Wednesday, March 14, 2012
35 Denton evolves as the not-so-little fest that could
We saw the festival bloom this year. It took a little rain.
DENTON 35 Denton was prolonged a few days longer than expected, but the music festival officially wraps up Wednesday night with The Jesus Mary Chain performing at the North Texas State Fairgrounds, bringing to an end what must be considered a benchmark year for the festival.
It felt like a graduation for 35 Denton. After all, this was the fourth year for the event in North Texas’ quintessential college town. And like most who’ve spent some formative time in Denton, the 35 crew has had four years filled with experimentation – with different venues and names, prices and policies – but what we experienced in 2012 really felt like a finished product and was hopefully a glimpse of what’s to come for the festival moving forward.
Crowds were huge. Venues had lines that wrapped around the block by 10 most nights, with people filing in and out of storefronts on the downtown square all weekend long. We even overheard the argument that this year’s fest was “almost too good,” because of how busy things were. That’s not a bad problem to have. Sure, a few lines were a bit excruciating, but the bands on stage were worth the waiting moments.
Be it Bun B or Devin The Dude’s rain-drenched sets, Best Coast sticking up for Texas women’s rights on stage, or Built To Spill filling the headlining spot Sunday evening, the national main stage acts delivered. And the national performances at Denton's bars and restaurants were well received, too. The Hood Internet’s full blown on-stage dance party at Hailey’s comes to mind as a particularly fascinating show.
But it was really the local artists who came away as the big winners this weekend. We saw Sore Losers Saturday afternoon and we're already craving more. We saw acts like Spooky Folk and RTB2 bolster their reputation as Denton all-stars, and witnessed the early stages of a star being born in Jessie Frye.
Even the unofficial day shows and house parties were crowded around the city, and they too featured some high quality acts. Finally, we have seen the Denton music and art scene bloom.
This year’s 35 Denton was the realization of the dream that founder Chris Flemmons had back in 2009. His idea was that the festival should both celebrate and promote the Denton music scene, exposing big names acts to the city and vice versa. Flemmons then relinquished his role as head honcho of 35 Denton earlier this year, and for the first time, he played onstage at the festival in the Baptist Generals. It was a graduation indeed.
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- Chef Tim Love brings fine dining to the Denton Square with Queenie's Steakhouse
- Denton's Bavarian beer house, Gerhard's, gets stamp of approval from German natives
- Restaurant review: J&J's Pizza stands the test of time in Denton