North Texas Daily

A weekend full of music leads to a $3,500 local charity donation

A weekend full of music leads to a $3,500 local charity donation

Local band Biographies plays a set at The Rabbit Hole as a part of Band Togther Denton. Sara Carpenter

A weekend full of music leads to a $3,500 local charity donation
January 25
14:05 2017

Kyle Martin | Senior Staff Writer

Alec Spicer | Staff Writer

Two days, 10 houses, 60 bands and hundreds of Denton music lovers gathered together to form this past weekends’ first Band Together Denton festival. The show celebrated the house venue scene throughout the city and the variety of talent in Denton’s music scene while also raising $3,500 for Mentor Denton. 

What started as a celebratory house show seven months ago quickly blossomed its way into becoming much more this past weekend.

After Tiffany Youngblood, a Denton County Volunteer and Marketing Coordinator, found herself planning a last minute house show at her own home in May 2016, she set her mind on something bigger.

The original plan was for a one-day festival at a smaller number of venues, but after a surge in interest over the months spent planning, the festival grew.

“It was originally supposed to just be 15 or 20 bands, then the next thing I know we received 120 applications from artists to perform,” Youngblood said.

In the early stages of the process, the UNT alumnus thought it was important to figure out a way to combine two of her most important passions: music and volunteer work.

“Tiffany messaged me on Facebook with the idea last summer and I immediately replied,” festival co-founder Emily Cline said.

With this connection, Band Together Denton was born.

All that was missing was an organization to partner with, one which Youngblood and Cline came to decide would be Mentor Denton. Cline, a local music blogger and photo editor for the Dentonite, a Denton-based blog, was more than willing to team up.

They said that neither of them expected interest in the festival to grow at such a rapid rate.

“People were so willing to support charity and local music,” Cline said.

Friday night lights

Closing out the night’s shows at Hettie Hacienda, a roughly 800 square-foot house close to the Denton Courthouse off of McKinney Street, was Denton band Dome Dwellers. The trio blended math-rock and indie styles while the living room of the house was packed to the brim. After the show, steam and dank smells escaped through the doorways of the living room and kitchen. As is normal at any given house show, people tend to vibe with the music and can get hot and sweaty.

“The bands that I see at house shows are the most inspiring to me, as far as being a musician. It’s pretty intimate,” bassist Adam Sewell said. “Seeing a band affects you a lot differently when it’s five feet in front of you.”

Dome Dwellers began in 2012 as a music project put together by three friends in college while attending UNT. Its original members were English senior David Gore, Michael Slack, a 2015 UNT alumnus with an undergraduate degree in printmaking and studio art, and one other member who is no longer a part of the band. Gore and Slack toured across the west coast as a duo for a short time. But now, with Sewell in on bass, Dome Dwellers is a trio again.  

Local band Monogamizer plays a set at Load-In as a part of Band Together Denton. Sara Carpenter

Hettie Hacienda was festive and animated on this Friday night. “Standing-room only” would be an understatement, with several folks finding a place perched on the countertops, arching over the crowd among the kitchen cabinets.

Many in attendance had made stops at some of the other four venues that were hosting shows for the night. Public relations senior Kayla Whatley, was volunteering at the ticket sales table, just outside the kitchen door of the Hettie Hacienda.

Tickets were $5 for a venue pass, $15 for a one day and $25 for a two-day pass. One-day and two-day passes were all access to any of the 10 venues.

“I’ve never heard of anything quite like this,” Whatley said. “I think it’s a good way to bring awareness to the house show scene.”

Like many in the Denton music scene, house shows are where many start to build a following. Because there is no age requirement at these house venues, nearly anyone and everyone shows out to such events. Dome Dwellers is no exception to that tradition.

“That’s how we got started,” Gore said. “We just started out playing house shows.”

When the goal as an artist is to make your art seen, exposure is a key to success. House shows offer exposure for bands wanting to make a name for themselves. At these shows, bands get to perform, mingle with attendees and sometimes even sell some merch.

“When it’s the right house show,” guitarist and vocalist Slack said. “It’s hard to pass up.”

More than expected

Though initial plans were for a one day show with a modest lineup, Youngblood and Cline ultimately decided to extend the festival into two days with ten houses and 60 bands featured. Youngblood said while diversity was a priority when it came to choosing bands, it was no easy task.

“We listened to every application’s Bandcamp, Soundcloud and Facebook before making a decision,” Youngblood said.  

From rap to jazz to noise rock, the festival lineup showcased a wide variety of music present in the DFW area.

Although ecstatic about how well the event came together, Cline said she had worries as well.

“My biggest fear was that no one would show up or that we would have technical issues,” Cline said.

Other attendees felt the festival provided a new opportunity for Denton, praising Youngblood and Cline for their originality.

“They did an awesome job with the festival,” guitarist Corbin Childs said after his band Ella Minnow’s set at Jagoe House.  “Everything was on time and went really smoothly.”

While Youngblood and Cline spearheaded what came to be an organized, well-received festival, their team of volunteers was a necessity. Some volunteers, however, saw the experience as a privilege they were excited to be a part of.

“I recently moved to Arlington and was feeling really disconnected from Denton Music,” said Ashley Givens, a front door volunteer at Load-In. “I figured this was a great way to help out. And for a great cause, too.”

For others, the Band Together has given them a sense of hope for the future of the music scene in Denton. As the festival came to a close and many of the attendees spent their weekend bouncing from house to house, one thing was clear to them — the support and gratitude for local music and for supporting Denton was alive and well.

From under-aged to middle-aged, Band Together Denton solidified that the continued support for Denton’s music is ever-present.

“I’ve been coming to house shows since I went to UNT back in the early 90s,” UNT alumnus John Bush said. “This festival reminds me a lot of what the music scene here was like back then — vibrant.”

Featured Image: Local band Biographies plays a set at The Rabbit Hole as a part of Band Together Denton. Sara Carpenter

About Author

Alec Spicer

Alec Spicer

Alec is the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily.

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