… and by that I mean North By 35 (as in I35). We speak of Denton, and Denton music.
I shared an e-mail exchange with Chris Flemmons of the Baptist Generals; he is also an organizer of the conferette (a cute conference):
Is this the first NX35?
Well, it was a profile-building Denton Music afternoon party in Austin for 4 years, but this is the first year in Denton. It was always intended to get back to Denton eventually as a small conference.
Are you trying to get acts on their way to Austin?
How will it be different (better!) than SXSW?
It’s small and it’s walkable — very centralized — taking place at 10-12 venues that surround our square. And it’s cheap — as a first-year event with the teetering economy, we wouldn’t dare think we could have it any other way.
Are y’all the first people to try this? It seems long overdue.
No, we’re not the first. And the other attempts in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio have failed. But we feel the market already exists in the month of March to do something like this in the state, and it may work better here since Denton is the other music town in the region. We’ll see . . .
Four days is ambitious – how do you fill that?
How will it all work out? The biggest challenge is getting national booking agents to take a risk with a first-year conference and route their acts into the region a weekend earlier than normal. If we get 40-60 acts from outside our region, this will be a great first-year. Then you imagine there are 115 or so bands in Denton (surely there’s half of them wanting to support this by playing for free), and then you also count some prime Dallas and Fort Worth acts — that’s a bunch of bands — in 10-12 venues, times 4 days. It’s ambitious, maybe foolish.
On that note, I spent 4 years trying to get to a place where I would feel comfortable trying to put something like this together, and honestly it feels as daunting and overreaching a notion as it felt 4 years ago. But for myself, and a bunch of people working on this thing, this is not just about selling gallons of beer. We’re willing to take this risk of failure, because we want better things for the town we live in. I want a decent movie theater here. That’s a funny thing to say, but on a more serious note, I also badly want better jobs here — so my friends who endure hellish commutes to Dallas don’t have to always have to be finally giving up and moving closer to their real-money jobs. None of them ever really want to leave, but they do. I could go on and on about civic concerns, but I won’t. Consider yourself spared.
What’s a conferette?
I thought I invented the term, but when I googled it I found that it was a model name of a microphone at one point. Conferette works well for what this is at this time — a small conference.
The acts are booked, the panels and special events are programmed – including a jazz conversation with Harvey Pekar. Art & Seek Editor Stephen Becker will be heading to Austin this weekend, but me, I’ll be hanging in Denton.