Making Magic on the Beach at Hangout Music Festival 2014

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photos by Marco Torres

"Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand. With an equal opportunity, for all to sing, dance and clap their hands."

-- Stevie Wonder

There is something absolutely incredible about music. The way it acts as a conduit of expression and celebration, attracting multitudes of people together in a united front of excitement and wonder, creating and releasing emotions from deep within the soul... it is nothing short of magical.

Those were the thoughts that I pondered as I walked along the white sandy beach of Gulf Shores, Alabama during the 2014 Hangout Music Festival this past weekend. With a cool breeze on my face and the sun at my back, there seemed to be a different vibe from what you normally find at a music festival.

Don't get me wrong, this gig is tons of fun, but in the end it is hard work. The same can be said from the bands themselves, as they lug around equipment and then are asked to perform their hearts out before being ushered on to the next event. Yet this festival, still young at only five years old, is quickly becoming a favorite on the summer festival circuit, for both media and musicians. It really felt as though we were on vacation, with work thrown in as an excuse for us to be there.

Then it all made sense as I researched the meaning of the "shaka" hand gesture that was so prevalent throughout the festival. One definition states that the "shaka" is used by Hawaiians to convey the "Aloha Spirit", a concept of friendship, understanding, compassion, and solidarity.

Hangout, my friends.

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FRIDAY

After a pleasant drive from Texas to the beach on Thursday, it was time to get to work early Friday morning. The first band of the day was one of my all time favorites, the Los Angeles band Ozomatli. I was a bit surprised to see them so early on the schedule, and even though they only played for a few hundred people, they still provided an enthusiastically energetic and lively opening set. They performed an exceptional new song called "Paleta", which is Spanish for "popsicle" or "lollipop". The track is from the new album entitled Place In The Sun released earlier this year. Perfect way to start the weekend.

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Ozomatli

As I walked across the festival grounds over to the Boom Boom Tent, which was the always at capacity EDM stage full of bass and lasers, I overheard someone ask outloud "Is that Amber Rose?" It was, in fact, Mrs. Wiz Khalifa, speeding away from me in a golf cart. I took a chance and began to sprint after her. After about half a mile, I caught up and politely requested a photograph. She graciously agreed and posed for me, looking stunning and gorgeous and sexy and, well, take a look:

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The fun continues on the next page.


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