Beyond the Lineup: M3F

Phoenix, Arizona – the locale where cacti thrive, the sun radiates, and the music cascades. With a myriad of music events, one of their premier festivals is approaching. M3F (McDowell Mountain Music Festival) is just over a month away, and this year’s compact yet potent lineup promises to continue blowing minds (but hopefully not ears). Merging EDM with alternative/indie pop, the two-day festival aims to strike the perfect balance. This year’s lineup invites artists such as Lane 8 (who by the way, just announced the return of ‘This Never Happened’ summer gatherings), Dominic Dike, Bakar, Dayglow, WhoMadeWho, Vandelux, Coco & Breezy, and other emerging artists. 

Taking place at Steele Indian School Park, M3F distinguishes itself by not displacing the resident kids on regular days. It is inclusive of all ages and offers various activities beyond the music. The kid zone provides a space for children, local artists creating their pieces to the music, and yoga sessions before the musical performances. 

What sets M3F apart is its status as a nonprofit festival dedicated to supporting Arizona’s local communities. In operation since 2004, the festival has contributed over $4 million, entirely managed and navigated by volunteers. Founded by John Largay with the intention of giving back, the festival channels funds to the Music Therapy Program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Backline, The Artist Advocacy Foundation, United Way, Arizona Helping Hands, Saving Amy, and numerous other small organizations. The festival organizers have committed to year-round support through a 365-day ecosystem. 

Last year’s success was attributed to the desire for people to reunite after pandemic-induced isolation and the evolving lineup, transitioning from its jam-band roots to a stronger focus on EDM and other genres appealing to a younger audience. However, the older demographics continue to attend due to its morale and community-driven mission. 

It’s rare for a once-small music festival, contributing 100% of its proceeds to charity, to sustain such a compelling lineup. M3F, with proper planning and organization, embodies how a community can empower its local area, artists and the progression of music. 

The festival is scheduled for Friday, March 3rd, through Saturday, March 4th. Individual tickets are priced at $90, and a weekend pass is available for $155. For more information and details, click here

Photo credit: @willfenwickness, @neilschwartz

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