracks which we expect will sound simply breathtaking live along the Gulf Coast. 

The Cleveland, Ohio artist has long been hard to pin down into one particular genre, even with his 2020 debut EP, but he further flipped the script last year with the Survivors Guilt mixtape featuring none other than Travis Barker on every track. He's continued working with Barker even as recently as his newest single "Dirty White Vans," which Barker co-produced. With his first album looming, there's a lot to be excited about from Kennyhoopla.

gabriel black
The rising newcomer caught our attention last year with his single "King of the Nosebleeds," an anthem for the outcasts, which has since racked up 2 million streams on Spotify. Late last month, Black revealed he was particularly excited about playing Hangout, and he admitted he's been busy making tons of new music. Perhaps he'll try out some of that new music in Gulf Shores?

The trio is one of our forever favorites, and one of the reasons we love these guys is because they're constantly releasing some of the best pop music, including the aforementioned NOTD collab. Since leaving their major label deal and releasing their debut album on BMG, the flow of new music has been steadier and we couldn't be happier about that. If there's something better than a summer night watching Nightly play on the beach, please do tell, because we kind of doubt it.

Zach Hood
The breakout singer only released his debut single last year, but this is a bit of full-circle moment for the Alabama native, who actually used to work at the Hangout Restaurant in Gulf Shores. If you like big, sweeping pop on par with such marquee acts as Charlie Puth or Shawn Mendes, Zach Hood definitely needs to be on your radar when he performs at Hangout.