Words by Christen Monyihan

If the one-in-one-out pre-sale show featuring Astronautalis was any indication, Oaktopia is positioned to blow some Denton minds when it descends on downtown in less than two weeks from today.

OT Main Front a4 2From Friday, September 25 through Saturday the 27th, the festival, in its junior year, will feature over 70 local acts in addition to major headliners, such as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Minus the Bear. Since its inception in 2013, the festival has grown to include a second main stage and will be spread out across 10 venues, including Harvest House, Dan’s Silverleaf, Andy’s, Panhandle House, Hailey’s, J&J’s, Rubber Gloves, Abbey Underground, LSA and the Courthouse Lawn and will include a number of activities and points of interests beyond the music.

Oaktopia is the brainchild of Denton natives Matt Battaglia and Josh Miliam, whose amateur starts in the music biz have grown from managing friends’ music careers to executing the three-day Oaktopia Festival.

Battaglia explains that his and Miliam’s Denton roots and inevitable immersion into the music scene is what eventually lead to the first bout of Oaktopia. In August of 2013, Battaglia and Miliam were managing friends’ careers separately, and both those acts wanted shows booked. After cold-calling a few venues around town, they realized three venues were available in one day, all located on Oak Street – thus Oaktopia was born. Corey Claytor stepped up to the plate when Miliam had to refocus on personal matters, and armed with little knowledge but a helluva lot of ambition, Battaglia and Claytor sought guidance to get this crazy scheme off the ground.

Dan Mojica of Dan’s Silverleaf played an integral role in the first Oaktopia, introducing the guys to 35 Denton’s previous creative director, Kyle LaValley who pointed the pair down the road toward sponsorship and provided key suggestions to begin a successful festival. Battaglia credits LaValley, Ben. E. Keith, and very patient loved ones with helping the festival get on its feet in that first year, in addition to the generosity of sponsors who saw an opportunity and wanted to jump on it. Astronautalis and Del the Funky Homosapien were the names drawing in the crowds that year, which makes the pre-sale show earlier this month a little extra special.

Two years later, with some elbow grease, ingenuity and the kindness of friends, family and strangers alike, the third year of Oaktopia is set to kick off with their biggest fest yet.

The addition of skateboarding this year fulfills a longtime dream of Oaktopia’s founders and will make its debut with a “big ol’ halfpipe,” in the words of Battaglia. A national as-of-yet-unnamed sponsor is spearheading the halfpipe construction and will be bringing in some pro skaters for demos. We are wondering if the sponsors name rhymes with Fason Glee?

On Friday evening, the darlings from Midlake take a different kind of stage with the screening of “Midlake: Live in Denton, TX,” which will premier on the Travelstead Main Stage at 7:30 p.m., so grab a brew and enjoy the journey of Denton’s own wunderkind up on the big screen.

Karma Yoga will be hosting five sessions throughout the weekend, there will be art displays peppered throughout the festival and there will be panels directed by Michael Seman, a music economist, and Midlake’s Eric Pulido. The festival, like many others, is run largely by eager volunteers, who Battaglia credits for making the whole shebang come to life.

As the festival grows nearer and ideas are coming to fruition, Battaglia muses that “[He doesn’t] think that feeling of ‘holy shit, this is really happening’ will ever go away.” (editors note: the feeling never goes away).

Full artist lineup:

EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS
MINUS THE BEAR
THE POLYPHONIC SPREE
THUNDERCAT
SHLOHMO
DJ MOM JEANS
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR
SARAH JAFFE
EISLEY
MINERAL
FATHER
DESERT NOISES
ISRAEL NASH
RUBY AMANFU
STARDEATH AND WHITE DWARFS
ALLAN KINGDOM
CHRIS KENNEDY
WILL JOHNSON
BAYONNE
HORSE THIEF
THE BOOMBACHS
JESSIE FRYE
-TOPIC
BUFFALO BLACK
KAELA SINCLAIR
BLUE, THE MISFIT
BIOGRAPHIES
CRIMINAL BIRDS
EXIT 380
NOT HALF BAD
DOME DWELLERS
SIKWITIT
PLAYDOUGH & SEAN P
FAB DEUCE & REC LEAGUE
OCTAHEDRON
BUFFALO RUCKUS
ORCANAUT
FUN BUTTON
REMAIN
#BACONOMICS
THE HOLOPHONICS
CLEANUP
TELEMEGASOUNDS
HALFSLEEP
HEAVY BOOTS
THE BUZZKILLS
STYMIE
I AM CLARK KENT
BUKKAKE MOMS
TRAI BO
ANIMAL SPIRIT
LEONCARLO
STU BROOTAL
S. GOOD
CHARACTER.
GHETTO[BOX]
JUS RAZ
TORNUP KICKDOOR
STREET HOP
THE INFAMISTS
PANIC VOLCANIC
THE HEAVY HANDS
THE FAPS
THE IAN QUIET BAND
MTHRS
ARI ROAR
BIRDS OF NIGHT
DANIEL MARKHAM
VICIOUS FIRS
KONKLIN
BONNIE AND NICK NORRIS
BONE DOGGIE & THE HICKORY ST HELLRAISERS
CHAZ MARIE
TIDALS
UN CHIEN
JU$TRILL
BL DUB AND FRIENDS
KIND
JUREMA
JUICY THE EMISSARY GREENHOUSE
DJ TWALK
SOSO
THE BAND NERDS
ELIJAH HEAPS
RITCHY FLO
MUENSTER
JENNY ROBINSON & 8EARCUB
EMEKA IBE
KUNDALINI KIDS
MAGMAR
FRANK TWITCHY
FELT AND FUR
DEF RAIN
ETHEREAL AND THE QUEER SHOW
ADAM MILLARD
THE SPACE IN-BETWEEN
HEN AND THE COCKS
THE FLUORESCENTS
JUNGLE RUCKUS
PSEUDO FUTURE
ELLIE MEYER
CLAIR MORALES
RICHARD GILBERT
BAD MOUNTAIN
CLASS ACTION
KITES & BOOMERANGS
MOON WAVES
HYMENS
MONOGAMIZER
WAVE SWINGER
THE TEXAS BLUESCREW
THE WICKS
MATT AND NICK
GRAVITY FEED
THE LOWDOWN
TEXAS SKY
HEAVY BABY SEA SLUGS
MIMISIKU
COZY HAWKS
DUO CONTRA
FREAK THE MIGHTY
SLINGSHOT DAKOTA
WAR PARTY
PALE DĪAN SUDIE

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