Dan’s Silverleaf played host to a packed house Friday night of people who braved the cold, rainy weather to attend a communitywide get-together commemorating Denton’s certification as a Music Friendly Community by the Texas Music Office. The night kicked off with a DJ set by musician and producer Juicy the Emissary and ended with a set by the RTB2 with the reading of a mayoral proclamation and receiving of the certification in between.
To frequent outpourings of cheers, hollers, whistles and many rounds of applause, Denton City Council member Keely G. Briggs read a proclamation from Denton Mayor Chris Watts recognizing the importance of this new designation for the city — as well as name-dropping many of Denton’s noteworthy performing artists and musicians. Later in the evening, Briggs said something that most North Texas music fans have known about Denton for years.
“We’ve been music friendly for a really long time, and so I think the proclamation just designates us as a Music Friendly Community, and I’m glad that we’re finally being recognized,” she said. “I think it’s a great first step, and I’m really looking forward to the future and what this brings to the city.”
Denton was the third community in the state to qualify for the designation. Fort Worth was the first to be certified in 2016. Austin received the designation in 2017, and San Antonio achieved it shortly after Denton. Dallas, Corpus Christi and Lubbock are working through the certification process.
Brandon Anthony, head of the Texas Music Office, made the trip from Austin to Denton to be a part of the celebration.
“Denton is absolutely one of the most vital music communities in our state,” Anthony told the Observer after the reading of the mayor’s proclamation. “The history of Denton is so rich with folks who have literally changed the world through their art.”
“This not just a sheet of paper that we’re handing out,” Anthony said to the attendees during his presentation of the certificate. “This program will create open lines of communication.”
Music Friendly Communities can participate in the Texas Music Office’s Music Industry Directory, which promotes each community's music and music resources across the state. With recording studios and record labels; traditional and nontraditional venues for touring acts; and lists artists and designers of T-shirts, posters and the like, this directory seems poised to help Texas music in new and interesting ways. Denton's economic development staff will research and compile lists and directory information to share with the music office.
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But there’s a lot more to come than just lists and directories of venues and recording studios.
“I think this is really important because for the first time, we’re going to be able to track the economic impact of music on the city," says Julie Glover, the city’s liaison to the music office. "We’ve never been able to do that before. We’ve known it contributed, but we haven’t had any hard numbers to back that up.”
What about Dallas’ certification?
“I’m really hopeful that Dallas will take the first couple steps into the checklist in the next few months,” Anthony says. “All the folks we’re working with in Dallas have been fantastic. They’re really pulling on a lot of levers to make it happen. But Dallas is a different scale than a lot of cities that we’ve been working with.”