Engagin’ while I’m Festin’: Couples Find New Beginnings at Favorite Fests
12 / 09 / 2015
2015 has been quite possibly one of the most tumultuous years we’ve seen in a long time. From a variety of changes — some bad, some good — to unprecedented moments in history that have opened some pretty awesome doors, we have to admit 2015 has definitely kept us on our toes.
Here at 35 Denton, we decided to take a moment and reflect on the good, the stuff that makes us and our readers the happiest: That sweet combination of love and music. This year, we managed to witness that perfect mélange in an increasingly popular fashion: engagements at music festivals. Contributor Danielle Longueville had the opportunity to catch Nathan and Benny, the lucky duo who proved that no, “You Can’t Run From My Love” at Peaches’ Fun Fun Fun Fest set, and staff members Brent and Kacie — of our friendly neighbors in Oaktopia — who started their new “Home” with the help from indie-favorites Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. Read on for details and more on these sweet new beginnings.
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DL: Alrighty, gimme the lowdown. How did you two meet? Why Fun Fun Fun Fest, how was this whole experience after all?
Benny: We met at a party — it was called The Bathhouse, it was a DJ friend of Nathan’s and I went with one of my friends, and Nathan went with one of his best girlfriends. It was an underwear party but I’m way too shy to do that. We both actually went with similar outfits like underwear, but more like swimsuits. Nathan came up to me and said “hi” and looked me in the eyes when he talked to me, and then he gave me his number; he seemed nice so we texted thereafter … Nathan always jokes that the reason he looked me in the eyes is because he was drunk …
Nathan:Yeah I had been drinking a lot that night so I was really trying to focus on him because I was interested … combo of both, really. And then Benny went to Elton John a few days later and got picked to be in front row by Elton John because he’s cute or something … Good thing I wasn’t there with him or else I would be up on that piano!
DL: But I mean if you had been there you would have really known that you chose right! If Elton John said yes then you must say yes!
DL: So why FFFest?
Nathan: I went to the second or third year when it was at Waterloo Park. I collect a lot of music and whatnot so I thought it’d be fun to go again because they have more music and events that I like … it’s not just a bunch of people with banjos for 100 hours. It’s always really fun. Not that I don’t love banjos! Just only if I’m at the Grand Ol’ Opry or something along those lines.
DL: Totally understand. So Nathan, why during the Peaches performance?
Nathan: Well Benny and I both really love Peaches; I turned him onto her when I booked her for Pride Festival in Austin in 2012 and I knew that she had an album and a new book coming out this year so I thought, “let’s bring her back for a live show.” So at this live show Benny went to go get her a water and quickly I was like, “Hey! I wanna propose to my boyfriend on stage during your set at Fun Fun Fun Fest, do you think that’s possible? “ and she was like “yeah, let’s do it!” And that was it! The rest of it was really easy and it became all of these things I just went for … I always just want to do more and more so it just kept escalating from there.
DL: Oh I know that feeling all too well! The need to do more is very strong. So tell me about the day of festivities, what was it like for both of you?
Nathan: Peaches and I spent a lot of time preparing via text while she was on tour, and then she called me the day of to let me know exactly how it was going to all go down. Benny had no idea what was going on but was a trooper throughout the whole thing since it was a crazy day. I actually made him hold onto the box for me. We had a lot of our friends there in town “for the festival” when they were really there for the event. We got to go backstage and hung out for a little while and watched the show and then Benny was like “I have to go to the bathroom!” and I was like “oh me too, but there’s only two more songs left so you should just wait!” and he was like, “okay … ” After “Fuck the Pain Away” started playing I knew that was our cue so I just started walking forward hoping he’d follow, which he did. We got invited on stage as special guest dancers and that’s when I finally popped the question, with a little mic-to-hand help from Peaches, of course, because I was so nervous. He nodded yes and that was it!
Benny: It was really quite hilarious and adorable all at once. We both have the same Peaches shirt and I had originally planned to wear mine, but Nathan said it was stupid, then out of nowhere a week before he was like “yeah you should totally wear it, we should both wear them” and I was like “okay … ” so in that moment I was so mad yet so happy he had duped me with this shirt deal, since this was the real reason he had just “suddenly” changed his mind!
DL: So adorable! Tell me what the day was like after that! I’m sure it was totally surreal.
Benny:My first thoughts were, “Oh my god, do my parents know about this?” And as it turns out, Nathan created this whole website for us on our journey to that day.
Nathan: Yeah, I put together this website called whiskeyanddonutsandpeaches.com with a bunch of congrats videos from our family and friends, and photos of us together that everyone could access and participate. I pulled up the videos for us to watch together afterwards and he just loved it.
DL: Y’all are too adorable. With this rising tradition of music enthusiast couples getting engaged at concerts and such, do you have any advice for them?
Nathan:The Internet has definitely made people more accessible, anything is possible and you never know if you don’t ask … so I guess don’t be afraid to ask; just try it out and see what happens!
