The Denton Festival Foundation, Inc. was formed in 1980 and became the entity that produced the first arts festival in Denton, Spring Fling, on April 19 and 20, 1980. Originally held at the North Texas State Fairgrounds, the annual event was moved to the Center for the Visual Arts in 1989. In 1990, Spring Fling merged with JazzFest to create the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, which was moved to its current home, Quakertown Park (formerly Civic Center Park).
The Denton Festival Foundation, Inc. produces the event with the generous support of sponsors such as the City of Denton, the City of Denton Parks and Recreation Department, the Dallas/Fort Worth American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147 and many individual corporate and individual sponsors. It is because of these generous sponsors that the event remains free to the public.
The Foundation is overseen by a Board of Trustees, comprised of business and civic leaders from the North Texas area. These dedicated people plan and execute the event under the direction of a Festival staff of two. In addition, over 400 members participate in this process. These members, called Top Hands, aid in the planning and oversee the many Festival Foundation booths located throughout the event.
The festival showcases the visual and performing arts with a multi-discipline format. Professional musicians and artists, amateur, community and school performers all share in the spotlight. Jazz music is a big part of the event, honoring the well known Jazz Studies program at the University of North Texas and presenting many musicians who are “products” of Denton. The event attracts visitors from all over the region and has grown tremendously throughout its history. The festival has been recognized statewide, regionally and nationally as one of the finest events of its kind. This success stems from the simple fact that the festival appeals to all ages and crosses all ethnic barriers in entertainment and attendance.
Proceeds from the Denton Festival Foundation, Inc. sponsored booths benefit continuing arts facilities, preservation projects and public art. The Foundation has contributed $102,000.00 to the Center for the Visual Arts and the Campus Theatre renovation projects. Over $37,519.77 has been donated towards improvements at Quakertown Park and smaller donations totaling $187,235.51 have been presented to organizations giving outstanding service during the festival weekend. Since 1980 the total given is $326,755.28 for our beneficiaries and the production of the event. The Festival Foundation continually strives to maintain the high quality entertainment and artistic endeavors that have become synonymous with the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival and with the city of Denton.