The two-day Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin this past weekend wasn't anything close in scale to the city's two main musical events - the Austin City Limits Festival or South By Southwest - but what it lacked in size and big-name bands, it more than made up for in intimacy and accessibility. Set up in diminutive Waterloo Park just steps from the State Capitol, the festival featured three stages, two of which were split down the middle so that one band could set up while the other was playing, resulting in minimal downtime. Stage 1 featured indie bands, Stage 2 had punk and hardcore, and Stage 3 offered DJ's, MC's, and the occasional instrumental outfit. The crowd was mostly sub-30, even sub-20, thanks to both the adventurous booking policy and the very reasonable admission: $60 for a two-day pass, which worked out to less than a dollar per act.
I spent the vast majority of my time at Stage 1, where there lots of exciting new discoveries, starting with the very first act I saw: Toronto's violin and vocal sampler Final Fantasy (otherwise known as Owen Pallett). Following were a pair of Austin bands: engaging rockers Okkervil River and the all-instrumental Explosions in the Sky, who reminded me of Mogwai back when I saw them at SXSW in 2002. In between was Of Montreal, Athens, GA's answer to Arcade Fire, with stage projections and over-the-top costumes. And, that was all Day One.