Music has always been a central experience for patrons of the Deep Ellum Arts Festival. Twenty-five years ago, when the festival was just a one-block street party, it showcased the finest music Deep Ellum had to offer, which became part of the annual tradition.
Celebrating its silver anniversary this year, the festival has since become one of the biggest days of the year for the neighborhood’s restaurants, bars and shops. Naturally, they wanted to make sure that the weekend would also be one of the biggest for the area’s music scene.
The event’s PR firm, CultureHype, together with booking partner Axiom Music, set out to curate a diverse mix of local artists for this year’s festival, including Maya Piata, D and Chi, Peyton Stilling, Bryce Bangs, Henry the Archer, Heart of the City and Royal Sons.
"This year we focused on getting the community more involved than ever,” says Deborah Driscoll, entertainment and creative director. “This year's lineup is our best ever, featuring all original and being performed by musicians that are playing for the love of their art and this community. They have been programmed by three women who care deeply about music as an art form and want to showcase the very best of what we believe music is for. To inspire, to uplift, and of course, to rock out to."
Altogether 100 musical artists from genres ranging from folk to funk, from rock to hip-hop and from inspirational to experimental will perform their original music on four outdoor stages, several street corners and two indoor performance spaces in the Sons of Hermann Hall.
Some of these artists will perform on the festival’s new Deep Ellum Artists’ Village Stage, which will be situated at the main entrance to the festival, putting local arts and music front and center.
Together with the Deep Ellum Artists’ Village Stage, the Artist Court Stage at Trunk Street will see performances from favorites in local music scene like folk artist Spencer Douglas Wharton, pop act Ansley and Texas blues-infused psychedelic folk-abilly from Tin & Tonic. Between live sets, music on the Artist Court Stage will be programmed by Deep Ellum Radio.
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“We are passionate about supporting and being a part of the local music scene,” says Jane Kim, artist manager and founder of Axiom Music. “It is incredibly important to us that much of the music at the festival is local. We have two dedicated local stages that showcase the best of our music community throughout the weekend. There is so much talent here that we need to highlight, and every year it seems like there are more talented artists emerging in DFW.”
Among those emerging artists ready to take the stage at this year’s festival, Dallas’ experimental industrial band ManifestiV is excited to be part of the festival’s 25th anniversary.
“It means the world to us,” says ManifestiV singer and guitar player Paragraph Taylor. “This year marks not only the 25th fest but our 25th show in Dallas, so we’ll celebrate with some old deep cuts and newer, heavier and darker tracks which have yet to be recorded. We’re very proud to call Deep Ellum our backyard and love the embrace Dallas has offered for our left-of-center experimental industrial music played with a vibraphone of all things.”