Texas International Pop Festival

Denton music: Then and Now

Denton IS music and the musical roots run deep. Much of that has to do with world-renowned music school at what was NTSU…now UNT. The alumni who passed through that school and either remained in Denton or moved on to other things (notice, I DID NOT say “bigger and better”) are numerous and varied. Other blogs and articles frequently name them all, so I will spare you, but our great town is the breeding ground for musical greatness.

But not all musical greatness of Denton and Denton County originated here.

When I first returned to Denton after a move from our paradise, someone mentioned the Rolling Stones playing once in Denton. Without hesitation, I said, “it never happened”. I based that on the time before I disappeared into the Denton diaspora.

I quickly found out that I was wrong. I was shocked to find that the Stones HAD played at the Texas Motor Speedway…..(I think I was mostly shocked that I’d been wrong). That show was not the first mega Rock show in Denton County. In fact, another show almost three decades before, eclipsed even the Rolling Stones.

From August 30 to September 1, 1969, a field near the intersection of I-35 and Round Grove Road in Lewisville was the scene of the Texas International Pop Festival. The TIPF played host to truly epic bands of the day and bands which went on to become Rock Royalty. To name a few, Canned Heat, Chicago (then Chicago Transit Authority), Janis Joplin, B.B. King, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends (think Eric Clapton), Led Zepplin, Sly (born in Denton) and the Family Stone and Ten Years After….all played the festival.

Texas International Pop Festival

Texas International Pop Festival

Official  Historic Marker

Official Historic Marker

Original Lineup

Original Lineup

This was just two weeks after the festival of all festivals, Woodstock, and many of the same bands played both.

Denton was cool even then….

Not to let history go to waste, let’s fast-forward to October 2013. That month, as a tribute to the Texas International Pop Festival, Geezerpalooza was born on Industrial Street in Denton. The festival featured tribute bands of the ’60s- 70s era and has become an annual event.

Original Geezers

Original Geezers

The turnout has always been great and is now eagerly anticipated by those who have previously partaken.

THIS year, the Industrial Street Pop Festival (formerly known as Geezerpalooza) will take place October 18th on Industrial Street (go figure), from 1-8pm.

Industrial Street will be cleared of vehicles and a stage in front of Dan’s Silverleaf will be the setting for this lineup:

1:30-2:30 4 Way Street (Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young)
3:00-4:430 LZ129 (Led Zeppelin)
5:00-5:00 Bar Band (The Band)
6:30-8 Naked Lunch (Steely Dan)

(Not available for Industrial Street Pop Festival)

(Not available for Industrial Street Pop Festival)

The show itself is FREE and food, beverages, cool t-shirts, various vendors and a rock trivia contest will all be available.

If you haven’t been, you should this year!

If you have, you’ll probably be there.

Make plans now to attend this Denton Classic. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy a day spun from the fabric of Denton….of fun, festivity, fraternizing, fashion (retro), food, flower power, and FREE first-class music!

Barley and Board

Barley and Board bestows beautiful balance…..

I’m not going to be that restaurant-review guy, but occasionally a place comes along which warrants an assessment (and brings the Dentoning blog out of hibernation). Some places make a disruptive entrance over what Denton has been accustomed to. LSA, Oak Street Draught House and Mellow Mushroom come to mind.

All these places stretched the status quo of the time and have become part of the fabric of Denton.

Barley and Board is just such an establishment. Barley and Board (BnB) was birthed from the same folks who brought us LSA. Sparky Pearson, Steve Watkins, Earl Herrington, and newcomers, actor Jason Lee and Eric Pulido of the world-renown Denton band, Midlake, have intertwined their various talents to bring to Denton a restaurant sure to become a city favorite.

Barley and Board is located on the ground floor of the historic Texas Building on the northeast corner of our unique Square. Combining the space once occupied by two restaurants, Barley and Board has taken the east side of the building’s ground floor back to its original base. The brick walls, brick ceilings, ancient concrete floors and battered concrete pillars all serve to celebrate old Denton. The addition of complementing newness presents a tribute to what Denton has become.

