As 35 Denton Slowly Releases Its 2013 Bill, We Catch Up With The Powerhouse Twosome Behind The Fest.
Last month, the powers that be at 35 Denton — namely the twosome of Kyle La Valley and Natalie Davila, the festival's creative director and programming director, respectively — released the first round of announced bands for the 2013 rendition of their annual March event. And the fifth version of the festival indeed appears to be a promising one, featuring such acts as Sleep, Roky Erickson, King Khan and the Shrines, Reigning Sound, Thee Oh Sees and Black Moth Super Rainbow.
More confirmed acts are expected to be announced later this week, but this much is already clear: In their second go-'round as the twosome in charge of the affair, La Valley and Davila appear to be hitting their stride.
We first met the two, you may recall, about a year ago, as they were running through the final preparations of their 2012 event. A confident pair then, La Valley and Davila now seem even more capable, what with a year's worth of experience and, well, two festivals under their belts thanks to the September launch of their offshoot Hot Wet Mess festival brand.
So, needless to say, we've been curious about their plans for 35 Denton 2013. And though the festival remains some four months away, La Valley and Davila were kind enough to answer some questions for us about their plans for 2013, the continued growth of their 35 bran and the lessons they've learned since taking over the reins of the event.
First off, congrats on the initial announcement of bands. How, if at all, is this first round indicative of what we can expect with this year's offering? When can we expect more bands to be announced?
La Valley: I think this year, as always, we're paying attention not only to what people are currently responsive to in the DFW market and beyond, but also what we can turn them onto come March. Taste-making is a huge part of this festival, both in the way that Natalie programs the talent and the way our creative end works with branding and art direction to correspond. Things are definitely going to be heavier this year, and we're going to come harder with some of the content we'll be dropping. Announcements will likely happen monthly from here on out.
Without getting into the specifics of what bands you'll be announcing in the coming weeks, will we notice any differences this year?
Davila: One of my main focuses with booking is to keep the lineup fresh and interesting. Denton is by no means your typical “small town” and we are subsequently not your average music festival. The scene here is so unique and varied that I feel like the festival should almost be a mirror of that. I try to take the local music profile of the town and use that as a guide to develop the fest accordingly, because at the end of the day this is an event for the community, by the community. Looking back at Denton's most recent Rock Lottery, I feel like it is very apparent how special and diverse this city's musicians and residents are. Our lineup will be an assortment of hot up-and-coming buzz bands, specialty niche acts with cult followings, the always important throwback nostalgia artists and, of course, the heart of it all will be the local and regional talent that keeps this town alive. The lineup will be eclectic and eccentric — just like Denton!
How are you feeling overall heading into this second go-'round of running the festival? What lessons might you have learned last year in your fist go as the top dogs at 35 Denton command that you're applying to this run?
Davila: I am feeling very positive and enthusiastic about what it is in store for 35 Denton 2013. The biggest lesson I learned from this previous year is that no matter how much you plan and organize, you cannot prepare yourself for the unpredictable — cough, Jesus and Mary Chain, cough. All you can do is decide how you choose to react, and I think we responded very, very well. When all was said and done, having to cope with that situation brought our staff closer and bonded us in an important way. I was, and still am, extremely impressed and proud of everyone involved in that debacle. So I suppose the biggest lesson would be to always keep calm and party on!
La Valley: I feel confident and ready for 2013. I think our staff as a whole has started to really gel and work well together, and the bond that Natalie and I have had from the very beginning as partners has only become stronger over the past year with 35 and The Hot Wet Mess, respectively. I think I've learned how to communicate more effectively and trust my instincts. Oh, and how to delegate and not take on more than I can handle. That's a pretty big one. Now that the festival momentum is growing and we've shown what we're capable of on a larger scale, we have a lot of doors opening that I'm sure will lead to even bigger things for 35. It's not about what happened before. We learned from the past; now we're moving forward. Onward and upward.
How, if at all, has Hot Wet Mess had an effect on 35 Denton? I know it's part of the larger brand you're hoping to build. Will we for sure see HWM again? Is there anything you can tell me about progress on that brand-building front? I imagine it's only helping you as far as contacting bands and having a bigger, more recognizable name, right?
La Valley: The Hot Wet Mess was a great way for us to experiment with event production outside of the festival for the first time. Natalie and I had this idea to throw a huge end-of-summer block party-style freak fest and, three months later, there we were with thousands of sweaty kids partaking in it all. I think it was a great endeavor, and we'll definitely be doing it again — just refining a few things to make the experience better for everyone involved (more available water, more shade, etc.) We've always wanted to move into doing more off-season production and I think HWM was a perfect example of our prowess (given a small amount of resources) to show that we know a thing or two about how to throw a good party. Next year, it's going to be bigger, wetter and messier — no doubt. Hopefully not hotter.
If someone's never been to 35 Denton, how would you sum it up for them? Who are you trying to reach with this event?
La Valley: 35 Denton is an award-winning music festival situated in the heart of North Texas. We believe in an intimate exchange between artist and attendee that cultivates a bond within our community. Our programming is an eclectic mix of new artists on the cusp of the mainstream as well as larger, legendary performers; a mix of local DFW as well as national touring acts. Join the party!
35 Denton 2013 takes place March 7-10 throughout downtown Denton. Various early bird ticket options are currently available for purchase here.
Photo of La Valley and Davila by Hal Samples.