FYF Fest, originally the Fuck Yeah Fest, hit ten this year with an impressive if irregular past and the widespread view that FYF had grown up. Prior to last weekend's edition, founder Sean Carlson spoke with The Daily Swarm in an extended interview. It includes a number of points about how Carlson is "Taking DIY Spirit to the Next Level Without F***ing Up" most of which focus on the fan experience.
FYF Fest 2012 Promo Trailer
Founder Sean Carlson launched Fuck Yeah Fest in 2003 and it went through some serious ups and downs. FYF partnered with Coachella presenters Goldenvoice a couple of years back and, judging from media coverage, that partnership has paid off in a better managed event.
In an interview with Eric Drucker it became clear that FYF Fest's success is likely due to Carlson's focus on the fans as well as the bands:
"I started to realize that I’m hurting the fans by making it cheap...and that’s when we brought in Goldenvoice. Paul and I met and we decided to make it a better experience. That’s obviously going to bring the price up, because we’re building a larger infrastructure, but they did a great job."
"The fan experience is massively important. I’m always going to get heat from kids because it’s $99 now for a two-day pass, versus $20 three years ago, but if it was $20, it would be miserable. There would be no water misters, there would be no shade infrastructure, there would be no Port-A-Johns. 500 kids would be stoked, and the rest wouldn’t want to be there."
Though Carlson still thinks big he's shifted his sights to putting on the "best show possible":
"For the FYF Fest, I don’t want to take the biggest risk any more; I want to put on the favorite show for the fans and myself. I want them to think about it every day of the summer and just get excited. That’s my goal."
In discussing the experience as a whole Carlson made some interesting comments about age as well before summing up his core goal:
"I’m not thinking about selling out a year in advance or doing two weekends at all – I’m thinking about what’s making it a better fan experience and a better band experience..."
"How do we make it a smoother festival? How do I make the 35-year-old watch a band and be next to a 16-year-old kid and not be uncomfortable?"
"Coachella is one of the few festivals in this country where you feel comfortable. There are other festivals around the country...if you’re older, you feel uncomfortable, you feel alienated, and you don’t want to be there. I want the fans to be able to stand next to each other and have a good time."
"I just want this to be a better festival experience."
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Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.