When Austin started billing itself as the Live Music Capital of the World, it forgot the first rule of nicknames: You don’t get to give them to yourself. And sure enough, the declaration had unintended consequences. As soon as it went into effect, every taco shack and barbecue joint in town decided it too needed to be a live music venue. So now you can’t eat an enchilada plate in Austin without having to endure some songwriter who should have left his guitar in his dorm room when he got out of college. These days, a corollary slogan begs a new bumper sticker: Live Music Can Ruin Just About Anything.
But this weekend’s Fun Fun Fun Fest represents the dog that wags the tail, not the other way around. It’s driven by Austin’s Red River scene, the four-block stretch of garage rock, punk, and indie pop clubs running from Sixth Street to just shy of Waterloo Park, FFF’s home since it began in 2006. By then the strip was already the heart of live music in Austin, a place where tattooed misfits mixed with button-downed hipsters the way hippies and rednecks used to blend at the Armadillo. “What FFF books is my concept,” says festival mastermind Graham Williams, the longtime Austin talent booker who turned Red River club Emo’s into one of the country’s most important punk