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David Minton

Music fest delivers just as promised

Profile image for By Lucinda Breeding and Rachel Watts / Denton Record-Chronicle
By Lucinda Breeding and Rachel Watts / Denton Record-Chronicle
A festivalgoer slides backward down a giant inflatable water slide set up at the fairgrounds Saturday.DRC/David Minton
A festivalgoer slides backward down a giant inflatable water slide set up at the fairgrounds Saturday.
DRC/David Minton
A squirt gun fight breaks out at Saturday’s Hot Wet Mess at the North Texas State Fairgrounds in Denton.DRC/David Minton
A squirt gun fight breaks out at Saturday’s Hot Wet Mess at the North Texas State Fairgrounds in Denton.
DRC/David Minton
Unknown Mortal Orchestra performs at the Hot Wet Mess.DRC/David Minton
Unknown Mortal Orchestra performs at the Hot Wet Mess.
DRC/David Minton
Some fans beat the heat and sun with a pair of chairs with sunshades Saturday at the North Texas State Fairgrounds.DRC/David Minton
Some fans beat the heat and sun with a pair of chairs with sunshades Saturday at the North Texas State Fairgrounds.
DRC/David Minton
Big Freedia performs Saturday at the Hot Wet Mess.DRC/David Minton
Big Freedia performs Saturday at the Hot Wet Mess.
DRC/David Minton
Big Freedia performs Saturday at the Hot Wet Mess.DRC/David Minton
Big Freedia performs Saturday at the Hot Wet Mess.
DRC/David Minton
Big Freedia performs Saturday at the Hot Wet Mess.DRC/David Minton
Big Freedia performs Saturday at the Hot Wet Mess.
DRC/David Minton
A volunteer hoses down people before they go down the giant inflatable water slide at the Hot Wet Mess on Saturday at the North Texas State Fairgrounds.DRC/David Minton
A volunteer hoses down people before they go down the giant inflatable water slide at the Hot Wet Mess on Saturday at the North Texas State Fairgrounds.
DRC/David Minton
People wait in line to go on the giant inflatable water slide at the Hot Wet Mess in Denton.DRC/David Minton
People wait in line to go on the giant inflatable water slide at the Hot Wet Mess in Denton.
DRC/David Minton
A lawn sprinkler works to help rinse off shoes and feet Saturday at the North Texas State Fairgrounds.DRC/David Minton
A lawn sprinkler works to help rinse off shoes and feet Saturday at the North Texas State Fairgrounds.
DRC/David Minton
Reggie Watts performs at the Hot Wet Mess in Denton.DRC/David Minton
Reggie Watts performs at the Hot Wet Mess in Denton.
DRC/David Minton
Reggie Watts performs at the Hot Wet Mess on Saturday in Denton.DRC/David Minton
Reggie Watts performs at the Hot Wet Mess on Saturday in Denton.
DRC/David Minton
A group of fans take a break for a snack in the shade of a food truck during the Hot Wet Mess on Saturday.DRC/David Minton
A group of fans take a break for a snack in the shade of a food truck during the Hot Wet Mess on Saturday.
DRC/David Minton
XCW wrestlers fight in a ring set up at the Hot Wet Mess on Saturday at the North Texas State Fairgrounds.DRC/David Minton
XCW wrestlers fight in a ring set up at the Hot Wet Mess on Saturday at the North Texas State Fairgrounds.
DRC/David Minton
No Age perform at 35 Denton’s Hot Wet Mess.DRC/David Minton
No Age perform at 35 Denton’s Hot Wet Mess.
DRC/David Minton
Randy Randall of No Age whips his hair at the Hot Wet Mess on Saturday.DRC/David Minton
Randy Randall of No Age whips his hair at the Hot Wet Mess on Saturday.
DRC/David Minton
A fan grooves in front of the stage as No Age performs Saturday during the Hot Wet Mess at the North Texas State Fairgrounds in Denton.DRC/David Minton
A fan grooves in front of the stage as No Age performs Saturday during the Hot Wet Mess at the North Texas State Fairgrounds in Denton.
DRC/David Minton

Hot, wet and messy

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 cbreeding@dentonrc.com.