Barley and Board

There is a reason Denton continues to make local, regional, State, National and International Top Ten lists. Barley and Board will only add to that collective reason and will probably soon be on one of its own.

BnB is a symphony of visual delights. There is that…..but, the FOOD!

The menu is something new to Denton. Pork tenderloin, quail, steak, bone marrow, chicken, babyback ribs and much more are all prepared in ways more reminiscent of New York City than our small ville. Chef Chad Kelly works magic in the kitchen. Everything I have tried is superb, everything I haven’t tried has been proclaimed superb by others I trust. The prices are tame for a place this cool.

Barley and Board

The perfect marriage of all things Denton.

The bar recalls what you’d imagine in the hotels of Denton past, with a modern flair. The restaurant also includes something completely new to Denton. We have local breweries Armadillo Ale Works and Audacity Brew House, but BnB will be brewing its own…..just for the restaurant. It’s more of a pico-brewery than a micro-brewery, with the ability to make 30 gallon batches with each brew. House brewmaster Derrick Rima, will create beer to be served exclusively in BnB.

Barley and Board

A first anniversary beer has already been brewed and is aging to be tapped a year from now. The brew facility will also be loaned to local home brewers on a regular basis, bringing truly original beers to Denton.

Barley and Board

The ambience, the service (some of the cream of the crop of the Denton service industry has been harvested for the venture), the space, the location and the FOOD of Barley and Board will make this an instant anchor in the target-rich restaurant environment of downtown Denton.

Denton continues to grow in coolness……..

Barley and Board opens to the public Wednesday night, August 12th.

Dentoning………35 Denton 2015

After a break in 2014 to take a step back, regroup, and re-evaluate, 35 Denton, the monster music festival founded by Baptist Generals frontman Chris Flemmons, came roaring back to life March 13-15. With 265+ band playing in 13 venues within walking distance of the courthouse, the break proved worthwhile…….35-2015 was beyond amazing.

What is now 35 Denton (there were a handful of name changes) began as an invitation-only house party in 2004 according to Flemmons. After five years in a self-limiting environment, it was decided to take the next step and splash it across the Denton canvas.

Denton is home to a variety of music festivals. 35, the Arts and Jazz Festival, the Blues Festival and Oaktopia all bring specific genres to the music-hungry population of Denton. This years 35 was a slightly scaled back version compared to past festivals and included the best of local bands with a perfect pairing of national/international bands.

35 Denton

~Ed Steele Photography LLC

Denton, which always glows, burned a lot brighter for 3 days in March.

35 Denton is often talked about as being SXSW’s little brother. With Austin’s SXSW becoming an almost unattendable behemoth, that comparison is much more appropriate than calling it a twin. Let’s hope 35 never becomes a SXSW……

The size, scope, footprint and attendees make 35 a magical event.

With over 265 bands, there was music to satiate almost any musical need. Denton oozes music and is internationally known for its concentration of incredible musical talent. 35 is a showcase for that unique feature of our great town…..with bands from around the nation and world thrown in to round it out.

35 Denton has become such a mainstay of the culture of Denton that it has been decided to give it a year round presence. The festival will continue to be a yearly event every Spring, but will become more a part of daily Denton through fresh, ever changing website content, sponsorships and much more.

35 Denton

~Ed Steele Photography LLC

35 Denton 2015 was a huge success. The year round hard work of an unseen, un-named and uncredited cadre of mega talented people made 35 what it was this year. 35 will be back in 2016 bigger and better than ever.

From a humble beginning as a house party to an internationally recognized music festival, 35 Denton is an anchor in the most touted aspect of the fabric of our special town…..MUSIC.

Watch for music news, events, videos, interviews and more at 35denton.com until the festival blossoms again Spring 2016…..!!!

Dentoning…..a story of love.

