Looking Back at the Sights and Sounds of the Third Homegrown Festival.
This year's Homegrown Music and Art Festival at Main Street Garden Park was supposed to feel a little different.
This was, after all, the year the event's organizers, Josh Florence and John Solis of City Tavern and Dada, went beyond the borders of North Texas to find the talent for their fest and changed up their own set rules to finally allow bands from all across Texas to grace their stages. But even though about half of the bands on the bill were indeed from elsewhere — Tyler, Austin, Houston, San Antonio and so on — it still felt like a wholly Dallas-centric event.
The local vendors helped, no doubt. So, too, did the fact that, even the non-locals felt a little homegrown after all, since each is no stranger to the market. Mostly, though, it was the environment that made it feel so Dallas-y. With its downtown setting — just as had been the case in each of the event's first two years of existence — it was tough for it not to feel this way. And it was even more difficult not to be charmed by this setting.
Three years into the festival's run now, the event has capably carved out its identity — no small part of which comes with the thrill seeing a throng of the region's top performers playing amid the city's tallest towers. There's just something undeniable exciting about it — a feeling that's only amplified once the sun goes down, once the heat starts to dissipate and once the lights of downtown's many buildings click on to provide the park with a wash of ambient light. On Saturday, that change from daytime to nighttime felt more than a little cathartic. It felt like the turning of the season from spring to summer. It felt like the end of a chapter. Ad yet the music played on.
And, for sure, this year's varied lineup — the soul of Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, the folksy country of Hayes Carll, the experimental electronic explosion of The Octopus Project — very much jived with the event's vibe, even if, hosted back to back, their sounds sometimes clashed.
Well, so be it. Unlike 35 Denton, this event's springtime competition to the north, Homegrown isn't trying to overwhelm its audiences with a cool factor. This event, impossible a venture as it may be, actually seems to be trying to be everything to everyone.
And to Solis and Florence's credit, even with such a wide range of performers, they seemed to hit that much on the head on Saturday. No, every single attendee probably did not fall head over heels for each of the festival's 15 performers. But with those 15 in their pocket, only diehard metalheads — for whom there was nothing of note at this event — could truly have had all that much to bicker about.
From what we saw, though, there was no bickering on Saturday.
Mostly, there were just smiles. Those smiles were well-deserved.
Three years in, the Homegrown Festival has turned into one of the city's finest events of the year.