Oaktopia's Second Year Is Bigger Than Its First, And Maybe A Sign Of What's To Come.
There's nothing comparable to the love a person feels for his or her hometown.
Typical ways you can find this sentiment expressed? Diehard fanatics for the local teams, kitschy t-shirts with screen-printing meant to feign that “vintage” feel, or just good ol' fashioned “representing.”
But in the case of Oaktopia creators Matt Battaglia and Corey Claytor: They love their hometown Denton so much, they gave it a festival.
“We grew up in the music scene in Denton,” Battaglia says. “The festival scene kind of just happened almost by accident. We all decided we were gonna start a booking and promotion company. And, one night, I booked like four shows that all happened to be on Oak Street, so we decided to make it into a mini-fest. Now it's turned into a bigger fest.”
Bigger just may be an understatement. Only in its second year, the festival has expanded to a two-day showcase with headliners such as Aesop Rock, XXYYXX, Baths and Immortal Technique, as well as more than 120 local bands and comedy acts in what the festival curators are calling “spontaneous acts of art”.
While the festival scene isn't new to Denton — or, hell, North Texas as a whole — what sets Oaktopia apart is its intrinsic grassroots nature. Unlike most festivals throughout the state, this one doesn't have a large budget backed by promoters. Everything was put together by volunteers from across the nation, all with the same goal of putting on something for the fans.
“We're not festival connoisseurs,” Battaglia says. “We're fans; so you're getting a festival from a fan's perspective.”
In turn, for just $30 a pop, you get access to the entire weekend's events. The stages are divided by genre, so indie fans can hit up Hailey's on Friday night for a Neon Indian DJ set, while hip-hop heads can head over to Andy's for performances from A.Dd+, up-and-comer StuBrootal and Claytor's hip-hop alterego, S. Good. Also worth checking out? Biographies and Dome Dwellers at Dan's Silverleaf.
In addition to the saturation of live music, attendees can enjoy art, food trucks and something called the “Barlympics” in what's promised to be fun at every turn. And if two days doesn't seem like enough time to enjoy yourself, don't worry: Oaktopia's creators are working on that, too.
Adds Battaglia with a laugh: “We're gonna keep adding days until it's 365 days of Oaktopia.”