Let’s review the definition of Dentoning:

DENTONING: \dent\un\ing
(intransitive verb)

1: the experience of enjoying/discovering/exploring all that the great City of Denton, TX
has to offer

2: the discussion of pertinent/impertinent/fun/serious
/political subjects involving the great City of Denton (or anything else this blogger wants to discuss)

3: an event/occurrence /incident happening in the great City of Denton

I’ve said many times that Dentoning is anchored in its people. An event happened recently that was the epitome of our beloved pastime. This event was born from the love of two people, Steve and Karen Yount, for their son, David. The soiree was the wedding reception for David and his bride, Angela. Numbers 1 and 3 of the definition above come heavily into play in all that led up to the reception and the magical evening itself. Denton itself helped pull off the amazing, wondrous, extra-ordinary (not sic) night in the backyard of a house in our fantastic city.

Entrance to reception

Entrance to reception

The idea was spawned in an open-air outdoor kitchen in the same backyard. With cigar smoke waifing through the air, Steve explained what he envisioned. He talked about adding a roof to an existing deck, but “extending it out a little”. That was an understatement. The Younts have three children, two daughters, Andra and Katy and a son David. David is the first to get married and Steve and Karen wanted to do something special.

They did.

If you’ve lived in Denton for more than a couple of days, you know that the end of February is not the best time to have an event outdoors, but that’s when the wedding was so, of course, the reception. They decided to take the chance and work began.

Steve, my son Ryan and my spare son, Kyle did most of the work. As I watched them drill holes for the support beams, I realized that the “little extension” was a massive understatement. This thing was going to be huge!

Two 40′ X 40′ and 16′ high connected gazebos.

Steve is a master of construction. The guy can build anything. Over a period of a few weeks, the three of them erected what turned out to be the PERFECT setting for an outdoor event. As the day of the wedding approached, everyone with anything to do with the wedding fervently checked the weather forecast. It changed from hour to hour even a couple of weeks out, so we didn’t know what to expect.

The rafters go up.

The rafters go up

Construction of venue

Construction of venue

While all this was going on, there were other things to do…..like plan a rehearsal dinner. Since everyone else was busy doing everything else, I volunteered to make arrangements for the dinner. I asked David and his wife-to-be, Angela, what they wanted. They said they wanted something cool, something fun, and something “Denton”.

I knew where to go.

Now there are lots of cool places in Denton for such events, but I decided that the rooftop floor of LSA would best fit their wants, their needs and their friends. This is when the event became a Dentoning event, with different Denton people playing parts that led to the grande finale.

I called my friend Sparky Pearson, one of the owners of LSA, and told him what I was thinking. I had no clue what it would take to make it feasible for both sides of the equation to have the entire top floor of LSA for an evening. Sparky said “I think we can make that happen, talk to Kjell”.

I ended up working with Kjell Knutson, Steve Watkins and LSA manager, Krit Allen. It was a pleasure. They bent over backwards to make the dinner…..cool, fun, and “Denton”…..exactly what the couple wanted. It was a huge success. Thanks to LSA from me and the Younts for an incredible evening.

Before the onslaught

Before the onslaught

Rehearsal- LSA

Rehearsal- LSA

Just before the dinner, the weather outlook for the day of the wedding took a drastic turn for the worse. Typical Texas winter weather was on its way. At this point, the plans became a bad symphony of change, panic, bewilderment, frustration and even possible cancelation of the reception.

Again, the people of Denton stepped up and made things happen.

The basic structure of the temporary venue was finished. Now it had to be weather proofed. Enclosing it with wood was financially and logistically impossible. Things looked bleak and a “plan B” was thrown about, but the groom made an executive decision and said “there is no plan B”. The wrapping of the venue began in earnest. Now wrapping 3200 sq ft in plastic is not an easy endeavor, but with the help of friends and family…………the gazebos were weather proofed by the morning of the wedding.

