The third day of Oaktopia was phenomenal. With the sun beating down on Denton Square, standing the whole day, and having to constantly walk back to my car for water, I was definitely tired and exhausted for most of the day, but it was all worth it. My favorite bands of the day that re-energized me and left me with a smile were the following.
Ruby Amanfu, from Tennessee, weathered the Texas sun to put on an amazing performance. With a beautiful voice she performed an awesome cover of “Not Dark Yet” by Bob Dylan and delivered a beautiful set list of songs.
Israel Nash, currently calls Dripping Springs, Texas home, put on a powerful performance on the Audacity Brewhouse Main Stage. With a pedal steel guitar (manned by Eric Swanson) and awesome guitar solos (performed by Joey McClellan) this band delivered an amazing set of just awesome music. Originally, Israel Nash gained notoriety overseas before touring and becoming big in the US.
Denton’s own Sarah Jaffee put on a beautiful and amazing performance that had me smiling the whole time. She definitely drew in the crowd and had everyone swaying. Each song was performed beautifully and Sarah was hypnotic as she danced and swayed on stage. My favorite from the set list performed was “Defense” from Sarah’s 2014 album Don’t Disconnect. And, of course, she performed a very beautiful variation of my favorite song of her’s, “Clementine” from her 2010 album Suburban Nature—which, Sarah shared, was included in her album at the behest of her mother who was also present in the audience.
The day ended with what can only be described as a magical performance by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. With an eclipsed orange moon high in the night sky adding to this memorable night, Alex Ebert (lead vocalist for the group) made a connection with the audience. Coming down off stage and asking people to share stories he really put the audience at ease and even invited us all to sing along to “Home” from their 2009 album Up From Below. For their last song, Alex came down off stage and asked us all to sit. Hesitant at first, everyone happily obliged after a gentle poke from Alex and being called “lazy motherf—kers.” The moment was as laughable as it was heartfelt and genuine. It honestly felt like we were catching an intimate performance with this awesome band in someone’s backyard. The feeling of elation and joy lasted the whole night and I completely forgot how exhausted and tired I was—feeling, instead, euphoric. I couldn’t have asked for a better end to an amazing three day festival.