Attendees at 35 Denton’s Hot Wet Mess seemed to share a single opinion about Saturday’s all-day event: It was hot.
Volunteers for 35 Denton, the organization that presents the downtown music festival of the same name each spring, clearly had their ducks in a row. Organizers and security opened the North Texas Fairgrounds gates promptly, and the first band started as scheduled just before 2 p.m.
The crowds were thin as the one-time Denton band Fergus & Geronimo sailed through its set. A small line of early birds were already climbing the stairs of the giant inflatable water slide that kept brave festivalgoers cool while the sun was high in the sky.
The heat was the only thing 35 Denton couldn’t control.
Patrons strolled around in board shorts, swim trunks, short shorts and bikini tops.
“It’s so hot. That’s why we’re standing over here next to the sprinklers,” said Karla Trevino, who was indeed standing by a lawn sprinkler going full blast. “We’ve been drinking [beer], but we’ve also been drinking a lot of water. The sprinklers and the other stuff are really nice, too, when you want to cool down. The folks at 35 Denton are good about making sure to add in these little surprises.”
Staffers had hoses, sprinklers, a few inflatable wading pools and one portable pink sink, where attendees were filling neon-colored squirt guns.
Patrons who bought meals and ice cream from the food trucks made beelines for a makeshift bar. Its tent cast some shade — something that was scarce at the fairgrounds. Ice melted fast in buckets and bins, and plenty of people slugged warm bottles of Vitamin Water, provided free by the event sponsor.
Lindy Pace said she wasn’t planning to take a plunge down the water slide.
“No, I think that might make my mess situation worse,” she said, riffing on the event’s name, which she said was just right. “I wouldn’t mind if someone sprayed me with that water hose over there.”
Pace said that, though the event lived up to its name, she thought it could be wetter.
“I want some water,” she said. “Real water. Not Vitamin Water. Vitamin Water is great, and I have had about seven bottles of it since I’ve been here. But I’m ready for regular water.”
Justin McCarthy said he came to see Unknown Mortal Orchestra and wasn’t disappointed.
McCarthy saw beatboxer Reggie Watts, whom he said is “like this philosopher of the modern era, and he makes it humorous as well.”
Vendors considered the mini-festival a success.
“We believe having a presence at events like this is important,” said Natasha Stoked, a co-creator of Austere, a new magazine about do-it-yourself culture, design and fashion in North Texas. “You don’t see a lot of magazines at events like this, and that’s too bad. The clothing people are here, the art people are here. Why shouldn’t a magazine be here?”
Thousands attended the event, which ended Saturday night with DJ Sober and — for many festivalgoers — Hot Wet Mess-themed house parties and rock shows throughout the city.
LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.