By Becca Shinn
Dallas’ entirely local music and arts outdoor festival will be held at Main Street Garden Park on Saturday May 9. The sixth annual Homegrown Festival will fill the streets of downtown Dallas with the music of 12 bands, all of which have ties to Texas. Complete with live art demonstrations, a dog park, local art vendors, and food and beverages, the festival will feature many genres of music on two main stages. Spoon, an Austin-based band with a strong fan base, will be headlining the festival. The rest of the lineup is a potpourri of Texas talent, living up to the “homegrown” quality that makes this festival stand out.
According to a D Magazine article published in 2012, Joshua Florence, Homegrown Festival founder and owner of a downtown bar called City Tavern, spent several years watching talented bands play to small, less than enthusiastic crowds.
“I would see all these insanely talented bands play to 30, 40, 50 people, and it drove me crazy,” Florence said in the article. “The masses didn’t know what was going on.” His solution to helping these bands obtain more recognition was to start his own local music festival just down the street from his bar.
“To be perfectly honest, once I got my eyeballs on Main Street Garden, I just thought this is the perfect place for a music festival,” Florence continued in the D Magazine interview. “So the park itself is kind of a catalyst to the Homegrown Fest.” This appears to be true, as Main Street Garden Park is 1.75 acres and is home to several visual art pieces and a digital art display by Leni Schwendinger, providing a nice view of downtown.
Despite multiple unsuccessful attempts to contact festival workers, past press surrounding the festival proves promising. Vanessa Quilantan of the Dallas Observer remarked in an article covering last year’s festival, “The sun was brutal, but the water was free, the beer was cold, the bands were local and the vibe was good.” It is quite likely that the same vibe will be reproduced this year, as Homegrown Fest appears to be growing strong. The festival’s first run produced a crowd of over 1,000 people, with nearly 4,000 attending in recent years. It was named Best Local Music Festival by the Dallas Observer in 2014, and D Magazine’s music critic Christopher Mosley said it “seemed to be in the right place and had the right attitude” in the 2012 article.
The complete lineup includes the Old 97’s, Shakey Graves, Bobby Patterson, Black Pistol Fire, The Rocketboys, Sealion, Oil Boom, The Orbans, Topic, Wrestlers and Sphynx. As crowds to see these performers could be huge, suggested parking is one block north of the festival at the lot at Elm and Harwood streets. The event is also accessible by DART. Online tickets are $33 and will cost $40 at the gate on the day of the event. Information can be found at homegrownfest.com.