When I hear the term “3-Day Music Festival,” usually the big ones in the big cities come to mind (Coachella, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits) then I remember some of the less prominent ones that still draw significant crowds and impressive lineups (Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Sasquatch). Sometimes, a few electronic fests come to mind as an afterthought (Ultra, Electric Daisy). This past weekend, I attended my second consecutive Fun Fun Fun Fest here in Austin. I think this festival still falls under the “best kept secret” category since tickets are easier to attain and the crowd is easier to manage, but over the past few years, the lineups have been outstanding and remarkably diverse. I suspect Fun Fun Fun will continue improving and will eventually develop into a heavyweight after a few more rounds. For now, I’ll cherish the affordable tickets, the shorter beer lines and cleaner porta potties that actually have toilet paper in them. Here are some highlights:
Best No-Brainer: RUN DMC
Obviously, RUN DMC was all the rage at this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest; I’m sure you can imagine the crowd when the first three ticks of “Tricky” resounded through the speakers. Playing their first show together in 13 years and headlining the first night of the festival, an item was crossed off my bucket list and a childhood dream was finally realized. RIP Jam Master Jay; you are missed, but not forgotten.
Funniest: Hannibal Burress
I was fortunate enough to see Hannibal Burress earlier this year at an intimate (and dingy) comedy club; though he recycled material from that show and his “Animal Furnace” album, he was no less original and definitely no less funny. I love how Fun Fun Fun features a comedy stage; it’s a unique way to keep your patrons entertained and amenable in the dusty heat (I know it’s November, but average temperature was above 80 every day and hipsters were definitely sweltering in their black skinny jeans and combat boots). I opted for tshirts, shorts and a handy bandana that shielded me from the Dust Bowl.
Most Entertaining: Nicky Da B
Though Nicky Da B had an early set time on the final day of the festival (approx. 2 pm), he and his crew took no prisoners and performed as if it were time to shut the club down on a typical weekend night (approx. 2 am). Equipped with high energy and erratic, relentless booty shaking, Nicky Da B gave me and my exhausted peers a much-needed jumpstart on Sunday afternoon. Plus, I’d argue that he rivals Girl Talk in terms of highly enthused fans who party with him on stage. Can you even spot him? More elusive than Where’s Waldo!
Most Skilled Performer: Araabmuzik
I just can’t believe how lightning fast and deftly his fingers move. Every beat is precise and purposeful; as if he had an entire high school drumline at his fingertips. My friend Chris wisely commented, “I bet he’d be really good at that Bop It game.” Chris, I think you’re absolutely right.
Best Out of Body Experience: Explosions in the Sky
Being a long time fan of the band and Friday Night Lights, I can’t describe the thoughts going through my head and the stirrings in my stomach as Explosions in the Sky played a full hour of their magnificent catalog with the glowing Austin skyline as a backdrop. I listen to Explosions when I work, read and travel because it’s easier for me to focus on certain activities sans lyrics, but I also love unwinding and falling asleep to their worldless symphonies because they’re so epic and beautiful. Explosions in the Sky is one of the few bands I’d love to watch in a theater, a venue fit for a philharmonic with balcony seating and excellent acoustics. (Andrew Bird and Bon Iver also fit in this category, and yes, I’ve seen both in venues that fit that description).
Other Fun Fun Fun Fest highlights include:
A porta potty photo booth:
A commemorative pin:
Thanks Fun Fun Fun Fest. See ya next year!