Downtown Phoenix is going to be more than a little busy this weekend, you might say. More specifically, its sidewalks and even an alley or two are going to be crowded with music fans on Saturday evening, as will 20 different venues scattered throughout a two-mile radius when the second annual Viva PHX music festival dominates downtown with a cornucopia of sound, light, and color.
As you might expect, there's going to be a lot to see and do as each of the locations hosting Viva PHX gigs will be alive with activity. And while those who will attend the walkable music festival, which is very much in the spirit of Austin's South by Southwest extravaganza, will be doing a lot on Saturday night, they won't be able to see it all.
There are a multitude of bands, performers, and musicians that will perform at Viva PHX -- including those from such genres as punk, indie rock, pop, electronica, hip-hop, funk, cumbia, and Americana -- but you've only got about six hours or so to fit in as much as possible. Therefore, it would behoove you to be prepared beforehand and know what to expect.
That's why we've put together everything you need to know about the festival, from a rundown of all the acts that will be there and when they're playing, as well as where you can score some food or drink, get around, and get home safely.
(Be sure to check out our comprehensive Viva PHX coverage as well.)
Read on and get ready.
Time/Place: Viva PHX takes place on Saturday, March 14, at venues around downtown Phoenix. Some acts will start performing as early as 6 p.m. while a majority of the festival gets going at 7 p.m. (see the full schedule for complete details).
Price: Tickets are currently $24 online and will go up to $30 on the day of the festival (plus any applicable fees). A "fast pass" is also available for $45 that allows you to have priority access with little wait time at any Viva PHX venue.
Wristbands are required for all participants and can be picked up at the ticketing booths at either of two locations in downtown. The Renaissance Downtown Phoenix Hotel booth will be open from noon until 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, and Friday, March 13. On Saturday, the booths at both the hotel and the Orpheum Theatre box office will be open from noon until the end of the festival.
Age Limits: The festival's age restrictions will vary depending on the particular venue. About a dozen locations will be open to all ages, including CityScape, the Monster Energy Stage on Monroe Street, Punk Rock Alley, Phoenix Masonic Temple, Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center, Hard Rock Cafe, Punk Rock Alley, One Coffee Company, Grace Chapel, and the Orpheum Theatre's lobby.
Meanwhile, spots like Monarch Theatre, Bar Smith, Last Exit Live, Crescent Ballroom, Film Bar, and the Goldwater Room at the Renaissance Hotel will be 21-and-over only.
Weather: According to the forecast, it will be clear and cool with temperatures in the 70s throughout the evening and dipping down into the 60s by the end of the night.
Getting There: If you're coming by car, get on your nearest freeway and make a beeline for downtown Phoenix. When it comes to parking, you can try for a spot along one of the downtown streets, but keep in mind that those go quickly and the meters will be running until 10 p.m. and cost $1.50 per hour. Parking garages are scattered throughout the area and will run you anywhere from $10 to $20 for the evening.
The smarter option is to use the light rail and one of the park and ride lots in Central Phoenix (like the one at Seventh Avenue and Camelback Road) as there's much less hassle involved and it's only $2-$4 for a pass. Plus you can possibly avoid a DUI.
Getting Around: Viva PHX was ultimately designed to be a walkable festive, so we definitely recommend wearing a comfortable pair of shoes and hoofing it between venues and shows. Besides, you never know who or what you're going to encounter out on the streets, which is part of the atmosphere of the event. (To wit: we witnessed local bands putting on impromptu performances on sidewalks and b-boys doing their thing on street corners at last year's fest.)
If your dogs are barking after a few hours of walking, a fleet of pedicabs will be roaming the area and offering rides. They operate strictly on tips, however, and anywhere from $5-$15 per person would be acceptable to get you to your destination, depending on the distance.
Food and drink: Pretty much every Viva PHX will offer a bar, particularly those that are 21-and-over, with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available. As you might expect, you'll have to be of legal drinking age to tie one on.
A number of food trucks and vendors will be stationed along Monroe Street between First and Second avenues. The lineup of food trucks at Viva PHX include Queso Good, Emerson Fry Bread, Buzz N Beez, Burgers Amore, Jamburritos, Coq A Doodle Do, Gigi's Cupcakes, Rounders Ice Cream Sandwiches, and Cactus Corn. Prices, of course, vary.
What to Bring: An ID is a good idea, since you'll need it to pick up your tickets or to drink. Cash it also recommended as its easier than plastic and certain vendors or drivers might not be able to swipe your debit/credit card. And since things could get a bit chilly, a light jacket or hoodie might not be a bad idea.
Other than that, be sure to bring a sense of adventure and willingness to explore, since (as we mentioned) Viva PHX offers a wealth of different music genres and artists, including many you may have never heard before. In other words, consider getting out of your comfort zone for an evening.
What Not to Bring: Basically, anything potentially dangerous (weapons, laser pointers, chain wallets, flamethrowers, chainsaws, pitchforks, etc.) or disruptive (air horns, sparklers, combative attitudes) isn't allowed. Ditto for professional recording equipment, outside food and drink, signs, or anything else that might upset the show, cause harm, or make a nuisance.
What to Do: Have fun. Watch downtown become a truly lively place. Check out your favorite artists. Experience new bands you've never heard of before.
What not to do: Start fights, act disorderly, harsh the vibe, make a complete ass of yourself, get destructively drunk, or ruin anyone else's good time.
What to Expect:
Schedules and Set Times:
Its going to be impossible to see every single set at Viva PHX. That said, if you're fast on your feet and well-informed beforehand, you can still see a lot of your favorite acts. What follows is the complete festival lineup from start to finish.
Consider it to be an emourous buffet of sound with loads to choose from. Here are all your options.