The groom- before the leap

The groom- before the leap

The temperature was in the 20s, which is a little cool for a wedding reception. Several friends were contacted in regards to borrowing propane heaters. John Williams owner of East Side/OSDH, John Cartwright of Cartwright’s and even Matt Arnold, co-owner of the as yet unopened, Harvest House volunteered the use of their heaters. Thanks to all of them! By noon that day, the “outdoor” space was warm.

Next came decorating the private venue. The groom’s mother, Karen had spent weeks getting ready to splenderate the space……and that she did. Karen, several of her friends and a couple of husbands went to work and turned the space into incredible. Tables, benches, and bars were built and the place set aglow with lighting. Everything was ready.



The weather for the reception turned out to be a worst case scenario.

Sleet, snow, rain, mud and ice surrounded the “tent”, but inside was warm and dry. About an hour before the wedding, the groom got a call from the un-named (here) little chapel asking him if he’d consider rescheduling the wedding. I’m not sure exactly what he said, but in essence it was NO.


The wedding went off without a hitch (other than the bride and groom) and at about 6:30pm on February 28th, the guests began to arrive from the little chapel. The weather went from rain to sleet to snow to rain to ice and back. There were around 150 people present and getting them in and out was a chore. A plywood walkway had been laid from the driveway to the “tent” due to the mudhole the yard had become.

The opaque plastic, the lighting, the decorations, the dance floor and the people made for a surreal, magical……almost mystical night. After the requisite razzing by friends of the groom and sister of the bride, Denton’s Mariachi Quetzal began to play outside and filed in to the surprise of everyone there. Everyone in attendance was amazed with the setting. The festivities lasted until about midnight and would have lasted longer had the streets not become treacherous.


David and Angela Yount

David and Angela Yount

The love of a couple for their only son led to this epic, phenomenal, distinctive Dentoning event……

Epic by definition and epic due to the kindness of many Dentonites. We live in magnificent city and a magnificent community. The city of Denton helped create an extremely unique event and showcased its love.


I love Denton…….

Denton……….and CHOICE. Should the City Council butt out?

No one likes smoke. Most smokers don’t like smoke. But, the fact is smoking is legal and people do smoke. Being legal, people have the right to smoke and if a business decides to not allow smoking, then there is no smoking. If a business decides to allow smoking, then people who smoke can and those who don’t are free not to go into said business…….at least for now.

The Denton City Council is about to consider a total ban on smoking in businesses.

That’s right, they are thinking about taking away the right of a business owner to run their business, legally, the way they want. Do we really want the Council to make decisions about what we can or cannot do with our businesses?

I really don’t care about smoking.

That is not the issue here. The base issue here is freedom. Does the City Council have the power or the right to tell a business it cannot do something which is legal? The issue is also responsibility. Do you feel you have the intelligence to decide what is right for you? Are able to decide for yourself not to drink a beer if you think it’s not good for you? It should be your decision, not the decision of seven men at City Hall.

Let’s keep it that way.

Let’s take smoking out of the equation.

Instead, let’s substitute rental property. If you owned a bunch of rental property, what would you think if the City Council voted to ban renting YOUR property to other people due to potential liability? Would that seem right?

Or what if the City Council banned bicycle riding because people have died while riding bikes. Would you approve of that?

Or what if you had an incredible program to help parents guide their children to excel in life, but the City Council banned the use of video in such programs? Would that be right?

Or what if the City Council decided that caffeine should be banned? It’s a drug, like the nicotine in cigarettes after all. Would you be OK with that?

Who should make these basic decisions? All of these examples are legal. Should the City Council really make such decisions for business owners? The smoking ordinance adopted by the City Council two years ago, sensibly allowed Denton business owners the CHOICE of allowing smoking in their establishments……..or not. The ordinance also gave Denton citizens the CHOICE to go into a business which allows smoking……..or not. No one forces anyone to enter a business.

Again, this is not about smoking, it’s about personal responsibility, boundaries and CHOICE.