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Who Needs Venues? Denton House Show Festival Lines Up 60 Performances

Band Together Denton's model is similar to Broketopia's, which pulled off a 35-plus band lineup across five days and six houses in September.
Band Together Denton's model is similar to Broketopia's, which pulled off a 35-plus band lineup across five days and six houses in September.
Ed Steele

The organizers of a new music festival, Band Together Denton, say that a lack of venue options isn't stopping them from throwing an ambitious music festival this weekend.

Denton has been plagued with the closures of some of its venues, particularly the ones that would host an event like this weekend's. Luckily, festival co-founder Tiffany Youngblood says she's been contemplating throwing a festival for several years, long before Hailey's Club, J & J's and Rubber Gloves closed their doors.

"We started this because we love house shows, and because we love this town, and we wanted to do something to share that love," Youngblood says. "It's hard to say what would be different if we hadn't lost venues, but we haven't changed what our goal was since we first talked about it all those months ago.”

Now it's coming to fruition with 60 bands — including Kites and Boomerangs, Dome Dwellers, Sunbuzzed, Heavy Baby Sea Slugs, Felt & Fur, The Heavy Hands, Mink Coats, Psychic Killers and Pearl Earl – performing across 10 house venues this Friday and Saturday.

Youngblood's professional background is in the nonprofit world. She began developing the idea for Band Together Denton while running a blog called The Denton Volunteer. She and co-founder Emily Cline share a different ambition than other recent house festivals. Band Together Denton's primary purpose is to raise money for Mentor Denton, an organization that pairs 10,000 at-risk students in Denton ISD with mentors.

However, a benefit show poses unique organizational challenges. Unlike other house show festivals, Band Together Denton will sell a variety of tickets. Attendees can purchase a pass to an individual venue or a weekend pass that gets them admission to all of them. Youngblood says 60 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Mentor Denton, 20 percent will be used to pay the bands, 10 percent will cover the venues' costs and the final 10 percent will cover the fest's costs.

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"The 20 percent to the bands will be split evenly between all bands, though some have elected to have their cut donated to Mentor Denton, which is really cool of them," she says. "It probably won't amount to much this first year, but it was really important to us that we support the bands and venues as much as we are able to, because we wouldn't be able to do this without them.”

And even though Band Together Denton isn't a reaction to venue closures, Youngblood is hopeful that the festival will provide encouragement on that front.

“I'm optimistic," she says. "Venue or no venue, music happens here and people who care about music congregate here. I have faith in the people who live here and care about this town's creative future.”

Band Together Denton takes place Friday, Jan. 20, through Sat., Jan 21. For more info and to purchase tickets, $5 to $25, visit bandtogetherdenton.com.

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