Live & Touring

How A Small Music Festival Revived A Texas Town [It’s Not Austin]

35-denton35 Denton is a local music festival in Denton, TX that features the excessive wealth of local talent in the Denton indie music scene while also including unique headliners. Begun as a SXSW side party for Denton acts, the event eventually relocated to Denton, TX where it has helped revitalize the downtown area.

35 Denton is an excellent example of a locally grown event that can raise a city's brand on a national level.

Michael Seman writes about 35 Denton for The Atlantic Cities as someone who "organized all of the daytime programming for 2010 and 2011." He shares the history of the festival along with quotes from key participants.

35 Denton's most recent season took place March 8 through 11 in Denton, TX a bit NW of Dallas. This schedule overlapped SXSW Interactive but not SXSW Music.

Though 35 Denton is not the only festival in Denton, it builds on the oversize presence of indie bands in this college town. Chris Flemmons founded 35 Denton, a "walkable 4-day music festival programmed in the heart of downtown," with the hope that:

"the festival would be an anchor that could spur a better economy here, maybe better jobs would show up and people would decide to start businesses here."

Begun in 2005 as a SXSW day-party, 35 Denton relaunched in downtown Denton in 2009. Now it attracts up to 10,000 attendees to this town of 110,000.  This volunteer-run festival recently added "its first paid employees" with Flemmons passing on leadership to Kyle La Valley and Natalie Dávila.

Local businesses attribute new downtown energy to the presence and example of 35 Denton. Swash Labs cofounder Josh Berthume stated:

"35 Denton showed me a real role-model of what was possible in Denton and it encouraged me to keep my address here."

35 Denton is a strong example of an entrepreneurial approach to developing a small music festival, initially a side party at SXSW, and creating an event that showcases the local music scene while building a national brand.

Michael Seman also wrote about the revitalizing effect of the Bottletree in Birmingham, Alabama.


Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith blogs about business at Flux Research: Business Changes and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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