Oaktopia's Big Change

Oaktopia has some big changes for their 2017 festival that, by the way, is still heavily to be determined. Sparky Pearson is no longer a partner with Oaktopia. Matt Battaglia and Brent Camp, festival co-owners, are essentially free agents right now.

“We mutually decided to part ways,” Battaglia said. Pearson and his crew are opening several new businesses in 2017, including the recently opened Kimzey’s Coffee in Argyle. 

“It wasn’t because of finances, wasn't because we don’t like each other,” Battaglia said. “We didn’t have a falling out, we just decided to part ways.”

Pearson’s team, like the Oaktopia team, puts every ounce of their time and attention into their projects, and you can see that in the final product. 

“I don’t feel like Sparky owes me anything,” Battaglia said. “He funded the whole thing, of course he doesn’t owe me anything. This is the first time someone believed in me like he did.” 

LSA and Barley & Board, both Pearson owned restaurants, were responsible for concessions at Oaktopia for the last three years, ran the hospitality tents, and more. The restaurants ate the manpower costs to help the festival, too.

“We want to see it go in different directions,” Camp, said. “The headliners need to be more well thought out. We want to make it more consistent for a younger fanbase.” 

The booking was extremely ambitious in 2016. Norah Jones, Rae Sremmurd, OT Genasis, Cat Power and so on provided for an extremely eclectic bill, something almost too good to be true. 

The 3-day wristbands jumped up to $85 for the 2016 festival. The wristbands cost a whopping $65 in 2015 with headliners like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Minus the Bear, Thundercat, and Polyphonic Spree. 

“We sold 500 more tickets to people in Dallas than we did in Denton last year,” Camp said. Only about 30% of tickets were sold to Denton residents. 

Despite Pearson and Co. being out, there are multiple potential investors interested in both Denton and Dallas. 

“We don’t have an owner, we don’t have any money,” Battaglia said. “There are a bunch of rumors floating around that we are moving to Dallas. We haven’t signed anything to do with our location.”

“However we make it happen, we will make it happen,” Battaglia said. “We did break a record. though,” Battaglia said. “A police officer said we got more than 80  complaints in 20 minutes during Rae Sremmurd’s set.”

“Oaktopia is not going  away this year, even if we go back to venue only or move to a different city,” Battaglia said.

There are no dates set for Oaktopia 2017 yet. Tentative dates, though, the team would like to run at the end of September. 

“We can take a year off and come back in 2018, but when did that ever bode well for a festival?” Camp said. 

Header image photo and design by Brittany Keeton