The first day and night of North by 35 got underway yesterday despite many a hitch. But, in spite of the snags and snafus that volunteers were having to scramble to fix--ranging from band cancellations and double-bookings to venues with pad-locked and chained doors, to one venue getting a ticket from the fire marshal--what last night will be remembered for was the general fun vibe in the streets of Denton.
And the big reason for that was the turnout. Which was far greater than last year's first night.
Considering it was a Thursday night, there was a good number of folks out at the venues and just milling around downtown. The one venue that wasn't packed was Rubber Gloves, which in the later hours did finally attract a modest crowd. (C'mon folks: It isn't that far of a walk from Hailey's or Dan's.) And, for those who didn't venture across the railroad tracks to Gloves, well, they missed out on Evangelicals' fantastic set.
But even before the bands started playing, during the daytime programming (or, basically, the panels), the turnouts were solid. NX35 daytime program planner Mike Seman said it seemed like a good sign that, on the first day, there were more people out at the panels than at any of the panels last year. Which bodes well for the remainder of this festival.
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And, even as early as the 4-to-6 p.m. pre-show hours, there were a lot of people out, milling around. And the rain that did come through came and went before sundown.
Parking was OK, too: Two DC9 contributors who arrived later in the evening both found parking spots on the square.
But there were some issues, as mentioned earlier. The most common, though? A lack of set times in the festival program. (People are actually conflicted about who they're going to go see because there are so many unique stages/bands).
Oh, and, for the record, there is a Camel tent. And judging by the amount of crisp-new bandanas people were wearing, it seems to be a hit so far. The tent could easily mistaken for a night club, with "bouncers" and "party girls."