This weekend your Basic Brunch main Bitch explored 35 Denton
(Instagram link if you want to check out some pictures).
35 Denton (actual website) is a “3-day walk-able music festival programmed in the burgeoning arts corridor of downtown Denton, TX.”
For those of you that do not live in Dallas, Denton is if Austin and Dallas had a baby and that baby was too poor to live in either Dallas or Austin. It’s a little bit of Austin funk mixed with the closeness of a less hippie filled big city. I actually lived in Denton while attending school at UNT so believe me it’s hard to explain but I did the best I could.
35 Denton is the attempted rival of SXSW. Like I said, I lived in Denton for 3 years and honestly I never heard of this festival so it either was created after I left or was never that big of a deal until recently. For a little more in-depth background the Dallas Observer wrote this article really explaining the program and the turmoil it has endured over the year.
Now that all the background has been explained let’s talk about the festival. It takes place all along the downtown Denton square which is a variety of bars, music venues and bouquet like shops. From the epicenter of the festival the farthest you were likely going to walk was 10 minutes down the road. Everything truly was in walking distance. The main stage and what I’m going to call “mini main stage” were the only outdoor venues and to enter and really get up-close and personal with the vendors and bands you needed to buy a ticket (more on that later).
Friday: I didn’t not attend because I was still in Dallas. So the best I can say is Hey! Friday probably happened. I’m sure there were various bands playing music.
Saturday: This day I actually attended but wasn’t able to make it out to the festival grounds till about 1:30 PM. I caught the tail end of The Dreamers, which were pretty good and the first song and a half of DEERPEOPLE which is actually an Oklahoma-based band. I like that they had a flutist and violinist. Really any band that can incorporate “different” instruments automatically wins a point or two in my book. The only reason I left their show was to get booze that wasn’t Miller Lite. I then headed over to Harvest House, which is the newest kid on the block.
Little known facts about Harvest House. It had a soft open the day before the festival started. Additional fun fact, I walked by a few weeks ago to witness that bar being constructed. I would say they came along nicely. Harvest House is also, currently, a beer place. They have 50 beers on tap. I know, from speaking with the bartenders, that eventually (and hopefully quickly) they will expand the rest of the bar and be a fully stocked bar with also juices and teas. Think holistic beer garden. Yep, best description. The inside just bleeds into the outside space which it actually perfect. The only thing that was awful was the bench I sat on. Too high and too angled. My back was killing me.
I believe I listened to some Jason Weems as I sipped my pineapple cider and I found that whole moment extremely enjoyable. Breanna Manzare followed and I was less of a fan so I bounced to the next venue which was J&Js. I was trying to catch Moth Face but I believe I missed them so I watched French 75 instead and they were pretty kick ass. The venue at J&Js is a little like a serial killers basement but they have delicious pizza so I forgive you.
At this point I took a mini break and went home to chill out before coming back for a 7:30 PM show of Ssleeperhold at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio. That place has a piece of human ear on the wall. True story, displayed in a medial container. There is a story behind that which is mounted on the wall. The band after Ssleeperhold weren’t able to show because their van broke down so moved venues again.
From there I went to Andy‘s where I honestly don’t know which band I saw. It was either Vinyl or The Spectacle. Whomever they were they were a little generic. The people I was with were not fans, I thought they were fine. Meh. Different strokes, After that I went to the downstairs bar and hung out there for the remainder of the evening. The people I was with did go up to watch Urizen and loved the shit out of them. They are metal. Mosh pit metal. Something I just don’t do. But I heard they were amazing and my person was the only person moshing until he bumped into a girl and felt awful for it. He also lost his voice. At this point we left the festival.
Sunday: The start of Sunday was a lazy start, meaning I didn’t leave the apartment until 4:00 PM. We wanted to see Sol Kitchen but that didn’t happen. When we got back to the festival we immediately found our way back to Harvest House and watched Sky Window (loved) and Dave Willingham Project (also loved). Sky Window is (or at least was) a strictly instrumental band including a variety of horns. Seriously, loved them so much. Dave Willingham Project was a Reggae band with a mock Lenny Kravitz on guitar and you know what… all over it. I was never a fan of that kind of music but you dreaded white guys won me over.
The only downside to Sunday, besides the extremely late start, was that the weather lied to me! I was dressed for 66 and partially sunny and it quickly changed to 60 and cloudy. I also had to leave to drive back to Dallas so had to cut the evening short but this festival was running to 2:00 AM.
Overview: Tickets ranged from (I believe) $60 for a 3-day pass to $35 for single day passes. I was able to get discounted tickets so I got two 3-day passes for less than one 3-day pass. Neither of those prices include the $2.75 taxes. Also you had to order you tickets online and pickup your wristbands at the main festival gate.
Was it worth the cost? Meh. For the discounted ticket, yeah, sure, I would say we got our money’s worth. But for regular cost I would say don’t bother. This is why I would say don’t bother. If the following years are set up like this one, there is no need to buy the wristbands. You could literally set yourself up in the parking lot the main stage shares and listen to the music. The only benefit of the wristband is to physically get within the gates to get close to the performers and you get to check out the vendors, which there weren’t many of. You don’t need a wristband to get into the other 13 venues since they are all bars. There may have been cover for the other bars that you wouldn’t be required to pay if you had the wristband but I can’t say if that’s true or not. The places I went were cover free.
Considering there are a total of 15 venues that are constantly changing acts almost every hour over the span of 3-days, if you really love music go enjoy the scene and the people watching and the variety of music. There are bands for every taste.