Oak Cliff has really come into its own as a nightlife hub in recent years, thanks to super food (Smoke, Nova); a couple of top-notch venues (The Foundry, Kessler Theater); and some sharp, arty new shops. Historically, the neighborhood hasn’t been known for such a thing. And for some who have resided in Dallas a good while, it’s been tough to wrap their heads around it.
In addition, there’s the fact that, unlike some other Dallas neighborhoods with a taste for culture, Oak Cliff tends to treat this scene as a best-kept secret — well, almost. Surely no one is trying to bury the fact that Oak Cliff has a good thing going, but the area’s influencers are letting it catch on in a more organic way.
“This is very much a neighborhood thing, featuring a handful of the artists who helped to shape the aesthetic identity of our theater,” says promoter Edward Cabaniss.
Thus would be the protocol for the inaugural North Oak Cliff Music Festival, set to blossom this Saturday, November 3, at Lake Cliff Park. Festival promoter Edwin Cabaniss of the Kessler Theater confirms that they have been letting the push on this festival build as a “quiet storm” of sorts.
“The Kessler has always taken a very organic approach to marketing our events,” Cabaniss says. “People have been become desensitized to overt hype and hyperbole.
“We don’t have unrealistic expectations here,” he says. “We’re not trying to re-create Woodstock or Texxas Jam or even the event this past weekend downtown [at Klyde Warren Park]. This is very much a neighborhood thing, featuring a handful of the artists who helped to shape the aesthetic identity of our theater. An afternoon of great music on our side of the river.”
Indeed. Saturday is sizing up to be a great day on several levels: The weather looks ideal (forecast calls for 80 degrees and sunshine), and the lineup is chock full of music of the local and regional variety, including the haughty honky-tonk of Joe Ely; 19-year-old blues marvel Hunter Hendrickson; the gritty soul of Dallas legend Bobby Patterson (who has also served, until recently, as a real firecracker radio DJ on KKDA Soul 73); and the groovy improv jazz of Yells At Eels.
All of this and much, much more — food trucks, kid stuff, art booths — is set for 11:30 am-8 pm, with Lake Cliff’s fountain and the Dallas skyline as a backdrop.
Just try not to tell anyone.