Promoter Regina Bugarin keeps Denton’s music scene DIY

Promoter Regina Bugarin keeps Denton’s music scene DIY

Promoter Regina Bugarin keeps Denton’s music scene DIY
February 01
02:00 2019

During a weekend in Denton, a bevy of twenty-somethings are packed into a house that doubles as a show venue, dancing to the band, catching up with friends and nursing a beer throughout the night. The bands arrive, set up, play and leave the makeshift stage like clockwork.   

Regina Bugarin, a 23-year-old talent buyer, plays an integral part in organizing these shows each night. Bugarin started booking bands for events like these three years ago and began booking tours over the summer.  

“The main thing I do is book DIY shows, so everything from house shows to an actual venue like Dan’s [Silverleaf],” Bugarin said. “I recently delved into booking tours, so I’ve booked a couple of Texas tours. I recently booked the east coast tour for [the band] Sad Cops and that was the first time I booked an out-of-Texas tour, so that was cool.”

Bugarin works alone but gets help from friends and “internet friends” booking out-of-state ventures.

“It’s definitely easier to book local stuff than it is to book a tour because I only know so many people in other states,” Bugarin said. “Booking shows in Denton has become pretty easy just because at this point I know most of the local bands. I’m still working with a lot of people I don’t know when I book tours, so you never know if you are going to run into someone who is problematic in any way. If I don’t directly know them, they are like a friend of a friend that I trust.”  

Cat McCrorey, a 24-year-old friend of Bugarin, also books bands for local shows. McCrorey said the interpersonal connections talent buyers create make up much of their jobs.

“I think the biggest part is you are constantly corresponding with people,” McCrorey said. “You have to message people back and forth and figure out so many things and you’re like the middleman of all of it.”

After a brief stint managing the band Hey Cowboy over the summer, Bugarin became more interested in acting as an agent for a band. However, she said that she must be a fan of whatever band she ends up working with.   

“I definitely have to actually enjoy the music to work with [a band] because I don’t really get paid for any of it,” Bugarin said. “There are a few things that I have gotten paid for here and there. The Sad Cops tour I got paid for, which was really awesome. I have to enjoy the music so I can get behind it and promote it well. If I don’t enjoy it, then it’s going to be awkward and [I feel] forced to promote it.”  

The relationship between a band and its promoter is all about collaboration. Bugarin said that open communication is one of the many things necessary to make things work.

“Just being an honest and genuine human is super important, and I don’t think there is a lot of that in the music industry right now,” Bugarin said. “As far as people I have worked with, that has always been a thing. Everyone is very genuine and everyone genuinely cares about each other. As long as you’re not trying to compete for something and you’re just trying to help each other out.”

Sabrina Tionloc, the 19-year-old bassist of the band Manifest Destiny’s Child, describes Bugarin as a great friend who has a skill for scheduling shows that are both intimate and larger in size.

“Regina plays a huge role in organizing the local music shows around town,” Tionloc said. “She actually stepped in to drum with Manifest Destiny’s Child when we were looking for a drummer. She truly cares for the music scene and the musicians within.”

Tionloc echoes Bugarin’s sentiments about collaboration between bands and those on the business side of the industry. She feels that the two entities make the Denton music scene possible.   

“Promoters and organizers are crucial to the music scene,” Tionloc said. “The artist-musician and promoter-organizer relationship is the key symbiosis that brings the art to the masses.”

With a growing number of people from Denton’s local music scene moving to either Dallas or Austin, Bugarin has also thought about making the move to Dallas but doubts she will any time soon.

“If I ever get any sort of job in Dallas, I would probably still live in Denton and commute,” Bugarin said. “I like Denton because everyone works together and we help each other out. I definitely think [Denton] is unique and that is why I don’t think I am going to be leaving within the next several years.”

Though Bugarin loves house shows and the activity they bring, she acknowledges there are aspects of them she does not agree with.  

“The Denton scene is constantly changing, especially with house venues,” Bugarin said. “We go through periods where there [are] hardly any house venues at all, so people go out to shows at venues more. Then there are periods where there [are] 20 different house venues and every show is at a house. That brings this party culture that I don’t like.”

She said the “party culture” partly stems from the reputation that Denton has for parties, which incoming college freshman come to expect once they arrive in Denton. In the end, it all depends on each house venue.

“What I prefer is a show [that] is focused on the music,” Bugarin said. “It goes through waves. Especially at the beginning of the school year, there are always a ton of house shows that are really well-attended, but everyone is just drinking and not paying attention to the music at all, which always sucks when we go through periods of that.”

McCrorey thinks Bugarin has a long career ahead of her in the booking and promoting field and is proud of the work she has done so far.

“She has made a lot of progress in the past year and she has a good foundation to build upon,” McCrorey said. “I’m sure that’s what she’ll be doing for years.”  

Featured Image: Regina Bugarin is a local band promoter who has worked with groups like Hey Cowboy! and Sad Cops. She started promoting when she was 20 years old. Image by: Jacob Ostermann. 

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Nikki Johnson-Bolden

Nikki Johnson-Bolden

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