Deep Ellum Music Festival puts the spotlight on homegrown talent

Bowling for Soup poses in front of a yellow wall

Bowling for Soup. Photo: Courtesy Paladin Artists

Deep Ellum’s year-long 150th anniversary celebration rolls on this weekend with the Deep Ellum Music Festival, a day-long event that kicks off at noon on Nov. 18 at the intersection of Main Street and Good Latimer Expressway.

Headliners include Bowling for Soup, Reverend Run (of Run D.M.C. fame) and Doug E. Fresh, alongside mainstays of the Deep Ellum scene like RC Williams, 40 Acre Mule, Cure for Paranoia and the Grays, the Cayuga All-Stars and more.

“Honestly, when I think of Deep Ellum, it is pretty much the same as thinking about ‘home,’” said Bowling for Soup’s Jaret Reddick in a statement. “Our band started in Wichita Falls in 1994, but when we journeyed to the Deep Ellum area and started playing shows regularly, we found ‘our place.’ … Deep Ellum Dallas is a huge part of who Bowling for Soup was, is and will be.”

Admission to the Deep Ellum Music Festival is free. There will also be vendors at Deep Ellum Outdoor Market.

“We hope visitors walk away from the Deep Ellum Music Festival with unforgettable, unique memories that reflect Deep Ellum’s place as the region’s number one experiential destination for live music and culture every single night of the year,” said Stephanie Hudiburg of the Deep Ellum Foundation via email. “We hope visitors take away that Deep Ellum is home to and supports an incredibly diverse range of talented musicians and venues all year long.”

To that end, the outdoor stage at Main and Good Latimer, which runs until 8 p.m. Nov. 18, is not the only live music on offer that day. After the main stage wraps up, more than 15 local venues in and around Deep Ellum will keep the music going as part of what’s being called “The After Party.”

Asked whether the intention is for the Deep Ellum Music Festival to continue beyond this year, Hudiburg answered succinctly: “We are just getting started!”

“For over 100 years, Deep Ellum has offered authentic cultural and arts experiences for all comers to enjoy and be inspired by,” she continued via email. “We must preserve this. With our stages at 20-plus venues across the district active every night of the week, the opening of the Deep Ellum Community Center, Deep Ellum Blues Alley, and now this festival, we are committed to honoring Deep Ellum’s unparalleled contributions to music that have reverberated across the globe.”

Deep Ellum Music Festival, Dallas. Noon Nov. 18. Admission is free.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on X (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.