By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
When you leave your humble abode to attend NX35 in Denton this March, you'll actually arrive at 35 Conferette. The Denton-based festival made the name change official this week with the launch of a new website. And they're already selling bracelets for the 2011 run.
The name change has been in the works for a couple of years, actually, with discussions beginning just after the inaugural festival in 2009. Chief organizer Chris Flemmons expressed his desire to distance NX35 from the similarly named festival in Austin, so it could grow its own entity instead of always playing little brother to SXSW.
"I didn't win the argument in the office last year to change the name," Flemmons says. "This year, I did."
Last November, a representative from SXSW called the NX35 offices to discuss the similarities between their names. The phone call was "amicable," according to Flemmons, less a shot across NX35's bow than it was a friendly note reminding the other festival that, while both were ships in friendly waters, SXSW still had cannons. No legal action was ever taken—or even threatened—but the phone call, Flemmons say, was the final push to make the change.
Turns out, though, the new name is just the first in a string of changes made by the festival in its short life.
"What we want to do is highlight the local acts that need to be highlighted," Flemmons says, "and then showcase them in places with the biggest acts you can bring."'
Last year, the big acts included The Flaming Lips performing a concert that was supposed to have been hosted on an outdoor stage on Hickory Street, just off Denton's downtown Square. But once attendance estimates reached the tens of thousands, was soon moved to the North Texas Fairgrounds, far away from the Square and thus sacrificing the walkable nature festival organizers always wanted.
This year, Flemmons and festival organizers are recommitting to the downtown area and plan to have multiple bands play outdoor stages around the Square, leading up to the shows hosted in Denton's numerous venues.
It still remains to be seen how those new plans will pan out, though—as well as which bands might play 35 Conferette this year. An early list of confirmed acts, which included Japanther, Colour Revolt and Woven Bones, was available on the festival's pre-sale ticketing site but has since been taken down.
More announcements are sure to come as we get closer to March 2011, though, when, once again, Denton becomes the center of the North Texas music scene.