As the South by Southwest Music Festival kicked off a week ago, Mohawk owner James Moody was busy managing the slate of parties his events company, Transmission Events, was running throughout town. He was also looking ahead to big news related to his own festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest: Austin real estate firm Stratus Proprieties, which counts among its holdings the 3,000-capacity ACL Live and the attached W Hotel, had invested in Transmission.
The deal brings Transmission an infusion of cash (read our story from last week about the deal at statesman.com). Does this mean that the November fest, which now draws between 15,000 and 20,000 at its current home on Auditorium Shores, will expand to something similar to the Austin City Limits Music Festival? Moody says no, it’s not about growing the fest in that way. “We would like to grow within the confines of our spot on Auditorium Shores, which we like,” he says. “Fun Fun wouldn’t be Fun Fun at large scale.”
The added capital, he says, will allow the festival to do things like add employees and pursue acts on their wish list — think dreamed-of reunions more than arena rock acts. “It’s always been about trying to score the interesting name,” Moody says.
He did talk about possible growth outside Auditorium Shores. Moody said he could someday envision a Fun Fun Fun Fest in another city, though he’s not planning anything like that right now. “We don’t have any aspirations of running a mainstream, large-scale music festival, because that’s already being done really well,” he says.
Though the deal doesn’t include an increased role for Transmission in booking ACL Live, Moody says that they’ve been doing more shows there — including recently sold-out shows from British trio the xx and a rare appearance last year from Neutral Milk Hotel frontman Jeff Mangum — and they are likely to continue to do so.
On a related note, Moody launched another business endeavor last week as one of the partners in Queue, a new ticketing system he hopes will make life easier for bookers. He says the idea came about in response to a series of disconnects in the live music business — calendars, ticketing tools and promotion tools lacking connection and organization. “We have a lot of duct tape,” he says.
Queue will seek to remedy that, creating a system that venues will be able to use from the early stages of booking a band, all the way through the selling of tickets, even at the door. On the consumer side, the system will mean tickets purchased via a mobile site can be stored in Apple’s Passbook app, and that will call and guest lists will appear on an iPad at the door. People buying tickets at the door at Mohawk and other clubs using the system will also be able to pay with a credit card, which wasn’t possible before. There is no paper element to the system.