North Texas Daily

Art, airtime and acoustic tones

Art, airtime and acoustic tones

September 17
04:11 2015

Matt Payne | Senior Staff Writer


In the festivals third and most ambitious year, Oaktopia is looking to exemplify what Denton has to offer as a community and as a culture.

Street performers, live artists, specialty events and a wider collection of musicians will be bustling around the Square from Sept. 25 through the 27.

Brent Camp, co-owner and operator of the group that organized the event, Monocle Inc., said the festival allows new students and residents to quickly discover the essence of their city.

“What became truly unforgettable is when I started to dive deep into the rich culture of city,” Camp said. “And Oaktopia is a reflection of that.”

Camp’s Partner at Monocle, Matt Battaglia, was equally invested in the organizing the festival this year.

Astronautalis performs during Oaktopia music festival saturday evening at the Wells Fargo Parking lot.

Astronautalis jumped into the crowd during year’s Oaktopia Music Festival, breaking down the barrier between the band and fans. James Coreas | Contributing Photographer

“The first two years, we exclusively featured bands under the genre of EDM and hip-hop, simply because they’ve been the easiest to book,” said Matt Battaglia, camp’s partner at Monocle Inc. “This year, we’ve decided to go all out.”

Battaglia and staff have expanded Oaktopia into a festival characterized by a variety of different genres. Artists will include Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Minus the Bear and alternative groups that have garnered a substantial amount of notoriety.

“You can be a niche festival and appeal to one specific audience,” Battaglia said. “That’s not the city of Denton. Multi-genre festivals are either really successful or they fail, and this one will succeed.”

That success can only be attributed to the overwhelming willingness of the community to elevate Oaktopia into an event unique to the city.

“We didn’t chase after any big-ear companies,” Camp said. “We wanted to keep everything close to home.”

The two have received plenty of support from several local businesses around Denton, including Lucky Lou’s, Hailey’s and Audacity Brew House. Audacity has even crafted a specialty beer for the festival, dubbed as the “Oaktopia Signature Beer” for the three-day event.

Del the Funky Homosapien performed day two of last year's Oaktopia Music Festival. Del perfomed later then expected due to misplaced mixers. James Coreas | Contributing Photographer

Del the Funky Homosapien performing at last year’s Oaktopia Music Festival. Del perfomed later then expected due to misplaced mixers. James Coreas | Contributing Photographer

“It shocks us how much notoriety Oaktopia has gathered. We’ve even got an investor flying in from Australia for the event,” Battaglia said.

Because of its affiliation with Stereo Sound Agency and Denton Skate Supply, Oaktopia will feature a half-pipe built in the middle of downtown Denton. It was designed by professionals and sponsored by popular skate supply company Vans.

“Without the financial support and excite from business owners, the city and community alike, none of this would be possible,” Camp said. “I can only call it a home run.”

Camp and Battaglia consider the collaboration with local artists a critical part of the preparation for the three-day festival. Owner and operator of Otter Illustration Matthew Sallack has labored in preparation of what he calls an “open love letter to Denton.”

Spanning 12.5 feet by 4 feet, “Denton: Not to Scale” is a piece inspired by Martin Handford’s “Where’s Waldo?” series featuring several different shops and areas within the city of Denton.

“I wanted to make something that had a funky Denton vibe, representing the downtown culture as well as music in general,” Sallack said. “I look forward to having the publicity of the mural as well as being there, getting to talk to people about it.”

Sallack has followed the festival since its origin in 2013, first as an attendee and now as a vendor.

After witnessing the efforts of Camp, Battaglia and their staff, Sallack has seen a reflection of his own values.

“Knowing the guys that are running it, I can say that I see myself in them, Sallack said. “Not necessarily having the experience, but figuring it out as they go and being fueled by raw ambition. It’s more than just a music festival where you buy tickets, drink beer and go see the bands and that’s it. Oaktopia has an emphasis on art: live art, installations, art from vendors and interactive elements as well. I love the idea of it not just being a concert, but a whole experience.”

Monocle Inc. is driven on providing an experience to be remembered for years to come. Camp and Battaglia are spiritedly looking forward to the future.

“You’re going to be the one going to ‘90s night at Hailey’s in [his] forties,” Camp said to Battaglia. “Sitting at the bar with Oaktopia as the flagship music festival of D-FW, saying, ’Hey, remember the Oaktopia of 2015? That was really something.’”

Featured Image: Oaktopia Music Festival will take place on West Hickory Street in downtown Denton for the third year in a row. The event includes food trucks, art vendors, and more than 50 local music artists playing shows around the square. James Coreas | Contributing Photographer 

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