Inside JagoeFest

Music festivals have become increasingly more popular in our ever-changing town. With festivals like 35 Denton and Oaktopia, we can see the appeal of live musical acts eminently placed on professional stages. We of course see the benefits of the revenue these festivals bring to our town, but what we really love about these events is the feeling of community that encompasses them. JagoeFest is no exception when it comes to this feeling.

If you have never been to JagoeFest, you are missing out on its DIY appeal. JagoeFest took place this past weekend in the house venue we have come to know as the Jagoe House. The festival consisted of 30 bands over three days. The bands set up in the living room and on a backyard stage. The back yard was also used as a spot for local vendors to sell merchandise. Walking up to the venue, attendees were met by the donation table for the free festival. In return for a donation, attendees received a wristband that allowed them to get in and out of the fest easily. In the backyard, Nice Dudes Servicing Craft screenprinted JagoeFest t-shirts while young 20-somethings crowded around each other with handles of liquor waiting for the next band to play.

JagoeFest kicked off Thursday night with back yard performances by Olivia Countryman and Jenna Clark. Both singers provided a much-needed country/folk feel for the beginning of the night. Attendees making their way to the living room stage were met with the realization that people not only live at the Jagoe House, but also trusted festivalgoers not to steal the crunchy peanut butter left on the pantry shelf. The heat inside the house became more palpable closer to the living room, where post-punk influenced noise band Sexual Jeremy stole the night. (Sexual Jeremy was a late addition to the lineup, as Jesus Chris + The Beetles had to cancel their set.) Sexual Jeremy played with more humor and enthusiasm than one could have thought physically possible for the night. One of many highlights in the set was the three-minute Spotify ad break between two songs. This humorous between-songs performance art added a sense of irony and fun to the live endeavor.  Bands like Sexual Jeremy keep all of us wanting to experience house shows more often.

Friday night's attendance was larger than Thursday's, and the lineup was comprised of great bands like FundamentalPine Martyn, and Hikes. Fundamental started their set playing tepid jazz and ended with uptempo songs that would make any UNT jazz student proud. Pine Martyn kept up the instrumental vibe during their set. Both bands provided the audience with fantastic music not usually found in a house show atmosphere. Hikes provided the audience with experimental indie rock and defiantly amped up the crowd with songs that some fest-goers believed to be moshable. The band's guitar work and vocals meshed well together to create an electric ambience that packed the room with eager listeners. (Not to mention the lead singer, who rocked a Kool-Aid twist top as an earing - this was pretty awesome to witness, and went nicely with the eccentric vibe the band put out.) The second-to-last band of Friday night was Terra Collective, who helped set a great tone for the evening with upbeat yet pristine melodies.

Saturday was the final night of JagoeFest and consisted of many great acts. Mother Tongues brought a funkadelic vibe that we as a Denton community have come to know and love. Claire Morales played solo on the backyard stage, creating a beautiful and haunting atmosphere. Her songs echoed out a lone electric guitar as her voice rounded out her brand of indie rock.  The night ended with the one and only The Boombachs. This hip hop/jazz/rock fusion band helped to end JagoeFest with spirited tones that left the audience wanting more. Vocalist Adonias "A.D."  Wondwessen moved the audience back and forth with incredible rhythm that carried out from the rest of the band.

The Dentonite got a chance to ask some groups how they felt about the experience of playing JagoeFest. One by one, band members spoke high praise of the festival organizers' accommodating hospitality, which was observed firsthand as well as secondhand. According to Terra Collective, each band had access to a green room where they could chill before their sets, and the JagoeFest crew was quick to help with moving bands' equipment for setup and breakdown.

JagoeFest was a true glimpse into the fantastic Denton DIY show and festival scene. Although events such as this might be best suited for attendees ages 18 to 24, there was a little something for everyone.

Photos by Emily Cline
Header image design by Brittany Keeton