6 Best Things About Fun Fun Fun Fest
1) There's Something for Everyone (and it's organized)I love a well-organized event where you know what to expect if you've been before and it's easy to figure out if you haven't. This festival is separated into 4 stages (and a BMX/skate ramp, too!): the black stage for metal and hardcore and any related genres; the blue stage for electronic and hip hop acts; the yellow stage for comedy earlier in the day and random bands of mostly varying genres in the evening; and finally the orange stage for the bigger indie or rock 'n' roll bands (this is the largest stage area). It is a very real possibility that that most of the bands you want to see (depending on your music taste) will all play on the same stage on any given day. This is kind of nice if you want to save a spot for a headlining band later in the evening but still want to catch bands you like earlier in the day. They're probably on the same stage! Less sacrifice! Better standing spots! A short note here: I think it pretty much goes without saying that the lineups at the festival are always amazing. I have seen so many great performances ranging from Lauryn Hill to Fucked Up to Big Freedia to Ty Segall to OFWGKTA to Death From Above 1979 to Judas Priest to Television. The organizers clearly put a lot of time into getting the best acts and even ask for suggestions on social media from fans. Their love for quality music comes across in these carefully curated lineups, which I think is awesome.
2) The People-Watching is Top-Notch (and the people are great too!)Let me just say this: there are some crazy looking/acting people at this festival. I mean that in the best way possible. I have seen some weird stuff (not quite on the level of something like Burning Man, but probably not far from it)--people dressed in all sorts of costumes; the most bizarre dance moves you can imagine; this year, there was a DIY maypole that was being pranced around. I've seen twerking, giant foam vaginas, a dancing anthropomorphized Twinkie, Ryan Gosling (his hair is just as perfect IRL as in the movies). And what's more: I've met lots of lovely people. I'm generally annoyed by people at music festivals; A.C.L. is a waking nightmare for me that I endure occasionally if there's a headliner I want to witness before I die that I cannot imagine having another chance to see in person (i.e. Outkast or the Eagles). The vibe at Fun Fun Fun Fest is very different and very special. No one is taking themselves too seriously (even the festival organizers, as demonstrated by their hilarious social media posts and things at the festival like the "shitty photobooth", a photobooth inside a port-a-potty). It's laid-back, easy, and, well, FUN, for lack of a better word.
3) Anything Can Happen (and it often does!)Two words: TACO CANNON. Seriously. No explanation needed. Aside from that, some of my favorite stories have come from this festival. One time I snuck into V.I.P. and high-fived D.M.C. of Run-DMC. Another year I got my first and only black eye from a rogue water bottle being thrown from the stage. The same year I saw Ryan Gosling, I witnessed Val Kilmer yelling "ROCK AND ROLL IS DEAD! LONG LIVE ROCK AND ROLL!" while cutting bits of his hair off and throwing it into the crowd (there was a movie filming at the festival). One year I was leaving the festival and happened upon Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes playing a set on the sidewalk under a bridge. My friend got his jaw broken in a mosh pit at the black stage, waited until the band played his favorite song, then Ubered to the hospital. I feel like Fun Fun Fun Fest is kind of a "Choose Your Own Adventure" event where you can have the experience you want (hopefully not involving injury, unless you're into that). You will certainly always get a story out of it.
4) There are bonus night shows (and they're free with your wristband!)The night show concept isn't unique to Fun Fun Fun Fest, but I think the free admission with your wristband is. So much more bang for your buck! These shows are special opportunities to see some of your favorite festival bands in smaller, more intimate venues. If, for instance, you want to watch two bands that are sharing a time slot on separate stages but know one of the bands is playing a night show later, you can strategically choose to watch the other band and catch the night show. In Fun Fun Fun Fest's case, festival bands will often play night show lineups with similar local or lesser-known bands, so these shows can be excellent opportunities to get exposure to bands you otherwise might overlook. The only drawback to the night show concept is mustering the energy (and sobriety) to fest all day AND all night. Life is hard.
5) It's Sponsored by Shiner (and Deep Eddy!)Speaking of alcohol, beer choices are not exclusively awful at this festival which is exciting. Shiner updates their Bock can especially for the festival. They even have an official biergarten where you can get Shiner Cheer (!!!) and specialized brews from other breweries. The bars are generously stocked with Shiner/Fun Fun Fun Fest branded koozies and free Shiner swag is super easy to find. This year there was a giant light-up, smoking-blowing ram skull you could pose with. From Deep Eddy, you can expect refreshing cocktails that come in little buckets (whaaaat!), which might be the most cost effective way to get wasted if that's one of your Choose Your Own Adventure festival goals. Unfortunately, the better than average beer selection is not especially cheaper compared to any other festival. However, there's free stuff if you know where to find it. Last year one of the vendors was Skinny Pop, so you better believe I stuffed my jacket full of bags of delicious popcorn to snack on throughout the day. Occasionally there will be free (non-alcoholic) beverages handed out.
6) You Can't Beat the Location (or the weather, usually!)Firstly, it happens in one of the most badass cities in the U.S.: Austin, Texas. Secondly, it takes place basically downtown, so it is super convenient to get to/from. I was able to very easily (and cheaply) Uber to and from all three days of the festival last year. If you're planning on attending any night shows, you are pretty much in walking range (a longish walk) and certainly within biking/skateboarding/pedicab/cheap Uber range. There's not really any convenient parking anymore, but buses are another easy, cheap option. Most of all, there's nothing better than watching some amazing music with awesome people and a backdrop of the downtown Austin skyline on a pleasantly cool November night. In summary, it is impossible to have a bad time at Fun Fun Fun Fest unless you're a freak or unlucky. I highly recommend it if you're considering going at some point. See y'all there next year! LET'S FEST. Cover Image Background Photo Credit: Ralph Arvesen (Our Text Was Added To Photo)
- Fest Threads Collaborator