Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Preview: Deep Ellum is back to its musical roots with Index Fest this weekend
The owner of trees says the fest truly represents the spirit of his neighborhood.
DEEP ELLUM Everyone knows the story of the rise and fall of Deep Ellum. Those too young to have experienced the art district’s heyday seem poised for a revival. And those who lived through that piece of eclectic history have been encouraged by what's happened down there recently.
Clint Barlow can speak testimony to that. As the owner of music venue Trees, Barlow watches new vibrancy spring up in the neighborhood every day and considers it his duty to perpetuate the artistic flow. That’s why he agreed to host Index Fest, a two-day indie excursion with live performances, local grub, and the festive feeling that distinguishes Deep Ellum.
“I think the bands are great, and it’s a great opportunity to be a part of,” Barlow said. “Everything we could possibly do seemed like a good thing immediately when we started talking about it.”
October 5 and 6, Index Fest will take over the 2700 block of Elm Street and extend behind the Trees complex, with the two main stages set up outdoors in an adjacent parking lot. Food trucks will be stationed on the perimeter of the parking lot to feed hipsters during the 12 hours of expected partying each day. Lounging areas with tables and chairs will be set up outside.
The festival boasts a solid yet diverse lineup ranging in genre from hip-hop to folk and all the rock that exists in between. Headliners like Portugal. The Man; Grimes; GZA; and Surfer Blood will perform outside while local and regional bands will play indoors on Trees’ stage.
Barlow anticipates that more than 3,000 music enthusiasts will come through Index each day, giving Trees ample exposure to what many would consider an uncharacteristic crowd. Trees has long been considered a hard rock 'n' roll venue, an image that Barlow says is hard to break. There’s nothing wrong with rock, Barlow says; he’s rock guy and “damn proud of it.” But his beef with this stereotype – as well as the glorification of yesteryear Deep Ellum – is that it portrays his venue as narrowly focused. And that couldn’t be less true.
“A lot of people say, ‘I remember when Trees used to be so alternative.’ But they choose to remember what they want,” Barlow said. “The thing they don’t understand is rock is rock – whether it’s indie or metal – it’s all based on that.”
Barlow said the variety of shows that come through Trees is attributable to multiple avenues of booking. In the coming months, the legendary venue will showcase indie popsters Tennis, electronic innovator Ott, and throwback rock group Everclear. Overall, Barlow’s goal is to fill a cultural void by tuning like minds into the positive energy radiating under the rubble of bitter forget-me-nots. And Index Fest is one way of accomplishing that.
“Everyone talks about how cool things used to be down here, but no one is thinking of doing anything about it,” Barlow said. “The truth of the matter is this kind of [festival] belongs in Deep Ellum.”
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