DL: So, when’s the date?
Benny: We’ve talked generally about it but there’s no date … we’ve said things like, “Oh, this month of 2017 might be nice” but not much work has been done besides Nathan doing some research …
On Oaktopia with Brent and Kacie:
DL: Gimme the lowdown, y’all. How did you meet?
Brent: Well we met in 5th grade, we went to middle school together.
Kacie: He used to pick on me and was mean to me, and we dated for a week, but then he broke up with me because he was too cool for me.
Brent: Yeah, definitely some typical 11-year-old quarrels. Later on Kacie had moved to a different high school but we ended up going to the same university. I had a rent house and we were hosting this housewarming party. She happened to come to the party and we started talking and eventually, we started dating afterwards … 6 years later — as of October 16th — here we are.
DL: I love it! So why Oaktopia exactly, besides the obvious reasons that you’re team members and love the festival?
Brent: Oaktopia has been and will continue to be a tradition for us as long as the festival is around. We will always be there, always be a part of the team. I chose Edward Sharpe because he was the main headliner of Oaktopia … last year before we were even booking for year two, Kacie insisted that we need to get Edward Sharpe for Denton
Kacie: Yeah, I mean they’re perfect for Denton and I knew everyone would love it! Even so Brent thought it was “too expensive, we’ll never be able afford all of their flights and stuff ” but, what do you know? We got ‘em.
Brent: Yeah, so when we booked Edward Sharpe and we were talking about sappy stuff for “Home” and I was thinking about sappy shit to do and I’ve been thinking about proposing to Kacie for the last year, so I said if we book them I will propose to Kacie during “Home” … Matt will confirm and make it happen … combining two pretty big milestones for me personally and professionally. Matt pitched it to the booking agent first about six months prior, who never really got back to us, and so I went ahead and went for it and at 9 a.m. Sunday morning and was like, “Is it cool if i do this?” and the touring manager said, “yeah we’ll make it happen! I’ll introduce you to Alex [Ebert] so he knows your face and we’ll go from there.” The planning was a six-month journey, but the preparation was very day-of. “
DL: What was it like talking to Alex Ebert about the whole process?
Brent: The tour manager set up a meeting for just me and Alex, so I went on his tour bus for about 30 minutes. We talked about Denton and Kacie and was asking me some pretty parental questions, like” is this girl the one?” “how much do [I] love her,” etc., etc., and then we just kept talking for a while. He wanted to really register my face, so he just kind of stared at me for a couple of minutes so he knew who to hand the microphone [to]. It was strange but interesting.
DL: How was it immediately after everything happened?
Brent:So great and a bit overwhelming. The band actually played a bit of “Wedding Bells” for us. If you go back and watch the video you can hear “Here Comes the Bride” right after she says yes, it was really awesome.
DL: What’d your family think of the idea? I can see it going one of two ways: Oh that’s so unique and awesome, or oh that’s so non-traditional you really think she’ll go for it?
Brent: Well, my mom knew about two weeks prior. She even went ring shopping with me because I’m still a child and I need help with things like that. I told Kacie’s mom about a week beforehand because she wasn’t actually planning on going, so I had to be frank with her and say “I’m proposing to your daughter at Oaktopia so you need to be there” and basically forced her hand to come to Oaktopia, so that was pretty funny.
DL: With this rising tradition of music enthusiast couples getting engaged at concerts and such, do you have any advice for them?
Brent: My advice would be don’t work the festival where you plan to do the proposal. I was so tired and delusional from lack of sleep that I’m surprised I didn’t go on some political rant or something. So don’t put so much emotion into one weekend … find the balance between the two, and be sure to get some sleep and think about what you’re gonna say before you do it.
Kacie: Yeah I have to say I was pretty wiped out by the time this happened and so out of it that it all seemed pretty surreal.
Brent: Yeah, definitely lots of crying because oh we’re engaged, oh the festival’s over … so yeah definitely get some rest. And then we had to go pick up trash that night and for the next week … that’s another thing, don’t take your new fiancé and her new engagement ring out with you to pick up trash after a festival — talk about accident waiting to happen.
Kacie: Definitely go pee beforehand! I kept telling Brent that I needed to pee and all he said was “no, you have to stay, just stay until the end” so that was the first thing I took care of when it was all over.
Brent: Yeah that’s some solid advice; be conscious of your significant other’s bladder in situations like these.
DL: So, have y’all picked a date?
Brent: No not yet … Kacie is still doing student teaching so we need to wait until we’re both making more money! Either way, it’ll definitely be in Denton.
Well, there you have it, folks. All it takes is a little bit of love, a dash of planning and bladders of steel to make for a great surprisement engagement that you — and the rest of the festival world — will remember for years to come. For those of you planning on taking that relationship to the next level and looking for a little inspiration, we hope you find what you’re looking for in super sweet anecdotes such as these. Congrats to Nathan and Benny, and Brent and Kacie. We wish you this best.