Fun Fun Fun 2011: Who, What, Where & Why?

Who?  This year’s line-up felt like a disappointment at first.  After deciphering the maritime flag codes, following along on Facebook and twitter and attending the turntable.fm DJ session I felt slightly letdown.  It seemed the promoters blew their wad on booking Slayer and as a result the other stages would suffer.  But now that the dust has settled and I’ve had time to absorb the color-coded bands represented on the poster above, I have to admit this is going to be another strong year at the Fun Fun Fun Fest!

  • Orange Stage: Future Islands, The Joy Formidable, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Cold Cave, Radio Dept, Ra Ra Riot, Okkervil River, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Girls, Blonde Redhead, M83 and Lykke Li all make for a good, healthy dose of ‘indie rock’.  This is one stage that might be slightly lacking compared to years past when Descendants, The Hold Steady, Deerhunter, Lucero, MGMT and Yeasayer graced the stage, but we will still be spending plenty of time at Orange in 2011.
  • Black Stage: The promoters at FFF never skimp on the extreme acts for the black stage and this year is no exception.  Slayer might be the biggest band to ever perform at the small festival in Austin and I’m sure they will be worth the trip alone, but what I’m really excited about is Danzig Legacy.  Danzig with Doyle performing the Misfits.  It’s acts like this that make Fun Fun Fun so unique.  Also stoked to see Touché Amoré, Death Grips, Doomriders, Thee Oh Sees (who should probably be on Orange?), Eyehategod, D-Generation, Cave In, Boris, the reunited Hot Snakes and The Damned.  Shit, it’s going to be hard to leave the black stage this year!
  • Blue Stage: Last year the Blue Stage was supposed to be all about Slick Rick.  Slick Rick sucked.  Delorean ended up being the highlight on this tiny stage in the corner.  This year the stage is obviously going to be bigger.  It will have to be to hold Public Enemy, Major Lazer’s insane live show and the large crowd that is sure to show up for Odd Future’s antics.  Some smaller highlights include Flying Lotus, Wugazi (?), Del, Austra, Baths, Dengue Fever, Pictureplane, Cecil Otter and Purity Ring.  This is probably the most stacked the blue stage has been in the history of the festival.
  • Yellow Stage: The variety stage was always hidden away and the journey out there is one I rarely took.  This year’s line-up might change that.  Donald Glover rapping?  Turquoise Jeep?  And Henry Rollins (spoken word?)?  Could be interesting to say the least.

What? This is a boutique festival that caters to those of us that don’t have compartmentalized tastes in music.  Those of us who grew up listening to heavy metal AND hip-hop.  Those of us who liked Depeche Mode but were also listening to Pantera.  Punk might have died in the 80’s, but Face to Face and Strung Out were an acceptable afterlife in our eyes.  This is a festival for those of us who hate festivals.  Large, rotating stages with (relatively) small crowds.  Current bands, bands we haven’t seen in decades (if ever), reunions from bands we have never heard of and didn’t realize we HAD to see.  It’s a place where the masses mix — a hodge-podge of glow-in-the-dark glasses, leather jackets, purple spikes and hair long.  The hip-hop kids, the headbangers, the punks and the hipsters — they all come together for a weekend of triple fun in the little music mecca called Austin.  This is the anti-Lolllapolozza, the anti-Outside Lands, the anti-ACL.  You won’t find Coldplay or Radiohead on the Orange Stage, you won’t find Eminem on the Blue Stage.  What you will find is short lines for the pisser, short lines for a beer and short lines for food.  You will find like-minded individuals having a great time.

Where?  The one city in the country that really knows how to host a festival is Austin, TX. They have a little bit of experience.  In the past Fun Fun Fun has been held in the small Waterloo Park downtown.  This year it will be moved to the larger Auditorium Shores.  Hopefully this larger venue will not change the festival into a ‘larger’ festival.  Waterloo did get pretty crowded last year, so the move is probably a good thing.

Why?  If the music isn’t enough, then Austin should be.  November is Austin is still warm, but not too hot.  The headliners wrap up around 10:00pm every night, so you have time to explore all the great bars, venues and clubs in Austin‘s vibrant downtown scene.  Most years see after-parties at venues like The Mohawk and Stubbs as well.