25 Ways Fun Fun Fun Fest is Better than SXSW

Metallagher demonstrates how much more fun this festival is in 2011.
Metallagher demonstrates how much more fun this festival is in 2011.
Photo by Patrick Michaels.

Fun Fun Fun Fest is this weekend in Austin. Now in its eighth year, the thing has grown at a remarkable pace: From Spoon to Slayer at the top of the bill in just a few years. Through that expansion, however, FFF has lost none of its charm. If there is one festival in the country that seems to make decisions based on what makes its staff laugh the hardest, it's this one.

You know the deal with SXSW. It's a monstrosity, of course. And no, comparing FFF to SXSW isn't totally fair -- they have different goals and different scopes. But if you are going to make one trip to Austin during a given year for a music festival, it should be this weekend. Here's why:

25. FFF has a taco cannon. That's not even a band name. Just a cannon. 24. Scheduling that ignores genre and produces just confusion, like Dismemberment Plan to MGMT to Slayer.

25 Ways Fun Fun Fun Fest is Better than SXSW

23. No panel discussions.

22. Killer Mike is playing on a skate ramp. We're not sure why.

21. The Nites line-up includes bands not even on the main bill, and run around all the famous Austin venues until 2am. It's like 35 Austin. And all the Nites are free.

20. The comedy line-up is stellar, with Doug Benson, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, and Tenacious D.

19. This won't happen:

18. The free stuff is albums from local record stores and useful apps and not just an endless sea of daytime sponsor liquor.

Sixth street during SXSW, approximately.
Sixth street during SXSW, approximately.
Flickr user James Cridland

17. You might be able to walk down a street now and again, like all the other weeks in Austin.

16. No three-hour waiting to get into a venue to see a band who may or may not be playing -- you might get to see all the bands you want.

15. The Subhumans are playing

Cradle to the Grave


14. Expected temperature for this weekend: 70s and sunny, instead of one million degrees. Austin is a meat furnace during SXSW.   13. Every time you look at the lineup, there's something you hadn't noticed before that you want to see.

12. Taco cannon wars.

11. No stage will be sponsored by Doritos, or made up to look like a giant Doritos vending machine.

10. Instead of a keynote speaker, there is something called an "Air Sex Championship."

9. Some of the bands on the planet won't be playing. All killer, no filler.

8. All the food was curated by a frankly insane man renowned for his barbecuing skills, and he's not allowed any barbecue in except his own.

7. The "no bullshit" part of the slogan is really true. Nothing feels like a scam or an oversell. For example, if a band is playing a DJ set rather than a full show, that's made abundantly clear.

6. The VIP area has vintage arcade games.

5. There's a VIP area off away from the front of the stage, so we might get to hang out with normal people in GA and not have our view obscured.

4. We're told there will be wrestling.

3. Also apparently there's a cocktail bar on-site.

25 Ways Fun Fun Fun Fest is Better than SXSW
Flickr user thetaxhaven

2. It's designed to be enjoyable for music fans rather than networking professionals.

1. A pass doesn't cost the entire GDP of a small South American country.

See also: -50 Don'ts For Your ACL Festival Weekend -Five WTF Examples of Marketing at SXSW -The 100 Best Texas Songs: The Complete List

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