Gulf Shores Hangout Music Festival

A big party is kicking off on the beach at Gulf Shores.

The fifth annual Hangout Music Festival opens with a kickoff party at the Hangout restaurant on Thursday afternoon.

The main action begins Friday, the first of three days of concerts on the public beach. More than 70 bands are appearing this year including The Avett Brothers, The Black Keys, The Killers, Jack Johnson, Outkast, Queens of the Stone Age and The Flaming Lips.

An annual Gulf Shores music festival provides a big boost to the region's economy. That's according to an Auburn University study presented Monday at a Gulf Shores City Council meeting.

The study found that the three-day music festival generated about $31 million to the local economy in businesses related to lodging, food and entertainment. Professor Keivan Deravi oversaw the study. Deravi says researchers interviewed business owners and reviewed previous studies and statistics related to the festival.

City leaders in Gulf Shores have voted to conduct a study to gauge the economic impact of the Hangout Music Festival.

   WALA-TV reports ( ) the mayor and city council voted unanimously Monday night to spend $12,500 on a six-week study that will compare the cost of hosting the event with lodging and sales tax revenue the festival generates.

   The city has hosted the three-day, beachfront festival for four years and officials say they want an independent examination of its impact on the city.