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Oaktopia Atmosphere Mixes Traditional Festival-Style with Comfort

Oaktopia Atmosphere Mixes Traditional Festival-Style with Comfort

Festival-goers chat during Oaktopia. Hannah Ridings

Oaktopia Atmosphere Mixes Traditional Festival-Style with Comfort
September 23
20:55 2016

Music festivals are not always seen in every small town, but where Denton is concerned, they are a necessity. Oaktopia has quickly risen to the top of the city’s favorites list and with good reason.

As with every artsy festival event, attendees are able to play by their own rules in many ways. Clothing, hair and everything between is fair game. You can go to a show with just you and your dog or tipsy with a group of friends. You can spend the weekend checking out the free shows or fighting your way through the pit at one of the headliner’s performances. And that’s what makes Oaktopia beautiful.

Flexibility and variety are some of the festival’s strongest points. Although it’s about the music, Oaktopia provides activities and events between performances that people can enjoy.

Timothy Walker and friend juggle on Friday at Oaktopia in front of the UNT stage. People gathered in front of the stage in preparation of Wavves to perform. Hannah Breland

Timothy Walker and friend juggle on Friday at Oaktopia in front of the UNT stage. People gathered in front of the stage in preparation of Wavves to perform. Hannah Breland

A majority of bands play at night, which allows for students to complete their school day without missing classes since two of the festival days are during the school week. There is pretty much a full day of activities each day with Oaktopia. If a show was not happening, Shoptopia allowed locals to sell merchandise for festival attendees. If you had a break between two sets, Lucky Lock’s Beauty Bar provided festival and hair makeup while the Traveling Grooming Parlor and Beard Emporium had tattoo chairs open for those who were wanting to get inked to remember the weekend. 

When bands were playing, however, it was showtime. Many times, bands would be playing within close range of one another, creating a flood of sound. The bass would get so intense, the glass of the surrounding buildings shook.

“Oaktopia is getting huge,” said converged broadcast media senior Conner Beene. “Ten years from now, they will have even bigger names performing, like Beyoncé.”

These buildings didn’t mind. Many venues generously open their doors and provided spaces for bands to play. This kind of functionality helped keep the Square under control and allowed for businesses and residents who are not participating to continue their routine without losing money or having things get out of hand.

Attendees were able to get both the traditional, outdoor aspect of a music festival  as well as the comfort and house-party feeling of an indoor performance.

Even catching a glimpse of the controlled chaos of a backstage performance area has its unique energy. People running around franticly with walkie-talkies strapped to their hip, instruments being carefully toted from place to place. It’s a show all on its own.

“We came out all the way from San Marcos,” attendee David Russell said. “We think the atmosphere is perfect, the people are extremely nice, it’s not too crowded and the music is awesome.”

Whether you are checking out the merchandise of a local vendor, catching a bite to eat, or heading to a yoga event, Oaktopia caters to everyone.

Something that everyone seems to notice, especially those who don’t live in Denton, is the incredible sense of artistry and community that people share.

Oaktopia, with its allegiance to the local music scene, has grown since its start four years ago. No matter how large it has become, Oaktopia will always seem to be “Denton’s Festival.”

“[Denton] is going to be the next Austin,” said converged broadcast media senior Joseph Trinkle. “It’s going to be the next music place to be.”

Every year the event gets bigger and better than the year before, and now people from all over are taking notice. However, with all of this attention, Oaktopia isn’t forgetting its roots: supporting local music, small businesses and artists in Denton.

“I’m extremely excited to see Erykah Badu and Black James Franco,” festival attendee Stephen Hurdle said. “That’s like the main reason we traveled so far [San Marcos]. Oaktopia just does it right and that’s important.”

Featured Image: Festival-goers chat during Oaktopia. Hannah Ridings

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Cierra Edmondson

Cierra Edmondson

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