5 Dentonites Who Were There When We Needed Them in 2016

The Dentonite of the Year award recognizes those that work to support the music and art community, those standout individuals who truly embody the good vibes that resonate from the heart of Denton, and is pretty much just all around awesome. The nominees are all amazing examples of the aforementioned, they are individuals who bust their ass for this town and do it with bags under their eyes, probably a beer in hand, and a positive attitude. They don’t do it for the recognition, they do it because they want to see the culture of Denton continue to grow and thrive.

Matt Battaglia

Matt Battaglia is one of the Co-Founders of Oaktopia, a locally born fest that showcases local music, art, culture, and has seen significant growth since its conception. A festival that supports the local music scene, while also bringing in national acts, and staking its claim as the Best Festival in Dallas at this years DOMA’s with back to back wins. Matt looks for ways to connect people, creating new partnerships and encouraging collaboration to see multiple pieces come together and achieve something great. 

“I feel like Denton is a part of me. It will always be my home.”

Mindy Arendt

Mindy Arendt is the  Organizer/Coordinator for Friends with Benefits, Marketing Director at Thin Line Fest, Director of Hospitality for 35Denton, and Creative Director for Best Little Brewfest. There is nothing this woman can’t do, and if she isn’t rallying up volunteers for different projects, or organizing an event to raise funds for and awareness of one of the many non-profits she works with, you bet she will be enjoying an extremely well deserved beer at one of her favorite Denton watering holes. Her passion for philanthropy and the Denton community is present in the many hats she wears, and the hard work and dedication she puts in to any effort she becomes involved in. 

“Denton is my soulmate. There's give and take, there's compromise. It takes work to keep each other happy and satisfied, to know what each part needs to thrive and survive, through the good times and bad times. Neither one of us is close to being perfect, but as long as good work is being done on a consistent basis to improve, there's progress, hope, and always room to grow - to foster the many talents and diversity in this town to flourish together.”

Ben Esley

Ben Esley is the Owner of The Bearded Monk and greets everyone like a long lost friend because he really is that genuinely excited to meet you. He supports every music, art, comedy, and community cause that he can, hosting event after event at The Monk. A craft beer connoisseur, he is a wealth of knowledge on all things malty or full of hops and is always happy to answer questions, lend an ear, or give you a high five. A constant supporter of other local business and weekly guest on Denton Radio's Free Beer Friday, his love for Denton is ever present in his contagious excitement for seeing people come together towards a common goal. 

“2 Words - passionate creatives!”

Marcus Washington

Marcus Washington was born and raised in Denton and is the owner of a local hip-hop label, Cash & Respect. C&R was launched in 2013, and the independently run entertainment/record label produces shows, mixtapes, covers artist management, and so much more for the Denton music scene. Marcus is constantly doing his part to support local music, attending any show he can and promoting local artists. A heart of gold, Marcus has a passion for community and creating ways to give back to a city that has given him so much.

“Living out the dreams, in a city of opportunities.” (Shout to A.V.)

John Williams

John Williams is the owner of Oak St Drafthouse, East Side, and is an active member of the community. He has a huge heart for philanthropy and is always supporting events in Denton. If you don’t see him in his Columbia shirt and flip flops at one of his bars, you’ll probably find him around town supporting other small businesses and encouraging local commerce. A lover of all things local, he has one of the biggest hearts in this town. If there is a way to give back or celebrate the amazing food and drink that this town has to offer, John will work to bring the two together and create yet another excuse for us be surrounded by friends and good beer. 

“Denton is HOME. It’s a place that makes you proud to live here and a place with an enormous amount of awesome people!”

Header image design by Brittany Keeton