By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
After a 2007 in which Ozzfest competed with a growing number of similar metal-themed touring festival bills by offering audiences free admission, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne decided to switch formats once again—this time by changing the touring festival into a one-off, one-day, early August concert in, of all places, Frisco. No, seriously. And it went off fairly well too: In October, Billboard announced that the 2008 Ozzfest was the third-highest-grossing concert of the year. So will Ozzfest return in 2009? So far, Sharon, the Prince of Darkness' wife and manager, has remained mum on the topic. But even if Ozzfest doesn't return, it will at least have served to prove that North Texas can be a viable, if relatively untapped, hub for similar destination festivals in the future.
Lil Wil, Fat Pimp and Lil Shine started off the year with a string of instructional dance tracks that got Dallas nightclubs bumping and regional radio markets listening. As the year wore on, Them Gspot Boyz and B-Hamp kept the trend going strong with their own set of hits. The somewhat gimmicky style (each song's instructions offer up a slight variation on the same set of dance moves) could provide Dallas with a launching pad into the national spotlight—or it could just be the next chapter in the long line of embarrassing blips and never-weres in Dallas hip-hop history.
Denton kinda stopped being a secret in 2008, thanks to being named Paste Magazine's Best Scene of '08 and The New York Times stopping by to give the town a write-up (so what if it was in the travel section?). But now that it's out in the open, the real questions begin: Was anybody listening? Will newly arrived vagabonds clog up the scene? Will labels swoop in to sign bands to its roster and cash in on the buzz? So far, um, no, none of the above. But at least the bloggers are noticing: When a Denton band gets mentioned on the Internet these days, you can rest assured knowing that its name is quickly followed by the words "from Denton, TX." Honorable mention: Don't forget that Dallas got its fair share of shine in '08 too. Spin put the spotlight on the city in its "_______ Rock City" feature, Billboard named the House of Blues the top music venue in America and StubHub named Dallas as America's No. 7 most rockin' city (whatever that means).
It became quite clear earlier this year that the Disney corporation had no problem repeatedly returning to the Dallas area to cast for Disney Channel shows—but who knew the area's tweens could turn up golden for the corporation's musical entities too? This year, both Plano's Demi Lovato (star of Camp Rock and dubbed "the next Miley Cyrus" by MTV) and Grand Prairie's Selena Gomez scored mild radio hits, with "Get Back" and "Tell Me Something I Don't Know," respectively. But that was just the tip of the iceberg: In July, The Jonas Brothers—the biggest stars on the planet for kids age 16 and under—moved to Westlake. So what does this mean for the future? Perhaps a cadre of washed-up, coke-addicted has-beens in, oh, six years or so. Or maybe it's a happier ending, where the stable of area stars continue to shine bright. Who knows? Either way: In five years, we're looking back on this story and shaking our heads. And that means, yep, that's the biggest Dallas music story of the year, folks.