Music Scene Shake-up
The times, they are a-changin'. For nearly a decade, Transmission Events and Fun Fun Fun Fest have been synonymous with two names: James Moody and Graham Williams. As of this week, the dynamic duo are out, and Transmission has been acquired by Stratus Properties, which went from being a minority owner of the company to being its sole proprietor.
Stratus Properties, which now owns 100 percent of Transmission Events and Fun Fun Fun Fest, also owns the W Austin and music venues ACL Live and 3Ten and is hoping to produce and sponsor more private and corporate events through Transmission. Bobby Garza, who has been in charge of Transmission's day-to-day activities since 2013, now serves as manager. In regards to Fun Fun Fun, you can expect an announcement with more details in June.
In the wake of this news, Williams has already launched a music booking and talent company called Margin Walker Presents (the name comes from a Fugazi EP). The Mohawk, Sidewinder, and other spaces in Austin — not to mention venues in San Antonio and Dallas — will continue to feature shows booked by Williams under the Margin Walker name. On the festival front, Williams has noted he has something planned that will closely resemble Fun Fun Fun Fest.
It's not just Williams that will be making the jump to Margin Walker — Transmission veterans Rosa Madriz, Ryan Henry, Kris Youmans, and Dan Holloway will serve as talent buyers, while Ian Orth, Bianca Flores, Kayla Dockery, and Chris Sakaguchi will form the marketing team at the new company.
Williams says that his partner in crime Moody will be focusing on his company, Guerilla Suit, and The Mohawk, of which he is also a founder. According to Williams, Moody also has a new bar on East Sixth Street in the works.
To help paint a picture of what's to come, CultureMap caught up with Williams for a quick Q&A.
CultureMap: The split between you and Transmission Events/Stratus Properties seems amicable. Was there ever a moment where you thought you may stay on and not start something new? Or were each party's goals just too different?
Graham Williams: Too different. For a long time, I tried to make it work as one thing, but in the end, as they've said in interviews, they're a real estate company and we're a music company. It boiled down to just oil and water. Nothing personal with the staff there, just needed to make it work. We want to grow and build what we love and focus on entertainment, building the scene we're a part of, etc.
CM: What are you most excited about with Margin Walker Presents?
GW: Options! Being able to control it top to bottom with a staff of 100 percent music and creative minds that all want the same thing is really exciting. Expanding to Dallas and San Antonio was something we had really wanted to do and want to grow on that concept.
CM: Should anything different be expected since many Transmission shows are now Margin Walker shows?
GW: Not really, no. In fact, the old saying "more of the same" is usually negative, but in this case, doing more of the great shows and live music we produce is the goal and what we aim to do.
CM: You've noted that you’re planning something similar to Fun Fun Fun Fest. Any details on when that will happen?
GW: We'll be announcing a whole lot very soon and are super excited about it. Just need to sort the next steps out with press and all that when you announce any fest, but be on the look out!
CM: Any idea as to what will happen with Fun Fun Fun Fest?
GW: I have no idea. That's a Stratus Properties question. I know that traditionally tickets went on sale this week (mid-May), with early birds on sale beginning of year and tons of press up to this point. Not to mention months of booking. Last I heard they were thinking on what to do for 2016. I know they like the event and concept and brand, but I'm not sure what their plans are and don't want to speak for them.