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Chill’n-n-Denton’s inaugural year hints at promising future

Chill’n-n-Denton’s inaugural year hints at promising future

The first annual Chill'n-N-Denton Festival included seven musical acts, food trucks, and vendors. LoveSick Mary were one of the seven musical acts that performed. Victoria Nguyen

Chill’n-n-Denton’s inaugural year hints at promising future
December 05
22:39 2017

Concert-goers approach the gravel driveway and see small, slightly worn buildings down the way.

The site of a brand-new musical extravaganza — best known as the home of the haunted Parker House attraction — welcomed a new group of patrons.

The Parker Plantation hosted an all-day concert Saturday called Chill’n-n-Denton, an event featuring seven bands, a “special video appearance” by Snoop Dogg and an array of vendors.

“I emailed our press release to every city around us,” said Parker Plantation co-owner Ashley East. “I emailed everybody that might get the word out.”

The concert was the first of its kind for the Denton staple, which is popular for its already established presence as a haunted house.

“The haunted house we do six weeks out of the year, but other than that, we do this,” East said. “We promoted this on social media and emailed our press release around.”

While Chill’n-n-Denton is a new venture for East and her co-owner husband Mark, the pair is not unfamiliar with running events and hosting musical performances.

“He used to own a sound and lighting company in his 20s,” East said. “He also ran a club in Louisiana, so he likes this kind of stuff.”

With the property’s haunted house success and their extended venue background, the two thought to expand on the uses of the Parker Plantation.

“Why don’t we do the haunted house for those six weeks, but then do shows throughout the year?” East said.

They are also open to renting it out for private events such as parties, gatherings and other kinds of get-togethers.

“The Dallas Film Institute has actually rented out the haunted house to film scenes sometimes,” East said. “We started renting out different areas and then thought of this. We hope to get it to be a three-day festival eventually.”

East was hopeful for the event and expected to nearly fill their capacity. As the day went on, however, it seemed many Denton residents weren’t aware of the event.

“We heard about this on Facebook and saw that Snoop Dog was appearing, so we just came out,” kinesiology senior Nash Bayoud said. “They could have maybe used more advertising though. I’m not sure most people know about this.”

With a small crowd and carrying nothing but their yoga mat and personal items, Bayoud and her friend Alex Denham weren’t letting anything ruin their time.

“We didn’t even really look at the lineup to be honest,” Denham said. “Today was just a great day, and the weather was nice, so we figured, ‘Hell yeah, why not enjoy it?'”

Bands were happy to play on such a beautifully crafted stage, rocking a powerful 100,000 watts and featuring a dazzling light show.

“The outdoor environment is cool, and there’s a great lineup as well,” Azuline lead singer Chris Koliba said. “It’s a pretty big stage too.”

Koliba enjoyed the family-friendly nature of the concert, which allowed his 6-year-old daughter to watch him perform for the first time.

“It really helped out a lot,” Koliba said. “It’s the first time my kid has been able to see me since we usually play at 21-and-up bars.”

As the band following Azuline began setting up on stage, some of the audience members made their way over to the different food trucks such as The Dumpling Bros and Coochie’s BBQ. There was also the option of a small cabana setup housing Mrs. Lively’s Southern Cuisine.

“They reached out to me on Facebook, and I figured I might as well try,” Coochie’s BBQ owner Thomas Couture said. “I usually set up at [the bar] East Side. Business is really good there, and I have a good following there, but coming here is a good change of scenery too.”

Husband and wife duo Richard and Laura Barnett brought their music production company, ODTSDnB Entertainment, to the event as well. Based out of Denton, the two were happy to play a part in the festival.

“My crew and our production company isn’t represented here, but we’ve been helping a bit behind the scenes as much as possible,” Richard said.

The pair commonly have shows at Backyard on Bell and on the Square. They also have high hopes for the Parker Plantation.

“I think this situation right here could really be a cool spot for Denton once people know what’s going on here,” Richard said.

The Barnetts also did their part in trying to help promote the concert and get the word out.

“I put the owners in touch with the Denton Record-Chronicle and the Dentonite,” Laura said.

The couple did more than promote — Richard and Mark collaborated on building the physical setup of the venue, including the eye-catching stage.

“If you had been out here two weeks ago, you wouldn’t believe it,” Richard said. “None of this was here, and there was s–t everywhere.”

As the festival geared towards its multimedia finale, the memorable performances hinted at a hopeful future for the Parker Plantation, despite a limited crowd during the inaugural year.

“I really think it’s cool to see all of these musical influences coming together,” Richard said.

Featured Image: The inaugural Chill’n-n-Denton Festival included seven musical acts, food trucks and vendors. LoveSick Mary was one of the seven musical acts that performed. Victoria Nguyen

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Austin Wagner

Austin Wagner

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