The Hangout Fest. Heard of it? Been to it? The music festival takes place on the beach in Gulf Shores Alabama every May, and has for the last 5 years. A mini city is built 10 days prior to the gates opening to 40,000 (this year) visitors, consists of several stage setups for music performances, rides, and vendors. Every year we may come back blistered, but never enough that we’re not making plans for the next Hangout.
If you’ve been there, chances are we’ve passed. If you haven’t, maybe you have been and don’t know it…
Have you read Six Silver Strings Series?
The HANGFEST on the coast in Gulf Shores is where Marissa and Jack meet. Every book has an inspiration, and The Hangfest is the fictional Hangout Fest of that fateful fictional day. Here’s a story, and if you follow me on this—and know a little background on certain musicians—you may see deeper into the G-String Series inspiration.
Readers of the series know Jack and Marissa ran into each other in a tour bus parking area. A chance meeting because of “that stupid dog,” and the rest is history for this metal maniac and jilted fiancée.
The first Hangout Fest came just after the BP Oil Spill, nevertheless, it went off fine. You know those events you go to, and the jerks seem to come out to play? Hangout Fest is not one of those places, even under the harshest of circumstances—and that was a weird year.
Next year. Foo Fighters, surprise show announced just a couple of weeks prior, and The Black Keys. I knew, no matter how many came afterward, they would never get better than that. And you know what I’m going to say next. It did—or at least was equaled.
The White Stripes was one of my favorite bands, still is, but I use “was” since the band is dissolved. This particular year, Jack White and his mobile record store had been at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin—another great music (arts and everything) fest in a great venue. In the weeks between SXSW and HF, I had a feeling Jack White would be at Gulf Shores. I was obsessed with the possibility, because he--as a musician--is my obsession.
Every year, The Hangout Fest has ‘surprise guests.’ Sure enough, that year, Jack White showed. I’m sure Jack stayed in a really nice hotel, I wouldn't know…
What I do know is several months later, I entered a short story contest thrown by one of my favorite authors Victoria Ashley. The guidelines for the story were: humor genre, festival setting, and it had to contain a Jack Russell terrier.
After mulling that over for an hour or so while washing dishes, I banged out Jack Who? in less than two hours—the short version. My readers on Wattpad went crazy. Having never experienced Wattpad fame, I found it cool when every comment after the last chapter was a plea for the story to continue. And so the story continued. The same after book one for book two, and so on. We still aren’t finished with Jack and Marissa.
I know I’m being random here, and if you’re still reading, you’re about to put the pieces together. While washing dishes, I thought about the area with the buses, and private tents, and the day I was sure I walked by Jack White. You know the dog is fictional—he had to be in the story. The bang is fictional—although I’m pretty sure my husband would let me do Jack White. But the festival is real, and if you love music, it’s one of the best places you will ever go.
A little disappointed because you read all that crap I typed up while I’m two-glasses-of wine-chatty, and you think that’s as deep as the story behind the series gets? Don’t be. It gets much deeper. Maybe nothing in the paragraphs above other than the inspiration for the story has any direct relation to the series, but if you absorb all the details as a whole, and if you’re a Jack White and The White Stripes fan, you may be suddenly viewing characters, names, and places with different eyes—if you haven’t already when reading the books.