Oaktopia starts Thursday and we’re counting down the hours by releasing a handful of our favorite things going on this weekend. We’ve put together a neat, three day countdown of music and recommendations to help you discover the bands you don’t know, hear the latest from the bands you love, and plan to see them all.

Regardless of your wristband status, we recommend everyone start the afternoon off right at Denton’s 2nd annual Downtown Food Truck Festival. Featuring over 30 delicious restaurants on wheels and offering every type of food your soul could possibly be yearning for, including vietnamese, korean, cuban, japanese, french, and much more, the food truck fest caters to the whole family, from the meat eaters to the vegans. Once you’ve padded your bellies with a few beers and enough food to prevent that dreaded second day festival hangover, boot scoot ‘n boogie your way over to LSA to see The Texas Gentleman, a unique band whose lineup changes with each show. If you’re enjoying the country vibes, you might consider sticking around on the courthouse lawn until the sunsets and the festival truly kicks off, then you can square dance down to The UNT Stage for Petty Fest, a special set from 18 bands paying tribute to the music of Tom Petty. 

 The Texas Gentlemen

The Texas Gentlemen

If country isn’t your style, or you think Tom Petty’s more of your dad’s band, now’s a good time to part ways with the crowd and head out to see some of Denton’s best emerging rap and rock ‘n roll acts.

Walk on over to Andy’s Bar for the unveiling of their new stage as a dozen MC’s do their thing back to back in a tight five hour time slot. These aren’t your average top 40 hip-hop hits or that gangster rap your mom and dad never wanted you listening to, these are real rappers spitting poetic verses about Denton, Texas and modern living, like a less explicit Texan version of Tupac Shakur with a jazz background. If you like what you hear, consider buying your favorite act a drink or two. You might not realize it at the beginning of the show, but chances are half the artists will be standing around you in the pit or at the bar throughout the evening and they’re all hella broke.

Last stop on our list is the venerable Dan’s Silverleaf, one of the best still-living music venues in town, and a spot that’s never let us down. Some of Denton’s hardest college rocking folks who are normally raising the roof next door at your neighbor’s house take the stage together, so grab a couple Lonestar tallboys from the bar and get ready to party.

We’ll be spending our day walking back and forth between these three stages, with a quick intermission over at the PAAC to see Austin psych band Tele Novella, and we hope to see y’all out there. Check back tomorrow and the next day for more recommendations on what to see during the second and third days of Oaktopia, and don’t forget to tag your photos with #WDDI for a chance to be included in our special edition of “What We Did: Oaktopia” on Monday.

Nathan Williams is going on his seventh year livin' in Denton. He's 24, an avid moped rider, screen printer, local music enthusiast and runs his own blog, Sad Boys Club. You can follow him on Instagram @Sundayprintshop, another small company he runs and a great place to get your merch made.