North Texas Daily

UNT must not let Denton music stop

UNT must not let Denton music stop

Samuel Wiggins

UNT must not let Denton music stop
August 31
13:04 2016

The Editorial Board

Despite its blooming research university reputation, UNT is most often celebrated as a music school. Its proximity to Denton’s live music environment appeals to people across Texas and beyond who are looking for a small town vibe with big city talent.

Just head over to Chicken Express on Eagle Drive, and you’ll see the talent this university and this community have produced. We have Don Henley, Meat Loaf and Norah Jones to name a few. Those folks left this place to do great things.

But today, shifting preferences of both college students and the university are trickling into a larger problem the Denton community is facing. Its live music scene, according to city leaders, is facing a crisis.

That is why UNT students and administrators alike must stop taking this Texas pearl we call Denton for granted. Each of us must take the time to nourish this place and support aspiring artists. UNT, we must not let the music stop.

During its high point, the scene was a collective circuit of independent artists, each that were afforded the opportunity to play at different venues throughout the city. In the process, these musicians singlehandedly created a subculture of young people and college students that could assemble for fun nights of live music.

Which is exactly why it’s so disheartening to find the culture in a dwindling phase. What was once a place to look forward to every weekend has now become a cesspool for fire-and-forget businesses. We don’t mind Pie Five going out of business, or Subway effectively being kicked out of downtown. Those are outside brands that add no meaning to Denton.

But the music venues that have shutdown recently have long carried the soul of what makes Denton so special. They’ve shut down in part because you — all of us, really — haven’t given them the proper attention.

We ask our Student Government Association to rally behind this issue, to draw students’ attention back toward live music. We challenge UNT Denton President Neal Smatresk and his administration to focus more on giving to the community rather than taking.

If anything is keeping Denton music alive, it’s the Do It Yourself method. Bands and artists playing at house shows may not pay at all, but it’s become a more convenient practice for talented people to get their names out there for students like us who are willing to listen. And since there’s not as many options to do stuff like there are in Dallas, Houston or Austin, the abundance of house shows continues to fuel excitement for local music of all genres and styles.

This is why we urge you to pay attention to the city’s music scene. From here on out, we must realize that city officials don’t plan on getting involved anytime soon, so we encourage people to pay more attention to regional musicians.

Whenever you pass by that loud guitarist in front of Crooked Crust, chip in an extra buck or two. If you live with someone that has a gift or passion for music, encourage them to jam out live. And if you’re the type to vacate from show to show, communicate with other fans and follow good artists with them. Nothing means more to musicians than knowing that there’s people out there who appreciate what they do.

Nothing in entertainment actually dies; trends simply supersede others in the spectrum. Despite the decline of local venues and changing tastes and goals, Denton music has only fallen by the wayside, awaiting its return for another era of prominence. When that boom happens, we just need to support it any which way that we can.

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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