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Before last week's sold out David Bazan show at Dan's Silverleaf, Chris Flemmons sat at the end of the patio bar smoking a Marlboro Light and sipping on a margarita. He'd just arrived at Dan's, coming straight from a cocktail party with some city officials. Flemmons was trying to get Denton on board with his plans for this year's NX35 early.
Why? Well, 'cause he's got some big plans—like closing down a portion of Hickory Street near the Courthouse-on-the-Square (from the Wells Fargo building at the top of the hill past the Silverleaf) for a free, open-to-the-public concert where badges or wristbands wouldn't be required for admittance. According to the Photoshopped plans, a stage would be erected in the street, next to Dan's.
Flemmons is remaining tight-lipped on the talent NX35 has secured for the free show (as well as for the rest of the conference) but, whoever he's got lined up must be pretty interesting because, "so far," he says, the city's response has been supportive. "We have the talent secured. Now we just have to secure the money to pay for it."
That money is something that a lot of the fest's sponsors aren't inclined to part with until the first of the year. But Flemmons says he isn't worried about the money—not just yet, at least. Nor is he worried that a lot of the booking won't be set in stone until January.
"I'm not stressing," he says, "because we learned last year how the cycle works."
The "cycle," he says, took the better part of nine months. "But we're not giving birth again this year," Flemmons says. "It was a lot of work, and it was frightening because we didn't know if it was gonna come together."
But it did come together—that's the important part. Sure, NX35 had a few glitches, but, as Flemmons says, most of the problems weren't "in front of the curtain."
Looking back on that inaugural festival, Flemmons laughs. Everyone had low expectations, he says, and NX35 exceeded those. "Operationally," he adds, "everything worked." But then there was the aftermath: "It wore me out, it wore all of us out," he says, pausing briefly. "I don't want to make it sound like some sort of messiah complex, but it was rough. I figured it would take a week, but it took me three and a half weeks to recover."
The electricity may still be shut off in NX35's office, but Flemmons has officially entered the wine-and-dine period of the run up to this year's NX35, which he refers to as the "Tramping for Bux" phase.
"We broke even," he says, before pausing to correct himself. "Well, we had $200 left over." —Daniel Rodrigue