With the blast of a $100,000 taco cannon, Auditorium Shores in downtown Austin kicked off the seventh annual Fun Fun Fun Fest Nov. 2-4. A now integral, anticipated segment of the “international rock nerd festival circuit” according to the official Fun Fun program and weekend guide, 142 musicians and comedians were separated by genre onto four stages labeled by color, filling a solid three days with music and laughter. Ranging from death metal to rap to indie folk rock, the diverse scope of entertainment drew individuals from every walk of life, defying festival stereotypes based on age, gender, music preferences or social boundaries.
“I saw a guy walking around dressed up like a devil wearing butt-less chaps with a girl only wearing paint and a feather headdress,” festival attendee Will Jarvis said. “It was crazy.”
Scores of similar stories of bizarre sightings were excitedly shared amongst festival goers as they milled about the grounds. In addition to live music and stand up comedy, attendees had virtually endless opportunities for entertainment from Anarchy Championship Wrestling, a PlayStation gaming trailer and a massive half-pipe in the middle of the grounds.
“[Fun Fun] has a lot of different things other festivals don’t have that make it interesting,” Jarvis said. “Like the half pipe, people wrestling and the graffiti wall, there’s a lot of stuff that give it a little extra.”
Keeping with the trendy, off-color and quirky people and theme of the weekend, Fun Fun kept festival attendees up to speed with changes in festival lineups and announcements about Fun Fun happenings with their downloadable iPhone and Android app, shooting out push notifications written in text-message lingo.
“I loved the way Fun Fun utilized social media,” attendee Austin Karber said. “Their tweets were hilarious, and the way they sent out the text messages through the app was brilliant, it was really different.”
In addition to quirky attractions, rows of vendors set up miniature shops along the outer edges of the grounds selling concert posters, festival merchandise, first aid supplies and merchandise from their personal businesses, such as Guadeloupe street’s Buffalo Exchange.
“This is our first year out here [at Fun Fun], and I’m really excited about it,” Buffalo Exchange manager Christina Carhart said. “We’ve been selling a lot of sunglasses and jewelry. It’s been really good. We’ve been surrounded by friendly booth neighbors that have made it a lot of fun.”
While business owners manned personal spaces, paid workers and volunteers kept the rest of the festival details in check, manning bag check stations at the front, passing out event program guides and security guards.
In exchange for free admission to the festival, volunteer Siyllo Indika said she negotiated working six hours on day three with the volunteer coordinator to get in the gate day two, a move Indika said allowed her to see some of her favorite live acts such as rapper A$AP Rocky and soak up the festival atmosphere.
“I love coming to festivals because the people are always so interesting,” Indika said. “You see all different kinds of people, they’re dressed different, and then it’s like foreign people as well mixed in with Texans from all over the state. The people seriously make the festival, but the lineups all weekend were also sick.”
Daily lineups ending with headliners such as Girl Talk, hip-hop legends RUN DMC and up-and-coming indie folk-rock bands such as Head and the Heart, attendees across the board said they were beyond pleased.
Orange stage weekend finale was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, who said to have made attendees Darby Kendal and Chloe Dillmar’s Fun Fun experience by pulling them up on stage to dance with him while he performed his single “Man on Fire.”
“I was like ‘oh my god, he grabbed our hands,’” Kendal said. “I was thinking, I have to get up there no matter what. There was so much adrenaline, it was so awesome.”
Both Kendal and Dillmar said they couldn’t believe their wonderful luck, and would not be forgetting the high moment anytime soon.”
“Getting to dance with Edward Sharpe, I can’t even explain it,” Dillmar said. “This has been the highlight of any concert or festival I’ve ever been to.”