Throughout the years, McDowell Mountain Music Festival (MMMF) has steadily upgraded itself after each festival. Moving the festival from the mountains in the North Valley to downtown Phoenix, for example, helped centralize and popularize the festivities. In the past few years, MMMF has raised the caliber of performers (and ticket prices) and moved away from its jamband roots.
The biggest changes that MMMF decided to make for this year were to make the festival Phoenix's first waste-free music festival, and to bring a part of the festival to the general public for free. For the first time ever, MMMF is going to offer an acoustic stage as well as festival vending outside the gates for any passersby to enjoy.
“We are going to eliminate trash entirely on site. It’s been something we've been targeting for a few years obviously. Having compost and recycling on site is sort of something we have been seeing a lot of other events do and how they do it, and we wanted to go for gold with this one. So we came back with a number of different partners like Waste Management, Recycle City, and [Arizona State University] to help us really green the entire event,” says one of the festival's veteran organizers, Nate Largay, about the green initiative.
As per usual, MMMF will be require all beers to be drank from reusable souvenir beer cups, and liquor will be sold in biodegradable liquor cups. But according to Largay, this year there will be no plastic bottles sold on site at all, so having a refillable water bottle (or filling said beer cup with water) will be the only way to get a sip at 3MF 2016.
Furthermore, on the subject of sipping, McDowell's decision to switch up beer sponsors from Oregon’s Deschutes Brewing Company to Colorado’s Oskar Blues Brewing Company was in part motivated by environmental reasons. According to Largay, the change was made in part to Oskar Blues' practice of distributing all their beers in a 100-percent-recyclable can.
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Also in line with the 3MF’s green initiative, the festival will not be handing out any paper maps or schedules this year. The only way to scope the festival layout or when your favorite act is going to be playing will be to download the festival's app on Android or iPhone.
Making the festival cleaner isn’t the only new development with McDowell Mountain Music Festival in 2016 that is going in line with better serving downtown Phoenix and the Valley at large. This year's festival will also be featuring far more local music and art than ever before, a beefed up second stage that will also feature national acts, and for the first time a small portion of the festival will be free to the public.
The organizers decided to take a small part of 3MF off of the usual festival grounds and put it smack dab in the middle of Hance Park. For the first time ever, the festival will have official vending and all-ages activities sponsored by the Phoenix Coyotes along with an acoustic stage. The added stage will feature performances by Sister Lip, Wyves, Carlos Arzate and the Kind Souls, and Endoplasmic.