Imagine this: Energy and excitement radiate into the air as you jump to the beat of Maggie Rogers up on stage. Dancing the night away like the party will last forever. Beads of sweat form on your brows and run down your cheeks leaving streaks in your foundation, but still you smile. Taking in the madness of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival (M3F Fest) in the fresh air of Margaret T. Hance Park.  

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For almost two full decades, the M3F Fest has been delivering concerts to music lovers while donating to charities that benefit the community.  

Talent and Marketing Manager RJ Largay said, “The goal was to pump some vibrance and some culture into the community while simultaneously trying to find a philanthropic avenue that made a genuine contribution to the community.” 

This year’s festival will be at Margaret T. Hance Park during the first weekend of March and will feature artists such as Maggie Rogers, Jamie XX, Polo & Pan, Quinn XCII and many more. As usual, 100% of the proceeds will go to charity. 

Since the festival’s creation in 2004, it has raised and donated over $4 million dollars with a record breaking $1.2 million donated last year alone. 

Largay explained that they have “just found great partners” when it comes to determining what projects to donate the money to. 

“We want to work with people who want to work with us,” he said. “We want to be a part of something that really, truly resonates with the community.” 

Most recently, M3F Fest has been working with Cowtown Skateboards. 

“They are the easiest to work with and they should absolutely be applauded for all the effort that they put forth,” Largay said. “Those guys genuinely care about what their skateboard community is in this area.” 

They have been working together to provide skateboards to kids around The Valley as well as create a series of murals by local artists around Phoenix 

One of the five murals being put up is downtown at The Pemberton.  

Local artist Alisa Malta is self-taught and hopes the mural provides inspiration for all who look at it. 

As a big fan of live music herself, Malta said, “I wanted to create something that was a visual representation of the waves of energy that we feel in those spaces and the opportunity for connection that we have to the music, to ourselves and to each other and that community.” 

Malta also mentioned she hopes it inspires people to want to attend the festival.  

“It really is so important and what they’re doing is so amazing. At the very least, that’s my hope,” she said. 

For attendees this year, Largay said they took in the feedback about issues with lines last year. The Pemberton will be used as a box office starting Wednesday for those who want to pick up their tickets and/or buy some merchandise ahead of time.  

Beyond this, he explained that all together everyone at the M3F Fest is there to put out what the people want as far as the music at the festival and the philanthropy that the money goes towards. He encourages everyone to go to social media, share the murals, tag the organization and share new ideas if they have them.  

“There needs to be a genuine initiative and activism piece to the philanthropy that we’re doing, and if we can make it work, we will,” he said. 

Largay knows that without the community behind them, the M3F Fest would not be able to do any of the philanthropy that they have taken part in thus far, so he said, “We’re just really grateful for the participation and the years and years of support.”