Donning last season’s coats they thought they stored away for the year, hauling their lounge chairs and blankets to the corner of 68th and Mayo, festival-goers wouldn’t let anything stop them from guzzling their brew of choice and enjoying the three days of live music at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival.
Held from Friday, April 13 to Sunday, April 15, the McDowell Mountain Music Festival welcomed attendees of all ages — from the little ones hula hooping in the Kids Zone and the hippies who felt at home, to the Grateful-Dead-fanatic folks who swayed and boogied to every track the Dark Star Orchestra performed on Saturday night. (And let’s not forget how hot and bothered and shirtless and sweaty it got Saturday night inside the Compound Grill during EOTO’s performance.)
While the weather was far from clear and sunny that weekend, one message was far from muddled — the attendees were there to have a good time with friends and family, and all for a great cause. With a “do good, feel good” attitude boasting from plenty of festival-goers, 100 percent of the proceeds benefited the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Ear Candy, a non-profit music organization.
The McDowell Mountain Music Festival main stage welcomed artists including Galactic, Ozomatli and Endoplasmic (improvisational dance music) on Friday; Dark Star Orchestra, funky Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Anders Osborne, Trevor Hall (a hybrid of rock and reggae), Tramps and Thieves and relatively-new-to-the-scene Nameless Prophets on Saturday; and on Sunday, bluegrass band the Travelin’ McCourys featuring Keller Williams, Soulive and Carolina Chocolate Drops.
The festival also hosted after hours performances in the Compound Grill for those who wanted to continue the party indoors. The Motet performed on Friday; and EOTO, a 100 percent improvised mix of dubstep, trip-hop, breakbeat, house, and drum and bass, performed Saturday.
During the day, attendees were able to filter in and out of Compound, the music transitioning “from the mainstream to the indie scene,” featuring artists and bands including Quick Henry and PHX on Friday; Spafford, Future Loves Past and Synaptic Soul on Saturday; and Voluntary String Band and Decker on Sunday.
One of the most vibrant performances in the Compound Grill, however, came from attendees of all ages who partook in the drum circle, playing the drums, shakers, tambourine, bells and more as patrons dined and others danced.