by Josh Gross
Four years ago the 35 Denton Festival was just a day-party at SXSW to highlight the smattering of bands from the North Texas town of 600,000 that made the trek to Austin.
Now it is a four-day, 13-stage festival capitalizing on the traffic toward Austin to bring in a broad swath of talented unknowns and buzzing up-and-comers on their way to the top.
Bands are crammed into restaurants, donut shops, art galleries and even a traditional venue or two. Headliners play on two massive outdoor stages. Top billing for the festival was a special reunion of The Jesus and Mary Chain, but the band had to drop out at the last second and it fell to Boise's Built to Spill.
The reason 35 Denton is worth considering is because of how closely it resembles Boise's upcoming Treefort Music Fest. Both are in what are often considered to be flyover markets. Both are making use of the traffic to and from Austin. Both emerged from single-day events. Both feature around the same number of total acts within walking distance of one another. Both are factoring in panel discussions and larger festival amenities like food carts.
If the hundreds of young people staying in hotels and eating out, then lining the streets to get into venues and buy drinks and in some cases donuts, are any indicator of how Treefort will go down, then both are major economic events worth fostering from their infancy until they become institutions.