10 Things We Learned at McDowell Mountain Music Festival 2014

Benjamin Leatherman
See No. 4

This year's McDowell Mountain Festival went off like a weekend in the park, and we mean that both figuratively and literally. Perched upon the green grass of Margaret T. Hance Park, the three-day concert fest seemingly took place without a hitch and happened to feature gorgeous weather and a lot of memorable gigs on both of its stages.

Although MMMF has gotten some competition from other local festivals in recent years, like from True Music and Apache Lake music festivals, it manages to carve out its own identity and stand on its own.

Well, TMF can go ahead and attempt to be the Valley's Coachella, because MMMF has always been Metro Phoenix's homegrown Bonnaroo. As with the 10 previous years of MMMF, the offerings at its 11th edition were diverse.

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Melissa Fossum
Allen Stone

While some scoffed at this year's lineup for lacking acts with the mainstream appeal, McDowell stuck to their groovy roots and jam band leanings by bringing in headliners who are commercially successful (Grammy winners Charlie Musselwhite and Ben Harper), uniquely iconic (Dwight Yoakam), or just bound for stardom (West Water Outlaws, Allen Stone), as well as those who stalwart jam bands like The Disco Biscuits and STS9.

It was an eclectic weekend full of quality music that left a more than 4,000 in attendance heading home satisfied and smiling. The weekend provided many, including ourselves with a musical education, so here is what we learned at McDowell Mountain Music Festival 2014.

Melissa Fossum
Jon Gutwillig of Disco Biscuits.

10. The Music Never Stops for The Disco Biscuits

The Philadelphia-based EDM jam band have the stamina of a Kenyan marathon runner during their set, especially drummer Allen Aucoin, and keyboard player Aron Magner. The super-trippy quintet played the Saturday headliner slot and had everyone from the EDM candy kids to the original Deadheads dancing and shimmying to the groove. Add the light show and the event became like an acid trip on its own.

Having the Disco Biscuits rock the headliner set where The Roots were last year is a clear statement that MMMF is and always will be a jam-band-centric festival. Good on them for it to because not everything needs to be the hip new thing. The Disco Biscuits have been providing fans of jam bands with interstellar traveler quality music for nearly 20 years, and it's great that McDowell can attract top tier jam bands like them.

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So awesome that MMMF had such an awesome diverse lienup this year! By far the best festival in Arizona with its professional production and music selection. Doesn't get better than having banging hip hop electric with gramatik and then followed by out of this world psychedelic jamming with STS9 with it's opening day. Then chilled out with then next few days of solid jams from slightly stoopid and disco biscuits. Thank you MMMF for bringing this to the Arizona music scene! Looking forward to next year!

Kyle Day
Kyle Day

Carl Momberger - Deschutes participates in the festival because of their willingness to contribute their product/time/marketing to the festival charity organizations. And the beer is fantastic!!!

Joe Kennedy
Joe Kennedy

It's just too bad the founder of this festival couldn't keep the Compound Grill open. Great place for a show.

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