Well, it’s no secret anymore–one of Austin’s most infamous yearly music festivals, Fun Fun Fun Fest (FFFF), has officially announced that they will be taking a year off. The festival will supposedly continue next year, but there is a large amount of speculation that it will completely dissolve because of the large corporate takeover the company has faced.
Ever since FFFF and Transmission Events were acquired by Stratus Properties‘ CEO Beau Armstrong back in May 2016, the large LA-style corporation seems to have distorted the festival’s unique Austin culture by nationalizing the once-local brand. Stratus Properties owns several other corporate structures in Austin, such as the W Hotel, and shortly after merging with Transmission Events, the future of FFF Fest is in jeopardy. Coincidence? Possibly. Or it could it be the seizing of local businesses into the hand of big businesses for profit. What do you guys think?
According to the The Austin Chronicle, the festival first began deteriorating when the two companies split over a dispute on how much focus the business should put on club shows. As a result, former owners Graham Williams and James Moody left Transmission Events to start a new booking company called Margin Walker Presents.
Let’s rewind to the fact that FFFF is losing its local culture; according to the same article, Stratus executives are trying to sell FFFF to national brands such as Live Nation. Austin’s music industry has built its Live Music Capital of the World title by doing exactly the opposite. Local is what makes Austin.. AUSTIN!
There is talk that if FFFF continues, Stratus will move it to Halloween weekend in 2017, but will this compete too much with Sound on Sound Fest on Nov. 4-6? This could be another barricade to the festival continuing.
The canceling of FFFF may be called a one-time thing, but connecting all the dots, it seems that Austin might be saying farewell to the festival for good. Hopefully the big-business takeover will attempt to help preserve one of Austin’s most unique music festivals, but its fate is in the air.