Broketopia provides new opportunities during Oaktopia weekend

Broketopia provides new opportunities during Oaktopia weekend

Broketopia provides new opportunities during Oaktopia weekend
September 27
22:10 2016

Oaktopia, the Denton music festival that just finished it’s fourth run this past weekend, brought some big names to town, including popular folk artist Norah Jones, young rap duo Rae Sremmurd and California culture worshippers’ Best Coast. But for all the press and attention that Oaktopia commanded, there was a smaller, more discreet festival that ran concurrently through the whole weekend.

This festival was irreverently named Broketopia. Its name is a reflection of the large number of broke, college-aged people living in Denton who have little interest in the more mainstream and conventional festivities provided by Oaktopia.

Featuring a roster of 35Denton native bands, Broketopia’s goal was to provide its fair share of feedback, distorted guitars and fuzzed out mayhem as an alternate way to spend Oaktopia weekend.

“This show definitely focuses more on the heavier spectrum of bands that are playing the fest,” showcase organizer John Black said. “We want the environment to be different than what a normal fest would be. There are no huge stages, no massive production or security.”

People take a break outside a house venue between sets Sunday for Broketopia. Sara Carpenter

People take a break outside a house venue between sets Sunday for Broketopia. Sara Carpenter

With the closing of several local venues in the past year, such as Rubber Gloves and J&J’s Basement, Broketopia served as a crucial reminder that Denton’s music scene will persevere. Like a resilient plague, it keeps coming back, stronger with each blow. Despite the perceived setbacks, a group of determined people were able to provide an alternative weekend of fun and shenanigans to hundreds of locals.

Broketopia stepped in to cater to those who embrace the weird and strange. Because Denton locals pride themselves on their homegrown music scene, Broketopia tried to showcase just that.

The subculture diehards of Denton descended upon a variety of locales, from genuine venues to backyard house shows. Most of the marketing was strictly social media driven, be it through secret Facebook pages, Twitter updates or Instagram’d fliers. All the hallmarks of a festival were driven by young, tenacious kids looking to make their own fun amidst something they perhaps don’t identify with.

On Thursday, the inaugural shows took place, one of them at a house not too far from UNT, called the 813. The show featured a mixed bag of bands that displayed an arsenal of heavy rock. From The Soap’s Jazz-fusion math rock to Kadath’s nature influenced experimental doom metal. Orcanaut, although they played at Oaktopia, brought their fusion of doom, sludge and stoner rock to the 813’s packed backyard.

“This is in no way a corporate or conventional fest,” Black said. “absolutely all the money we collect is going to be distributed to the bands with the venue’s taking zero of the cut.”

The Friday show, which featured Denton’s “finest garage-noise freaks” Jesus Chris + The Beetles, was hosted at a place fittingly named Rabbit Hole. Local favorite Thin Skin also brought their personal brand of wild, distortion punk madness to the living room of the Rabbit Hole.

Broketopia attendee Leland Payne went to several of the free shows throughout the weekend.

“My experience was honestly just a bunch of friends coming together,” Payne said. “It felt less like a fest and more like a whole scene coming together. It was kind of just impromptu, and every show showcased a distinct set of bands.”

The venue, a home in Denton, asked showgoers to remove their shoes for a Broketopia show. Broketopia was an alternative to Oaktopia Fest 2016 for people who wanted a more local taste of artists. Sara Carpenter

A venue, a home in Denton, asked showgoers to remove their shoes due to rain for a Broketopia show. Broketopia was an alternative to Oaktopia Fest 2016 for people who wanted a more local taste of artists. Sara Carpenter

The environment of Broketopia was similar to that of a classic house show: play loud, play late and play whatever you want.

“The show at the 813 on Thursday was insane,” Payne said. “The show ended with cops showing up because apparently Orcanaut was playing too loud for the neighbors to handle. It felt like something from out of a movie.”

A hit show of Broketopia was at Glorp Studios, a house venue that also operates a label collective under the same name. The house has become a staple of underground music in Denton, having been the host of numerous house shows and parties since 2015.

The Saturday show at Glorp Studios was full of various genres. From the reverb-soaked dream pop of Rei Clone to the ear-splitting doom metal of Chokey, there was a bit of everything for fans of unconventional music. The house was packed to the gills with every sort of person you could imagine, all collectively there to party and enjoy the music.

“We wanted to give the bands who perhaps got looked over, or weren’t considered popular enough to play Oaktopia, a chance to play something,” Glorp Studios resident Charles Knowles said.

Knowles also helped organize and run many of Broketopia’s events.

“We kept hearing about bands applying to play and getting rejected, and that sounded, to me, like the perfect opportunity to gather these bands together,” Knowles said.

Broketopia was the “bizzaro-Oaktopia,” taking everything that a conventional fest does and flipping it on its head. The end result was an event that catered to the punks, metal heads, noise junkies and essentially anyone who leans toward abrasive forms of expression in music.

“There’s so many bands right here in Denton that are doing awesome things, and honestly just to be able to organize a fest that celebrates our local scene is really special I think,” Knowles said. 

Featured Image: Local artist Bare Mountain plays at a home called Sunhouse for Broketopia. Broketopia was an event put on my locals in Denton to provide a place to go in the case people didn’t have money for Oaktopia Fest 2016. Sara Carpenter

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Austin Cox

Austin Cox

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