Under normal circumstances, the opportunity to see Judas Priest, Nas, Flying Lotus and Fred Armisen in the same park seems like a bizarre mash-up of a fever dream. But thanks to the fine folks at Fun Fun Fun Fest, that wildly varied yet incredible dream is a reality. It’s November in Texas and it’s time for the 9th annual Fun Fun Fun Fest, a three day music festival known across the country for being one of the most amazingly diverse and satisfying concert experiences in Texas, if not the whole country.
It’s true that Austin City Limits may grab headlines for notable names like Eminem or Pearl Jam, but this festival is for the true music connoisseur. You won’t find a sea of chairs or view-blocking flags and banners here. No, this is where people go to see the bands they love; bands that might be unheard of in some circle or at least don’t get a lot of terrestrial radio play outside the occasional single. This is not just a place to hang out, talk loudly, and listen to music heard on the radio while drinking over-priced beer. And this year the lineup is as incredible as ever. There’s no point in typing out the lineup, just take a look at it right here and prepare to be impressed:
Instead of running around to various stages to catch the music you like, the acts are divided up loosely by genre to each stage, so that the metal fans don’t have to sit through some electronica and indie rock people can focus on what they love. If you’re a musical omnivore, such as myself, then you’ll still do some stage hopping, but at least the scheduling and arrangement of bands on their respective stages has a logic and flow to it that many other festivals do not.
Speaking of logic and flow, the layout of the festival is also great. No stage is too close to another, so you never have to worry about troublesome sound bleeding. In the past they’ve also capped the festival at a logical number, so while it may feel like there’s a lot of one people in one space, it never felt overcrowded and overwhelming to the point of being unnavigable. Each area has its own space to breathe. The stage placement looks slightly different this year, so expect a full report on the altered layout. The park it’s being held in, Auditorium Shores, has also never become a horrifying mudpit like Zilker has during ACL…but let’s knock on wood this year since we just got two solid days of rain here, so the condition of the grounds is anyone’s guess as of right now.
There are plenty of great food and beverage options of course, including local eateries. But that’s almost expected by this point for a festival in Austin. What this festival has that few others do is comedy, art and a biking/skating competition area. There’s a whole section of the festival dedicated to show poster art exhibition, with pretty much all of it for sale. See, even if you’re not a huge music person, there are still plenty of things see. Between music, comedy, art, and extreme sports (though I think that moniker is silly) covers most of the bases for entertainment. For anything else, you’ll either have to turn on a TV or get out into the wilderness to enjoy.
On top of ALL of that festival goodness, there’s also a huge amount of absolutely free night shows called FFFNites. These start tonight and go throughout the weekend, with bands of all sizes and statures, from Dinosaur Jr. to Texas favorites The Riverboat Gamblers. There’s even some free comedy shows too. You would be hard pressed to find a more jam-packed three days of fun anywhere else–which is probably the reason for the tripled namesake. Don’t take my word for it though, here’s what the official website says, and it’s hard to argue.
“Fun Fun Fun Fest is custom booked for the most passionate, underground, and progressive musicians, comedians and fans around the world.”
Watch the website next week for our full coverage of the festival.
Written By Jarad Matula
OurVinyl | Associate Editor