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Third Annual Oaktopia Fest comes to Denton

Oaktopia performer entertain before a large crowd of music fans. (Photo courtesy of Big Noise Communications)
Oaktopia performer entertain before a large crowd of music fans. (Photo courtesy of Big Noise Communications)

During the weekend of Sept. 25-27, Denton will play host to the third year of Oaktopia Fest, an arts, music and culture festival. The event will take place on the Denton Square and in nearby bars, restaurants and other venues. Performing acts will include indie stars Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Minus the Bear, The Polyphonic Spree, Sarah Jaffe and R&B newcomer Thundercat as well as around 100 local acts.

Oaktopia Fest co-founder Matt Battaglia expressed excitement about the upcoming festival. He shared: “We’ve never seen anything like this before this festival.”

Battaglia elaborated: “We have 20 national acts performing and 100 local acts who will also perform.”

He then added: “This event will be the first for the national acts and many of the local acts, but some of the local groups are returning.” Returning artists include The Boombachs, Class Action, Jenny Robinson and Jurema, among others.

The event has steadily increased in size in the three years of it’s existence. Battaglia stated: “We started with about 1,100 in attendance the first year. From there we grew to 2,400 in our second year. This year, we’re trying to get up to 5,000 people.”

In Oaktopia Fest’s first year, the event saw 40 musical acts performing over the course of a single day. According to a Dallas Morning News article, Battaglia and event co-founder Corey Claytor were UNT students at the time. The second year more than doubled the number of performers and added a second day. In its third year, the music festival is yet again increasing in size.                

Battaglia added: “I’ve been involved since the beginning. I like how much we’ve expanded. We’ve added a third day and a second main stage. I’m looking forward to bands coming out. We’re showing a couple of movies as well, like [actor] Jason Lee’s documentary about the band Midlake, a group from Denton.”                

The scope and size of Oaktopia Fest necessitated a large group of volunteers. Battaglia said: “We have 120 volunteers, but it’s a core group of 15 people who do the day-to-day stuff.”                

He then added: “It’s pretty cool that Eric Pulido, the lead singer from Midlake is involved [in event planning], and Lee is involved as well.”                

Battaglia admitted that planning the event is demanding, but he hopes it will be worth the effort.

He shared: “It’s extremely stressful at times. It’s difficult to find good help because we’re volunteer based.”                

Speaking of the upcoming shows, Battaglia shared that he was excited to see a few acts in particular. He said: “Locally, I’m looking forward to seeing Jessie Frye, S. Good and The Boombox, who are the only local band to be playing the main stage.”

Oaktopia Fest tickets cost $65 for a general admission 3-day pass and $111 for a second-tier VIP pass. Individuals who want to attend the festival must purchase their tickets by Thursday. Single day passes and VIP passes are no longer available. The events will begin at 5 p.m. Friday, when doors open, and will end at 10 p.m. Sunday. Individual shows last between 20 minutes to one hour.               

Venues include Abbey Underground, Andy’s Bar, Dan’s Silverleaf, Hailey’s House, Harvest Club, J&J’s Pizza and LSA Burger Co. as well as Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios and the courthouse lawn. Event sponsors include Audacity Brewhouse, LSA Burger Co., Monocle Inc. and Real Rad Records.

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