Denton is known for its vibrant music scene build on UNT’s renowned jazz program and the city’s rock club culture. And over the next four days, natives and out-of-towners alike will get a chance to experience that musical notoriety when more than 200 local and national bands play the 35 Conferette. And in its 3rd year, the festival is broadening its scope.
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The most recognizable names at this year’s 35 Conferette are Mavis Staples and Big Boi of OutKast.
Inviting a soul and gospel singer and a rapper to headline the festival represents a broader approach to programming for an event known mostly as an indie rock showcase.
Natalie Davila books musical acts for the 35 Conferette.
DAVILA: “I think it’s much more representative of Denton as a whole, as a collective, to see that [for] these music-minded people in this town, there’s a much more diverse range.”
More of that music will be heard outside this year. Performers will play afternoon shows on three stages near Denton’s historic courthouse. The hope is outdoor shows during the day will lead to a more walkable event that allows festivalgoers to mingle in larger numbers. That could also drive foot traffic to businesses on the square.
Mark Burke will open Mad World Records on the square just in time for the event.
BURKE: “It’s important because, basically, for four days, Denton is going to become a place for music – a place for people who love music. Now, if you’re going to have 3,500 or whatever people – that’s what they’re projecting I think – on the square for four days in a row, then it would be idiotic for me not to open up in time for that festival.”
Burke estimates he’s worked 100 hours per week the last few weeks to get the store ready in time.
BURKE: “I’ve talked to a lot of guys from the 35 festival, and how I’m rushing to get everything done, they’re rushing to get everything done. On the outside, we all seem pretty calm, but on the inside I’m sure we’re all pretty much screaming. So it’s pretty fun [laughs].”