McDowell Mountain Music Festival

10 Things We Learned at McDowell Mountain Music Festival

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Chill Festivals are the Best Festivals The entire experience of McDowell Mountain Music Festival felt incredibly relaxed. No one was fighting, no one was outrageously intoxicated (though midday naps weren't out of the question for a few overly ambitious festival-goers). Security pat-downs were respectful and not overly invasive, like they are at certain venues around the Valley, and inside, everyone seemed content to get high, relax, and take in the good vibes. There were booths and other commerce-oriented offerings around the park, but it never felt like the nonprofit organizers were trying to nickel-and-dime you out of every dollar you brought. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

Terrible Air Quality Compounds over Time Spending six to eight hours a day for three days standing in a park is tough enough on an aging set of legs, but combine that with Phoenix's terrible air quality and several thousand people smoking cigarettes and other substances for hours on end, and you get a recipe for torn up lungs. After spending three days at the festival, I had a terrible, raspy cough and shortness of breath, and I don't even smoke. Dancing in front of the main stages felt like jogging behind a semi, or maybe doing calisthenics in a hookah lounge. DAVID ACCOMAZZO

Phoenix LOVES Widespread Panic I've gone to see bands with more national pedigree and more expensive tickets headline their own shows that did not maintain the level of fan retention Widespread Panic did at Margaret T. Hance park Sunday night. It was seriously like something I have never seen before. For more than two hours the Athens, GA based jam band kept thousands of MMMF concert goers completely enthralled. Rumor is the festival sold out of general admission tickets for the festival for the Sunday lineup, which also included heavy hitters Beats Antique and Trampled By Turtles. JEFF MOSES

Phoenix is Becoming a Real Festival Town McDowell Mountain Music Festival 2015 came after a month of live music events that included, just to name a few, Pot of Gold Music Festival, Viva Phoenix Music Festival, and Phoenix Lights. Though it was still able to not only draw massive crowd, but also get that crowd more engaged and dancing more than any of the previous events. When Phoenix is rocking at least one major musical event every weekend in the month of March and all of them are drawing thousands, it says that Phoenix's taste for live music is definitely taking an upturn. Plus, it really looked like more festival goers came out with utility belts, hoods, fur boots, and other festival garments -- another sign that Phoenix is feeling its growing festival culture. JEFF MOSES

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