NX35 is dead.
The festival, which started in Austin as a day-party to celebrate and showcase Denton bands during SXSW, became a North Texas institution three years ago in an effort to promote Denton as a cultural hub and build off of its internationally recognized arts community.
"What we want to do is highlight the local acts that need to be highlighted and then showcase them in places with the biggest acts you can bring," says festival mastermind Chris Flemmons, himself a musician and frontman for The Baptist Generals. "If anything's changed, it's that it's no longer just a great afternoon party."
The commitment to bringing in national acts was on full display last year as the festival culminated in a concert at North Texas Fairgrounds that featured The Flaming Lips and drew over 10,000 attendees. But, turns out, the name change won't be the only thing different at this year's edition of the festival.
As successful as the Flaming Lips concert was, it pulled the festival away from its goal of being a walk-able event centered in historic Downtown Denton. Flemmons says that, in 2011, he and his staff will refocus the festival's efforts back downtown and spread the resources more evenly.
"I don't think that we're going to have massive big band," he admits. "I'd rather get some stages built downtown and book some acts. If you remember, this thing is supposed to be downtown. I'm not saying we'd never go back (to the North Texas Fairgrounds), but it's meant to be downtown."
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The decision to change the name of the festival had already been bandied about for a couple of years, but a call from a SXSW representative helped move things along. While no official legal action ever took place, or was even threatened, NX35 was told that SXSW found similarities between the two names interesting, and so the move to differentiate NX35 from SXSW was sealed.
"I didn't win the argument in the office last year to change the name," Flemmons says. "This year, I did."
35 Conferette's new website went live this morning, and is already offering bracelet pre-sales at a reduced rate of $70 for the weekend.
Among the bands already confirmed to perform at this years fest are Woven Bones, Japanther, Parts & Labor, and Colour Revolt. We can expect many, many more confirmations in the near future...