Fun Fun Fun Fest 2011: recap

Fun Fun Fun Fest 2011 was dreamy. And I mean that. As one of Austin’s prized and annual music festivals, FFF has a lot riding on it. If I were to personify the festival, I might even find myself conjecturing about whether or not FFF feels like she’s living in the shadows of SXSW and ACL. And if she could talk, she might say ‘yes’, but after this year’s FFF, I reckon that ‘yes’ would be followed with quite a few reasons why she likes it that way. And so do I.

Which way do I like it? I like it, it being music festivals at large, precisely the way FFF 2011 happened. It happened like this.

%Gallery-139353%After having crowded Austin‘s downtown but Highway 35-hugging Waterloo Park since the festival’s inception, FFF needed a new home for 2011. I don’t know what sort of politics went on behind the scenes at the FFF headquarters. I don’t know if decision-making people at the FFF Town Hall meetings were enraged or not when Auditorium Shores was picked as the 2011 location spot. But I do know that it worked. It worked well.

As I walked over the pedestrian bridge at South 1st toward the festival’s entrance on the first night of FFF, I stopped mid-bridge and took in the sunset over the water for what felt like the first time since I’ve been spending my time in Austin. The colors, creamy and soft pastel as they nearly always tend to be, spilled over the horizon at the sun’s setting and bled into the white-blue sky like ink dropped in water. The gnats were hoovering over the water and in my face; their silhouettes darted in and out of my periphery as I stared at the calm waters of Lady Bird Lake beneath the perfect sky. And just to my left, there was the festival. All set up and fully in gear, its lights and white tent domes created a carnival-like cityscape at the place where the lapping water meets the packed Texan soil, Auditorium Shores.

Compared to Austin City Limits, FFF’s stature was much more approachable and intimate. Compared to SXSW, FFF’s personality was much less belligerent. And maybe it just means I’m getting old, but approachable, intimate, and less belligerent really works for me now and I think it really worked well for FFF 2011.

Entering FFF was easy–the lines that usually precede a good music festival weren’t there. Then again, we entered in the evening of the first day. The dust kicked up from Auditorium Shores, which is normally a waterfront dog-friendly park in Austin, let loose a haze all over the dimming festival. Festival-goers wore bandanas and other sorts of scarves over their noses and mouths; it was like a music festival shot on a wild west movie set. This may sound like a bad thing, and it certainly wasn’t a good thing, but the dust matched with the scarf-wearing presented a sort of mystique for the festival this year.

Relaxed and spacious, FFF’s crowd still warmly and eagerly embraced the main acts of the festival–Slayer, Public Enemy, Lykke Li, Passion Pit, and others. Public Enemy got into character before their set started and decided to sound check all the way through Four Tet’s set (it was kind of obnoxious). Lykke Li performed a stunning set, completely with billowing smoke, swaying black fabrics, and sporadic percussion, thanks to her affinity for carrying drumsticks in her hands while on stage, ready at any moment to pound away on the nearest drum.

I suspect Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Festival succeeded in teaching many Austinites and travelers alike that a music festival needn’t be overpopulated or over-hyped in order to be worth the ticket price, time, and energy to attend. In fact, I’d say, this one was better for the lack of those two things.

Fun Fun Fun Fest: know before you go

As if the name weren’t indicative enough, Austin‘s annual Fun Fun Fun Fest has quickly become one of the city’s prided yearly music festivals. Each year, it seems, the festival draws more and bigger name acts. The festival is becoming so much fun, in fact, that its location moves this year to Auditorium Shores instead of the measurably smaller and less aesthetically pleasing Waterloo Park. And, no one can resist the joke, we’re all hoping the change will make this year’s festival even more Fun Fun Fun. But let’s spare ourselves the redundant F’s and refer to the festival with the abbreviation FFF. With acts like Slayer, Lykke Li, Spoon, Passion Pit, Public Enemy, and Murder City Devils, this year’s FFF will be raking in travelers from across the globe, pulling them into Austin’s city limits. Whether you’re traveling to FFF from your home in Austin or from your home much farther away, here’s some ‘Know Before You Go’ type information that will help you have a smooth-sailing (and fun!) FFF experience.About Fun Fun Fun Festival

Before you go to a festival, it’s good to know a little bit of the festival’s background story. So here are some fun facts. FFF started only five years ago in 2006. The very first festival pulled in acts like Spoon, The Black Angels, and Peaches and I suspect the ability to reel big names into the first festival helped the festival to be successful in the following years. FFF focuses on the genres of: Indie Rock, Punk Rock/Hardcore, and Hip Hop/DJ. The festival divides its music guests onto three stages, each of which roughly represents one of the above genres. And then, for laughter’s sake, there’s a fourth stage which features comedy which will be featuring Henry Rollins and Reggie Watts this year among others. The festival takes place November 4th-6th this year at Auditorium Shores in Austin, Texas.

Fun Fun Fun 2011 Artists

If you’re looking for an excuse to partake in these fun-tivities, here are some artists from said genres that will be rocking the stages this weekend:

Indie Rock
Spoon, Passion Pit, Lykke Li, Blonde Redhead, M83, Girls, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Okkervil River, Ra Ra Riot, Mates of State, The Joy Formidable.

Punk Rock/Hardcore
Slayer, The Damned, Danzig Legacy, Hot Snakes, Murder City Devils, Black Lips, Boris, Kid Dynamite, Cave In, Cannibal Corpse.

Hip Hop/DJ
Public Enemy, Odd Future, Major Lazer, Neon Indian, Four Tet, Spank Rock, Wugazi, Flying Lotus, Purity Ring.

Tickets for FFF are still available. You can buy single day passes for $55 per day or a 3 day pass for $135 on the Fun Fun Fun Festival website.

What’s OK To Bring

  • Empty non-glass water bottle
  • Backpack
  • Hat
  • Sun Block
  • Lighter/Cigarettes
  • Cell Phone
  • Small Beach Towel
  • Strollers
  • Fanny Packs
  • Non-professional digital, film, and disposable cameras

What’s NOT OK To Bring

  • Instruments
  • Knives/Weapons
  • Chains/Chain Wallets
  • Blankets
  • Camelpacks
  • Outside food or beverages
  • Tents
  • Flags
  • Chairs
  • Video Cameras
  • Bota Bags
  • Audio Recording Devices
  • Professional Cameras
  • Pets
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Drugs/Drug Paraphernalia


Parking near FFF will not be easy. For this reason, the FFF crew is strongly encouraging attendees to rely on a bike, taxi, bus, train, pedicab, carpooling system, pair of legs, or shuttle to get to the festival.

Most importantly? Have some fun.