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7 Things That Might Surprise You About McDowell Mountain Music Festival

February 24, 2017 by Lauren Potter


(Image: McDowell Mountain Music Festival)

(Image: McDowell Mountain Music Festival)

McDowell Mountain Music Festival (M3F) returns to Margaret T. Hance Park in Downtown Phoenix March 3-5 for another weekend of must-hear music, community building and fun.

In its fourteenth year, M3F is known for its eclectic lineup of music. This year is no different with national headliners like Flume, The Shins, Chromeo, Grouplove plus more than 10 local bands.

While it has become a well-known destination for festivalgoers, we’ve got some lesser-known tidbits about M3F that might surprise you.


It’s super family friendly

One of the coolest things about M3F is that it’s a family-friendly music festival. Not only are kiddos aged 10 and under free, there’s even a dedicated Kid Zone that has tons of fun, free activities like arts and crafts, face painting, engaging sustainability activities and more.


It’s produced by a local construction company

Using more than 100 of its employees — and their logistical expertise — Wespac Construction puts on the entire three-day music festival. Wespac founder John Largay says it’s really no different to a construction job site… except the stage and sound of course.


The festival is 100% nonprofit

Once all the bills have been paid (bands, vendors, etc.), all the money that M3F has leftover is donated to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and UMOM New Day Center, which provides housing and support services to homeless families. That means for every ticket sold, money is being invested back into organizations that are making a huge impact on our community.


Volunteers are the backbone of the festival

Remember that team of 100+ Wespac employees? Well, when they’re wearing their M3F hats, they’re also in volunteer mode, meaning they don’t get paid. And you’ve got to admit it’s pretty awesome that they get together on their own time to create such an amazing event in our community.


It has donated more than $1M to local charities

Unlike your average music festival, M3F is nonprofit.has always been a charitable event. Founder John Largay is passionate about giving back to the community. And since starting 14 years ago, the festival has donated more than $1 million to local charities.


Local and national bands are featured

While major headliners like The Shins, Flume and Grouplove are an awesome excuse to check out M3F, it’s also a great way to experience the local music scene. From the beautiful folk vocals of local singer Upsahl to the psychedelic-rock-meets-jazz of Harrison Fjord, M3F features more than 10 local bands.


M3F is a sustainable festival

From recycling and compost to recyclable beer cups, M3F aims to be a zero-waste festival. They also integrate tech, too. Instead of using a printed program, M3F has a smartphone app (yay for saving trees!). This year they’ll also donate compost generated at the event to Singh Farms. Bonus: Festivalgoers get a discount on beer when they reuse their recyclable beer cup.