DT PHX Stage at Cityscape (all ages)
6:30 p.m.: : Rebel Disco (house, indie disco) 7:30 p.m.: : Sir Sly (indie pop) 8:30 p.m.: : Smallpools (two-tone pop) 9:40 p.m.: : Twin Shadow (pop) 11 p.m.: : Best Coast (pop)
Monster Energy Stage on Monroe (all ages)
7 p.m.: : Meatbodies (punk) 8 p.m.: : Andrew Jackson Jihad (folk punk) 9 p.m.: : Thee Oh Sees (punk) 10 p.m.: : Coolio (hip-hop) 11 p.m.: : Fishbone (ska-punk)
Crescent Ballroom (21-and-over)
7 p.m.: : Bear State (indie pop) 8 p.m.: : The Velvet Teen (indie rock) 9 p.m.: : PAPA (pop) 10 p.m.: : The Stone Foxes (pop rock) 11 p.m.: Geographer (indie rock, synth pop) 12:30 a.m.: Still Ill (Smiths/Morrissey tribute)
Phoenix Masonic Temple (all ages)
7 p.m.: : WLFPCK (alt-pop) 8 p.m.: : Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band (indie, alternative) 9 p.m.: : Bogan Via (synth pop) 10 p.m.: : Jim Adkins (pop) 11 p.m.: : Halsey (pop) 12:05 a.m.: Young Rising Sons (rock)
Monarch Theatre (21-and-over)
8 p.m.: : The Father Figures (punk) 9 p.m.: : PPL MVR (rock) 10 p.m.: : Fayuca (rock, Latin-alternative) 11 p.m.: : Unwritten Law (pop punk) 12 a.m.: Andrew W.K. (party rock)
Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center (all ages)
7 p.m.: No Volcano (rock) 8 p.m.: The Twilight Sad (rock) 9 p.m.: Wild Ones (pop) 10 p.m.: Honeyblood (crunch pop) 11 p.m.: 2:54 (rock)
Hard Rock Cafe (all ages)
7 p.m.: Hollow Wood (indie pop) 8 p.m.: Field Mouse (indie folk) 9 p.m.: IAMWE (pop) 10 p.m.: Maudlin Strangers (indie rock) 11 p.m.: Hey Marseilles (indie folk) Midnight: Jared and the Mill (indie folk)
Punk Rock Alley (all ages)
7 p.m.: Wax Witches (punk) 8 p.m.: Slipping Into Darkness (shurpedelic rock) 9 p.m.: Party Gardens (psychedelic surf rock) 10 p.m.: Dads (punk) 11 p.m.: Playboy Manbaby (punk)
7 p.m.: Tobie Milford (chamber pop) 8 p.m.: Aleyska (indie rock) 9 p.m.: A Cloud For Climbing (organic electronic) 10 p.m.: Dark Waves (indie pop) 11 p.m.: Mrch (indie pop) Midnight: Gospel Claws (melodramatic pop)
Last Exit Live (21-and-over)
7 p.m.: Treasurefruit (pop, rock) 8 p.m.: Wild Earth (indie, alternative) 9 p.m.: The Senators (indie, folk) 10 p.m.: Banana Gun (alternative) 11 p.m.: Michael Rault (psych, pop) Midnight: Sara Robinson (rock, blues)
One Coffee Co (all ages)
7 p.m.: Julia Lauren (acoustic) 8 p.m.: Chicks With Picks contest winner (acoustic) 9 p.m.: Tina Estes (acoustic) 10 p.m.: Betsy Ganz (acoustic)
Bar Smith (21-and-over)
8 p.m.: DJ Pickster One (turntablism, hip-hop, funk, moombahton) 9 p.m.: Joe Kay (electronica) 10 p.m.: Pomo (electronica) 11 p.m.: Esta (electronica) Midnight: Sweater Beats (electronica) 1 a.m. Broadway Slim (hip-hop, trap)
Kalliope at Crescent Ballroom (21-and-over)
9 p.m.: : DJ Ellery (open format) 10 p.m.: : DJ Bennie Beatnik (electro, nu-disco, house, rock) 11 p.m.: : Mykill (EDM) Midnight: Sean Watson electro, nu-disco, rock, hip-hop, funk, remixes) 1 a.m. Klu and Pablo Gomez (open format)
Orpheum Theatre Lobby (all ages)
7:15: Kelso Brothers Quintet (jazz) 9:15 p.m.: Chris Light Group (jazz)
Goldwater Room at Renaissance Phoenix Hotel (21-and-over)
6 p.m.: DJ Maclovio (cumbia) 7 p.m.: Santa Pachita (cumbia, ska) 8 p.m.: Thee Commons (Latin punk) 9 p.m.: La Diabla (cumbia) 10 p.m.: Buyepongo (tropical) 11 p.m.: Conjuto Nueva Ola (cumbia) Midnight: Chicha Dust (psychadelic rock, cumbia) 1 a.m.: DJ Melo (cumbia, AfroLatino, nortena, tropica)
Grace Chapel (all ages)
7 p.m.: Happy Plaza (Americana) 8 p.m.: Lonna Kelley (psych-folk) 9 p.m.: Flamenco Por La Vida (Latin, folk) 10 p.m.: Giant Sand (desert rock, alt-country) 11:15 p.m.: Haunted Summer (dream pop)
Ivory Room at Monarch Theatre (21-and-over)
Midnight: DJ Sander Kleinenberg (house)
The Nash (all ages)
7:30 p.m.: Eric Rasmussen's School of Tristano Trio (jazz)
The Vig Filmore (all ages)
5 p.m.: Brian Chartrand (singer-songwriter)
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