At a time where mega-festivals permeate live music landscape with 100+ act lineups and mega-structures and 360-degree live-streaming, it’s refreshing to find a festival that is more manageable, focused, and that is run by and for the people. If that approach seems up your alley, head to downtown Phoenix March 3-5 for the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, or M3F for those people who have to type it out.

M3F features an interesting slew of electronic musicians, ranging from the upbeat glitchy melodies of Flume to the mesmerizing downbeat of Emancipator Ensemble, there’s a little bit of everything. Funk more your flavor? That’s present in droves with Chromeo, Lettuce, and Sunsquabi. And finally, if you’re in search of the feels, look no further than The Shins and Bob Moses. The festival also sports a hefty lineup of local music, further reinforcing their community-focused purpose. Take a listen to our playlist for a sample of what you’re in for music-wise at M3F:

One aspect of festivals that isn’t very well known is their philanthropy and the good they do for the communities that host (re: puts up with) them. Many festivals donate a portion to charities and educational programs in their host communities, but they still take the lion’s share of profits with them when they pack up and leave. Not so with M3F, which has been 100% nonprofit festival for fourteen years.

Benefitting the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and UMOM New Day Centers, an incredible full-service shelter for homeless families and individuals, the festival’s organizers utilize the event as a means to push for improvements to what they call the 3C’s, community, culture, and charity. So at the end of the three days, you can feel great knowing your money went towards doing so much good. It seems like they should be able to charge more because of that, but they don’t, they’ve kept the price of admission very reasonable. Find out more about the festival’s mission and charitable work here.

The festival takes place at Margaret T. Hance Park, literally straddling Highway 10 on the north side of downtown Phoenix, easily accessible by public transportation and within walking distance of any number of downtown parking. Head to Front Gate Tickets to pick up your passes and for more information.

Keep up with M3F on:  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram




I work, live and play in Minneapolis.
I help people talk to computers.
I write about music. A lot.