If music festivals went to high school together Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo and Coachella would all be football stars. Lollapalooza would be the guy who graduated years ago but still bangs high school girls. Warped Tour would be the mainstream skater kid and Burning Man probably owns a van with Prop. 19 bumper stickers. Amidst all of this Fun Fun Fun Fest is the against-all-odds popular outcast who beats the system and wins class president; the proverbial Veronica Mars, or Cady Heron, or Charlie Bartlett.
This year, FFF Fest is bringing an even more diverse group of acts to destroy your eardrums at Waterloo Park. Weird Al and Devo were set to headline before an injury postponed all of Devo’s tour plans. The Black stage is set up like something you’d see on the 1998 Warped Tour with acts like Bad Religion and The Dwarves. Throw in MGMT and The Dirty Projectors for the American Apparel crowd and you have yourself a pretty eclectic crowd.
Once again, I can’t go due to familial obligations. I immediately regretted not going after watching videos from friends who said that it exceeded ACL. I can’t begin to start up a debate about the merits of ACL vs. FFF Fest because I haven’t been to either and I’d rather not go off of speculation (after all this isn’t Fox News). I can only imagine choosing one over the other without looking at the lineup and other distinguishing aspects is like voting straight ticket, wherein political pathology (or in this case aesthetic) cloud the variable of quality (or in this case lineup). You should really account for all the variables of each festival, instead.
I do enjoy the idea of attending FFF Fest and while I have no experience to back me up, it doesn’t go against my journalistic integrity to state the fact that there are aspects of the festival that separate it from the other more prominent music festivals. The weather is quite a disparaging difference as FFF Fest occurs in the closing days of fall as opposed to the majority of festivals that fill up the summer.
There is a different pathos that occurs when going to an outdoor concert in the summer and going to one in the fall.
Sure, there are tons of independent variables, but the summer shows tend to be overwhelmingly favorable to me. Last SXSW, I saw She & Him at Auditorium Shores and despite my undying infatuation with Zooey Deschanel, I wanted her and M. Ward to sing all of their songs as quickly as possible because it was near freezing outside and I still had to bicycle downtown. I still enjoyed the show and still stayed for the encore, but it was just a little bit different.
Now I may be wrong, but from my stints at Mess With Texas during SXSW over the past three years, before the relocation to East 6th, I thought Waterloo Park was an excellent venue for a mini festival because of its smaller size. The times I drove by ACL to try to sneak a listen, the sparse separation between the stages always kind of intrigued me. Zilker is huge, or at least it seems huge. Never mind that ACL is a national event that attracts people from all over the country and FFF Fest isn’t well known outside of Austin, much less Texas, the smaller aspect of Waterloo Park creates a different atmosphere for concert goers. It’s neither better or worse, but definitely provides a different overall experience.
At the end of the day Austin is lucky to have two major music festivals that are able to attract big names and are able to entertain in different ways. While ACL is more of a juggernaut, the implications remain the same for FFF Fest. Now that they are closer together, a lot of people are only able to save up for one. Either way, it’s nice to know that, unlike elections, you won’t be left disappointed with your decision. Seriously, four more years?
For more info visit www.funfunfunfest.com