35 Denton Finally Ended. Kinda.
On Sunday, the last day of the 35 Denton festival, the skies cleared.
The rains and chilly air that crowds dealt with the first three nights of the festival were nowhere to be found. The umbrellas and ponchos that were so prevalent on Saturday night were traded in for jorts and sunglasses.
It was perfect weather for standing outside, and the crowds for the outdoor stages seemed to be enjoying themselves more than they did in the previous days of the fest. And these people showed up early.
Leg Sweeper quelled doubts that the duo's live show wouldn't translate to the massive main stage in the mid-afternoon. The Raincoats got off to a bit of a slow start, but eventually won over those in the crowd who were initially perplexed by the middle-aged women playing punk rock. The Dum Dum Girls kept the momentum and easy-going punk vibes going during their set while a dozen giant glitter balls were bounced around the crowd.
Then over on main stage two Thee Oh Sees effectively made the festival their bitch, performing a raucous, crowd-pleasing set.
And with scheduled headliners The Jesus and Mary Chain's set moved to Wednesday, Built to Spill made a fitting close to the main stages, making just about everyone long to travel back to the '90s mid-performance.
When the crowds began dispersing towards the indoor venues, the festival's vibes right away seemed markedly different than the past three nights. Sure, Andy's and Dan's began the night in one-in/one-out fashion for Video and Spooky Folk respectively, but the lines weren't excruciating to wait in. There wasn't that feeling of despair that the last few nights brought, where it felt like waiting to get in might cause one to miss a band or two. There was never the feeling that one might not get in at all.
After that, the festival felt like its old self.
There was a sense of freedom, where one felt as if they could see as many different bands in as many different clubs as they wanted.
By the end of the night, The Mellow Mushroom seemed to have more people inside who just showed up for dinner than to catch The Rassle or The Pass. With The Labb taking advantage of the gorgeous weather and moving their stage out back, the crowd indoors felt like an average Wednesday night at the sports bar, when the locals show up to play trivia and watch Mavs games.
Though we'd been hearing talks all weekend by festival attendees and band members about how the 35D had potentially outgrown the tiny confines of the venues on Denton's Square — which hold roughly 2,000 people combined — night four felt more like a night at NX35 than at 35 Denton.
We'll see if the success of this year's fest leads to more venues and/or more outdoor stages being worked into the mix in next year's offerings. We'd also bet the amount of house parties and free day shows all over town will only continue to grow in numbers as the fest starts looking more and more like a miniature South by Southwest each year.
No matter what happens, though, the one lasting impression of the weekend is this: Denton's tiny little upstart festival is finally all grown up.