One Month Later: The Denton Music Town Hall
About a month has passed since Denton’s inaugural Music Town Hall. Those who attended remember the meeting’s focus and the sense of urgency that the community do something, anything, to stave off the death of DIY and live music venues (not to mention the perceived possible death of DIY and live music scenes.) Countless ideas and suggestions were put forth. Several attendees approached panel members with business concepts. Some folks just needed to vent their frustrations. In the last thirty-odd days, what has actually been accomplished?
To The Dentonite’s knowledge, the proposed city music council—an idea modeled off of the Austin Music Commission—has not yet come to fruition. This idea was one of those better received at the meeting, but from a community standpoint, there has been no visible traction where a music council is concerned. Dr. Neil Smatresk spoke on behalf of the University of North Texas’ forthcoming Collab, a space intended to provide “a fusion of creativity and technology,” but as we noted in our original notes from the meeting, this institution isn’t expected to open its doors until 2017. Idealistic comments from community members (e.g. reopening lost venues, crowdfunding a DIY space, and even the suggestion for a community-sanctioned arts tax) have yet to become reality.
This doesn’t mean that Denton’s music affairs have gone static. The most recent major change is perhaps an improved stage and upgraded sound system at Andy's Bar (just in time for Oaktopia). The downtown venue was recently acquired by a new team (Andy Bostick is still a player in that team) who will help manage the business, starting with new sound and stage. We'll have more on this next week. Stay tuned!
Broketopia, the DIY no-charge alternative to Oaktopia, enjoyed a massive turnout and tons of killer performances, regardless of the usual and expected consequences—those writers who would argue Denton’s DIY scene is "deteriorating" may want to take note.
We should also not ignore the fact that Midway Craft House, The Bearded Monk, and Taps & Caps continue to showcase local acts in their lobbies with great success; in fact, these venues look to be some of the most promising opportunities for Denton performers. We haven’t magically resurrected Rubber Gloves or the Old Dirty Basement, but we’re also seeing tons of new avenues for music. Several pieces on the cyclical nature of Denton’s music scene have surfaced over the last year. When we spoke a few weeks ago to RGRS’ Josh Baish about the current state of affairs, he showed us an article from 1997 describing the venue as a “last resort for touring underground and independent bands.” Though nothing lost can be replaced, we might have to consider the possibility that we’re seeing the first buds of the next twenty years’ “last resorts.” For lack of a better cliché, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Few good things are.
Header image by Jason Lee