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Denton’s Oaktopia music festival moves to Deep Ellum

Denton’s Oaktopia music festival moves to Deep Ellum

Oaktopia, one of Denton's most popular and fastest growing festivals, hangs in the balance as one of the festival's key investors and co-owner has left while the festival is seeing more growth every year. Sara Carpenter

Denton’s Oaktopia music festival moves to Deep Ellum
September 25
00:19 2017

One weekend out of the year, the Denton alternative music scene steps back from their notorious house shows and takes over venues all over the city instead with a much-anticipated festival — Oaktopia.

However, this year, a new home is in store — Dallas’ famous Deep Ellum neighborhood.

Oaktopia experienced perhaps their most exciting lineup to date in 2016. From Grammy-winning UNT alumna Norah Jones to popular artists like Rae Sremmurd, Best Coast, White Denim and Dr. Dog, the festival was widely popular among Dallas-Fort Worth fans and delivered a weekend full of great music and art.

Fans can now mark their calendars for Oaktopia 2017, which will take place Nov. 17-18. 21 Savage and Phantogram are the festival headliners while STRFKR, A-Trak, Baauer, BoomBox, Com Truise and many others are also planned to grace Deep Ellum’s stages this fall.

Matt Battaglia, Oaktopia founder and UNT alumnus, explained that Oaktopia’s time in Denton was always a hit. Some limitations occurred with the Denton location that inspired the move to Deep Ellum.

“The past Oaktopia festivals have been very successful but could always be better,” Battaglia said. “There are difficulties that come from holding it in a small town.”

Even though the festival is now occurring in Dallas, Denton’s music scene still has other opportunities to prosper.

Longtime member of the Oaktopia team and Oaktopia performer Danielle Longeuville is firm in her beliefs that this scene is still strong even with the absence of the festival.

“Things are always happening in Denton,” Longeuville said. “There are house shows, live venues and small specialty festivals happening every weekend.”

Big-name Oaktopia performers brought a wild, massive crowd that put pressure on the festival team. From issues like venue sizes to financial demands, Oaktopia appeared to have been busting at the seams in its previous location.

“There is a lack of space and lack of hospitality opportunities for ticket guests like Airbnb, hotels and campgrounds,” Longeuville said. “[These] are factors that make Denton a hard venue for festivals.”

It is common for festivals to be held in big cities or in places with wide open spaces. For example, popular Texas music festival Austin City Limits might not have reached the caliber it is on today without its home in the spacious Zilker Park.

Oaktopia organizers hope to have a more concert-friendly and crowd-friendly experience as an outcome of the move, with shows being held in highly-frequented Deep Ellum venues including Trees and The Bomb Factory.

Even though Denton must bid farewell to one of their annual music events, locals are persistent on keeping the city’s musical spirit alive and well.

“We are working on an event like Oaktopia being held in Denton in 2018,” Battaglia said. “This event will be more suitable for the Denton community, with new concepts and ideas in comparison to Oaktopia.”

Slow Drip Shows is another example of fresh concepts brewing within Denton’s music scene — even in the absence of Oaktopia.

As an up-and-coming production and booking company, Denton-based Slow Drip Shows had a major hand in creating Oaktopia 2017.

Run by Battaglia and his partner Brent Camp, Slow Drip has taken over Monocle, his former booking company. Monocle helped organize previous Oaktopia festivals but is now no longer in existence as Slow Drip continues to book some of Denton’s larger-scale shows.

“Slow Drip Shows is brand new,” Camp said. “We went live pretty recently. We had an older production company called Monocle that brought most of the big shows through Denton. We created this new company to take a step back and rebrand.”

Slow Drip already has relatively large-scale concerts coming up, such as Ugly God at BackYard on Bell on Sept. 30.

The team hopes this will help fill the void from Oaktopia’s move.

Additionally, both Battaglia and Camp speak confidently about the possibility for a new festival in Denton’s future.

“We have some concept ideas for a festival in 2018,” Camp said. “Not much detail yet, but we’ll be having another festival in Denton closer to summer.”

Announcements on future concerts, events and maybe even hints at Denton’s next music festival can be found on www.slowdripshows.com.

Featured image: Oaktopia, one of Denton’s most popular and fastest growing festivals, has been moved to Deep Ellum. Sara Carpenter

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Grace Cottingham

Grace Cottingham

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