Music News

What's Happening with Viva PHX 2018?

Temples performs at VIVA PHX on Saturday, March 11, 2017.
Temples performs at VIVA PHX on Saturday, March 11, 2017. Jim Louvau
Between the barrage of lineup announcements and save-the-dates, 2018's looking like it'll have no shortage of music festivals. But Phoenix New Times has learned that one major player on the Valley's festival circuit will be M.I.A. in the new year.

Viva PHX won't return in 2018, says Charlie Levy of Stateside Presents.

The veteran concert promoter behind the annual downtown Phoenix festival says there are a few reasons why the event, whose 2017 edition brought 100 bands to more than 20 stages in a single night, isn't happening next spring.

"It's a combination of things," Levy says. "We're really having trouble getting top-quality bands, and we really pride ourselves on that. And it's tough to get 80 to 100 bands that we can put our stamp of approval on."
He says he's unsure whether the Valley's expanding festival offerings played a part in that, or if it had something to do with South by Southwest's lineup not being as big as it was in 2016. "I don't think about that kind of stuff," he says. "It's more just kinda like that's where the chips fall."

Levy adds that sponsorship dollars were a little off. (Full disclosure: New Times had been a sponsor of the festival.) And his team has been extra busy with the recently opened venue The Van Buren, Levy's newest concert hall in partnership with Live Nation. Levy also owns Crescent Ballroom and Valley Bar.

With all those factors at play, Levy says he came to the conclusion that it made sense to sit 2018 out as far as Viva was concerned.

Levy isn't ruling out something happening on a smaller scale in the coming year, but says that there's nothing in the works at this point. Though if something were to come together, it wouldn't be called Viva PHX.

But that doesn't mean the music festival is gone for good.

"To be as corny as ever," Levy laughs, "the Viva PHX might rise again."
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski