Keep Austin Fun Fun Fun

Austin's little fest has grown big and sponsored--and that's fine by us

Reliving one's past joy and reveling in the glory of a present moment are perhaps the two biggest factors that compel festival attendees to choose a particular stage at a large party like this. Coming in a close third, however, is sheer curiosity. It doesn't take long to see that the FFF Fest is set up to entertain all three types of fans.

The indie-friendly, blogger-approved Orange stage that hosted Passion Pit on Friday night boasted the most acts that have found themselves on the bills of other, more mainstream-feeling festivals. Saturday witnessed Ra Ra Riot making fresh-faced Abercrombie types sway while the Joy Formidable's Ritzy Bryan (who looked alarmingly similar to Lady Gaga, thanks to Bryan's angry delivery, platinum blond hair and massive, black sunglasses) and her physical, stage-owning histrionics made her an early contender for the mythical FFF Fest MVP. The tribal, bass-heavy repetition of southern Sahara-based Tinariwan proved to be as affecting as any of the laptop warriors from the daytime electronic sets on the Blue Stage.

Unfortunately, an act that had serious momentum going into this weekend, M83, was one of the few whose overall production suffered because of their set time. The soundscapes of Anthony Gonzalez benefit greatly from an effective light-show washing over the stage as a black sky looms overhead, not a mid-day haze where any attempt at producing lighting-induced ambiance was useless.

You'd think Austin folks would be nervous at the sight of so much smoke and light by now. Not true at Fun Fun Fun Fest.
Marc Brubaker
You'd think Austin folks would be nervous at the sight of so much smoke and light by now. Not true at Fun Fun Fun Fest.

While producing a shindig as grand as this one is a giant undertaking, the folks at Transmission obviously have a formula for success. Clear and clever marketing, near-ingenious booking and a willingness to grow even in the face of anti-corporate criticism have made Fun Fun Fun Fest the state's, if not the country's, authority on running a festival that lives on the fringes and thrives in the extremes.

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