Movin’ to the Groovin’ | M3F Festival Review

Movin' to the Groovin' | M3F


If you’re looking for a music experience that feels more like a neighborhood block party than a world-wide bonanza, McDowell Mountain Music Festival (M3F) is the place to be. 



In the heart of Phoenix, Arizona we were in close proximity to cool Air BnB’s, easy pick-up spots for Lyft, and the M3F after-hour shows. With the festival taking place in early spring and in a desert climate, you can still except some chilly evenings. However, since it is the first weekend of March you can still enjoy “festival season” even if your job or other priorities prevent you from attending other events throughout the rest of the year. I am a wildland firefighter during the summer, so I am grateful to have festivals like M3F and Lost Lake available at the beginning and end of the season to have fun and get my groove on.


M3F 2018 was my first year at this groovy gathering. Through its existence there have only been two stages for the Friday-Sunday fun, but this year a third stage was added to the mix. Even with the now three stage set-up, there are plenty of port-o-potties and can easily walk around without feeling like a sardine. Festival vibes with a chill-weekend-with-friends atmosphere.


M3F was built on the idea of giving back. Built on the foundation of community, culture, and charity, M3F has been bringing people together since 2004 and has been able to donate over $1,00,000 to local Arizona charities (how cool is that)!! #EveryTicketCounts

M3F’s Purpose:

To connect the community through a festival gathering including music, arts and food.

To entertain the community, companies and their employees.

To support the arts in an effort that they may grow and exist for future generations to enjoy.

To provide financial support and education to family based charities in an effort to provide equitable advancement throughout the community.


Along with bringing people together to share their love of music, art, and giving back, M3F has also been bringing together great line-ups to create memorable weekends year after year.

For an idea of what you can expect at future M3F’s, below is the 2018 line-up.

all line-up media from M3F


Videos and pictures that captured the M3F moments that I will always cherish. 

M3F 1

Laying in the grass with Father John Misty serenading us, the desert sunset painting the sky blue, purple, and pink – pure bliss, and one of my boyfriend and I’s favorite sets solely because of the vibes.

Cut Copy on the main stage

Matt (my boyfriend) and I enjoying ourselves on Day 1

Nick Murphy (Chet Baker)

Enjoying the lazy afternoon on the last day of the fest.

Big G makin’ us move to the groove

Matt and I

Lucky Chops killing it.

Cut Copy finishing out their stellar performance. Gorgon City’s set on this stage the next day was also stellar. #TheySlayed


Each day there was an artist where in the middle of the set that we did not hold too many expectations to, Matt and I would look at each other and say, “… Whoa. This is good.”



Fun, uplifting vibes – and the first time hearing steel drums during a set.

FAV SONGS: Love Sick & Lotus Eater



I would describe their in person set as the experience you think of when someone asks about the EDM “experience”. Entrancing, deep, reflective, and freaking dope.

FAV SONGS: Feel It All Around, It All Feels Right, & I’ve Been Daydreaming My Entire Life



Super high energy!! This brassy ensemble definitely sent us to Funky Town for a fun last day of the fest. And they are currently working on their first full production studio album! So keep an eye out for that.

FAV SONGS: Helter Skelter & Funky Town / I Feel Good

As a new Arizonian, I love that this sunny state is filled with amazing vibes, unforgettable music experiences, and beautiful souls.

~Katie Wimpari



About: Katie Wimpari

I am a PNW native, and grew up in the rural northeast corner of Washington. When it was time for college I called Louisville, Kentucky home for five years. Currently based in Arizona for the next set of adventures!