35 Denton Showcases North Texas Music

The annual 35 Denton may feature national touring acts, but organizers say the festival's real spark is showing off local talent.

Kyle LaValley, 35 Denton creative director, said this year's performances range from local bands and singer-songwriters to national artists such as Solange Knowles, Beyonce's sister.

"We incorporate the best of Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth talent," LaValley said. "It's kind of a regional display of all the great music we have coming from here."

About 210 bands will play on 13 stages during the four-day music festival, which began Thursday night with several performances at local bars and restaurants. The outdoor stages opened Friday on Hickory and Industrial streets.

This year, 35 Denton has become more of a community event than ever.

Denton Radio, an online radio station that only plays Denton-grown music, has what station CEO Jake Laughlin calls "an all-local, family-friendly, free stage" in front of the county courthouse.

He said it will show everybody else what Denton Radio already knows -- that the city has "some of the most incredible music in the country."

City leaders say other unofficial events will take place throughout town further showing off the community's love for music.

"It's a great economic boost and, you know, the thing is, the music scene is here all the time and it is a major facet of our economic health," said Kim Philips Convention and Visitor's Bureau vice president. "We are one culture."

In addition to the music all around town, local vendors, artists and restaurateurs have set up booths and carts to show off their talents to the 35 Denton crowds.

"We've kind of got the best of everything in Denton on display all at once, and the festival is just again kind of a vehicle for all of this great interaction," LaValley said.

The festival originally began as a stop for artists and music fans headed to North by Northwest in Austin. Now in its fifth year, 35 Denton has grown to one of the city's largest yearly staples.

The festival runs through Sunday.

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