“If you’re going through shit, just dance. Enjoy yourself and dance,” said Brooks Nielsen, lead singer of The Growlers.
M3F Music Festival, formerly known as the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, took place in Phoenix, Arizona from March 6 through March 8. This year’s lineup included Bon Iver, Local Natives, LANY, The Growlers, Snakehips and RÜFÜS DU SOL.
What makes M3F unique is that it is a completely non-profit festival. While the ‘3’ in M3F represents its former name, they also believe in three C’s: community, culture and charity. Last year, M3F raised over $500,000 and more than $2 million total since its establishment in 2004 that was donated to local charities such as the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Teach for America and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Arizona.
Aside from music, Saturday’s activities included live art installations, yoga sessions, drum circles and a silent disco. The Kerouac main stage was also a point of interest, with local band Kharachi being the first performer of the day. Opening with a cover of the theme song from “The Office,” their set also included covers of Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” Walk the Moon’s “Jenny” and Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This).”
Young Sick N Company was next, consisting of Dutch artist Nick van Hofwegen in collaboration with Jerusafunk and the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra. Van Hofwegen’s smooth R&B vocals complimented the diverse array of instruments beautifully, making for an interesting set. The Generationals followed, coming all the way from New Orleans. They performed some of their most memorable songs such as “Yours Forever,” “Put a Light On” and “When They Fight, They Fight.”
The festival’s crowd flocked to the Kerouac stage for The Growlers later in the evening. Despite the sun setting, the Californian surf rockers brought the sunshine with songs ranging from all over their extensive discography. Fan favorites from the set included “One Million Lovers,” “Chinese Fountain” and “I’ll Be Around.” Headliner RÜFÜS DU SOL closed the night with an explosive performance that had everyone dancing.
If you are looking for a weekend of diverse music and positivity, M3F is a good time and a good cause.