Downtown Phoenix's Margaret T. Hance Park will become something of a hallowed ground for music fans this weekend. Over three straight days, a couple of acres of grass will be transformed into an outdoor temple of sound during the annual McDowell Mountain Music Festival featuring some rather godlike deities from indie rock, electronica, blues, and jam band worlds will be eagerly worshiped by the faithful underneath the sun and stars.
Think we're laying it on a bit thick here? Probably, but it definitely could be argued that MMMF, which takes place from Friday, March 27, to Sunday, March 29, is something akin to a spiritual experience for some of the thousands of people who turn out for the annual event in droves. Its also a pilgrimage of sorts for some folks who travel across a few states to attend.
At the very least, its one helluva good time that's become one of the Valley's premier music festivals.
MMMF is also a meeting ground for music fans from all walks of life, whether they're indie fans eager to see such acts as Phantogram or Passion Pit, roots-rock afficinados, the jam band faithful who are ready to get their groove on, or local music gurus.
A lot tends to happen over the festival's three-day run, between all the bands that are scheduled to perform, the drum circles, the after-parties, and the activity that takes place among the vendor's row. As such, we've got a rundown of all the vital information you'll need to be aware of in order to get the most out of MMMF 2015.
Time/Place: The festival will take place from Friday, March 27, until Sunday, March 29, at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 North Third Street, with opening and performance times varying throughout the weekend.
On Friday, gates will open at 1 p.m. and the music starts at 2 p.m. and runs until approximately 11 p.m. Meanwhile, the the festival opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday with performances starting at noon and going until 11 p.m.. both days.
Prices: Ticket prices vary depending on how much of the festival you'd like to see and how you'd like to see it. For instance, daily general admission is $60 while VIP admission is $190 and includes such perks as an express entry, access to private viewing areas and bathrooms, two meals and five alcoholic beverages or beers, discounts on merchandise, and other perks. A three-day general admission pass is also available available for $165 and kids 10 and under get in for free. (On-site camping is also available for those who are interested.)
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Age Limits: The festival is an all-ages event. That said, consider bringing along ear protection for your kids and keep in mind that some of the lyrical content might not be suitable.
Weather: It's going to be hot this weekend, so be sure to dress appropriately. Temperatures will be in the low to mid-90s all three days with plenty of sun and nary a cloud in the sky.
Getting There: Since Hance Park is only a block or two from the Central and Roosevelt light rail station, taking the train is the most convenient option. There are various park and ride lots located along the light rail system where you can stash your car, each of which are free of charge.
Several parking structures are within walking distance to the park and range in price from $5 to $20 per day. Street parking is also available nearby wherever you can find a space with meters running until 10 p.m. daily for $1.50 per hour.
Food and drink: Vendors are sort of a big thing at MMMF and this year's no exception as a variety of food trucks will be slinging eats at the event, including Pho King, The Hungry Monk, Hoghouse BBQ, Ultra Crepes, and others. Liquor and beer will also be available for purchase, as will any number of non-alcholic beverages.
Water: You'll definitely need to avail yourself of it during the festival thanks to the heat and all the exertion involved. Good thing that a free water station will be set up near the rear of the park where you can refill bottles and containers, which need to be either sealed or empty upon entry.
Bring: Cash, if you'd like to speed things along; an ID, if you'd like to drink; and any combination of sunglasses, sunblock, and a hat, if you'd like to limit your exposure to the elements. Umbrellas and chairs are also allowed in designated areas only.
And if you're big on flow toys like hula hoops or glowstick poi, those sort of things are not only encouraged but are available for sale along vendor row.
Don't Bring: Any of the following items are banned from the festival grounds, so be sure to leave them at home - fireworks, weapons, drugs, pets, and/or drugged-up pets bearing weapons or fireworks. Outside food and beverages are also forbidden.
Schedule and Set Times:
With more than three-dozen different bands and acts performing during the three-day festival, you might want to keep track of who's hitting which stage and when. What follows is a complete rundown.
Friday, March 27
2:30 p.m. - UFN 4:00 p.m. - Soul Country 5:30 p.m. - Djentrification 7:15 p.m. - Snake! Snake! Snakes! 9:00 p.m. - The Senators
2:00 p.m. - The Hourglass Cats 3:00 p.m. - Slow Magic 4:30 p.m. - Robert Delong 6:00 p.m. - STRFKR 7:45 p.m. - Portugal. The Man 9:30 p.m. - Passion Pit
Saturday, March 28
1:00 p.m. - Pastries With Teeth 2:30 p.m. - Drum Circle 4:00 p.m. - Gus Campbell 5:30 p.m. - Drum Circle 7:15 p.m. - Playboy Manbaby 9:00 p.m. - Small Leaks Sink Ships
Noon - Tommy Ash Band 1:30 p.m. - Ryan Bingham 3:00 p.m. - Break Science 4:30 p.m. - Real Estate 6:00 p.m. - Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue 9:30 p.m. - Thievery Corporation 7:45 p.m. - Phantogram
Sunday, March 29
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1:15 p.m. - Drum Circle 2:45 p.m. - Sister Lip 4:15 p.m. - Drum Circle 6:00 p.m. - Haymarket Squares 7:30 p.m. - Captain Squeegee
Noon - Black Bottom Lighters 12:45 p.m. - Spafford 1:45 p.m. - The Revivalists 3:15 p.m. - Karl Denson's Tiny Universe 4:45 p.m. - Trampled By Turtles 6:30 p.m. - Beats Antique 8:00 p.m. - Widespread Panic