FYF 2016 is finally here (thank you, music gods) and we’re here with your insider-rundown on all the best shirts, posters and etc. for one of our favorite fests of the entire year. Who better to give you highlights on the must haves this year than Adrien Parker, merch manager for FYF, Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, Coachella and basically every major fest we’re attending this year. We talked with the man himself to break it all down and give us the inside scoop.
The MAT Magazine: Tell us about yourself!
Adrien Parker: I’m a manager for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival merchandise department. Our department runs the merchandise operations for Coachella, Stagecoach, FYF Fest, The Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama….Firefly in Dover, Delaware as well as a myriad of other festivals/shows Goldenvoice promotes. What I do ranges from counting inventory, settling with the artists when we sell their product, and overseeing projections and retail sales data for whatever festival we’re handling at the time. I’m also a graphic designer specializing in admats, clothing, logos, and marketing materials.
TMM: You also help out/work at The Glass House? Tell us about that!
Adrien Parker: In 2008 I became a full-time employee of both the Glass House Concert Hall and the Glass House Record Store. I oversaw all ticketing aspects for the venue and worked the record store full time. I’m a little more hands off now, due to festival season being in full swing, but I still help out with ticketing and do all of the graphic design for Glass House flyers.
TMM: Tell us about the setup this year for FYF!
Adrien Parker: This year at FYF we’ve got two merchandise stands. We normally operate with one large centralized location, but this year the site layout is a bit different, and so we’ve got to roll with the punches as the show grows and attracts more kids. Our main tent near the Lawn Stage will stock artist merchandise and the majority of our event merchandise. This including some pretty rad limited items. Our satellite tent will be along the concourse of the Coliseum and will stock only festival merchandise.
TMM: How would you describe your job to aliens?
Adrien Parker: I count objects and then sell said objects for paper to people so they aren’t naked.
TMM: What other fests do you do merch for?
Adrien Parker: Coachella, Stagecoach, FYF Fest, Camp Flog Gnaw, Panorama NYC, Firefly Music Festival, the Hangout Music Festival. Essentially any festival Goldenvoice produces I’ll likely be there!
TMM: How did you get into this gig!?
Adrien Parker: I actually started out working at the Fox Theater in Pomona, California doing merchandise about 7 years ago. The Fox is one of the larger venues out of Los Angeles that Goldenvoice books shows at. After that, I “transferred” over to the Glass House and worked there for about 6 years. Coachella, The Glass House, and Pomona are all musically related in a sense when it comes to the Tollett brothers (Perry and Paul T.), Goldenvoice, Coachella, etc. I wish it was a more exciting story, but I kind of fell into doing it. I was asked one year if I wanted to work Coachella, and I said yes!
TMM: What’re the most in demand FYF items or merch that you expect people to be most excited about this year?
Adrien Parker: We’ve got a few previews up on the FYF Fest Facebook, so people can check them out before they buy merch. We also have all of the merch listed with prices in the FYF Fest official mobile app. Several designs were done by Luke McGarry, who does a lot of the poster art and only drawings for FYF Fest and FYF Presents events. His stuff will fly off of the shelves.
TMM: What tips do you have for buying something because it’s always a zoo trying to get something in the middle of a giant festival? For example, do you recommend buying something as soon as the event starts or going in the middle of a set?
Adrien Parker: I would wait until around mid-day on day number one. Last year as gates opened, we were flooded and lines were 10+ people deep. Once the initial rush and excitement calms down, it’s a much more lax environment to browse. The only downside is that some of the very limited items may already sold out. So it all depends on your priorities I suppose!
TMM: Do you ship or set things aside to pickup later in the day?
Adrien Parker: We do that at the Coachella Record Store due to the size of the festival and the nature of what they’re purchasing, but for tees and hoodies it’s too much of a hassle. Plus with as much product as we have we never have the space to aside aside held products for people to pickup later during the day.
TMM: What festival are you most excited to attend and to work at?
Adrien Parker: Coachella is one of my favourite festivals to attend and work. The team of people who make that show run are like a family to me, so it’s always fun to work and come back. It’s so interesting to see the grounds transform from an empty ass polo field to a giant festival. So much time and thought gets put into making something of that size run as smoothly as it does and I love being a part of that. We’ve partnered with several out of state festivals as well, and so it’s also a lot of fun to travel and work with new people.
TMM: What’s the worst thing you could do if you were a customer trying to stand in line? I bet you have some good stories!
Adrien Parker: When you come up to the merch tent, don’t ask the cashier “Can I see that black t-shirt?” and point to it. Black is one the most common color for t-shirts and chances are we have a plethora of different shirts that are black. And it always helps to be a bit more specific in design. Kindness and respect are extremely important as a patron. Don’t cut in line, don’t be rude, have a good time!
TMM: What bands are you most excited for at FYF?
Adrien Parker: I love AIR, so you can imagine my excitement when I first saw the lineup. LCD Soundsytem is pretty rad too. We had them at both Coachella and Panorama this year, but they always put on a great show.
TMM: How much time do you get to enjoy the festival outside of managing the booths?
Adrien Parker: Honestly not that much! I’m generally at the merchandise tent all day to oversee inventory and settle artists out and make sure nothing goes haywire. Sometimes I’ll have little windows to sneak away during the day, but generally speaking I’m usually at the tent all day.
TMM: Other interesting facts or things we should know about yourself?
Adrien Parker: I used to run and operate an all vinyl record label called Robot Maintenance Records. I played guitar and sang in a psychedelic rock band called Phaxanation & the Dust Kickers for about 5 years. I played drums in a noise rock (ala Lightning Bolt) 2 piece band called no fun. I collect vinyl, merchandise, and have a huge collection of instruments at my loft. I also do a bunch of freelance graphic design work. But mostly, records and t-shirts are tight.
Make sure to follow Adrien on his Instagram @anaphax to keep up with his insanely cool life and career, and hit up the FYF merch to see some of his own handy work! Follow our Instagram @thematmagazine for live updates on FYF.
Words by Phillip Gutgesell, Photos provided by Adrien Parker’s Instagram