The Best and Worst of M3F 2022 in Downtown Phoenix
The return of M3F (formerly known as McDowell Mountain Music Festival) was a two-day experience full of tunes, people and vibes.
Here’s the best and worst of last weekend at Margaret T. Hance Park.
People-watching is the unspoken source of entertainment at any music festival, and M3F provided two days of prime views. EDM’s strong presence in the lineup ensured that a bunch of Burning Man ravers and types would show up to the festival, and they came dressed in their best. We’ve seen plenty of ’70s-style jumpsuits, all tie-dye, faux fur, wild colors, crazy sunglasses and, oddly enough, more than one man in a chicken jumpsuit. Jennifer Goldberg
The worst: the lines
Complaining about lines at a music festival is like complaining about lines at Disneyland. There is no point in being upset by the inevitable. But I’m not here to insist that the lines are long – it was a pill I was willing to swallow. Where M3F struggled was with online maintenance. At the main entrance, the general admission line only splits into three separate lanes about 60 feet from the entrance. Media, VIP and Platinum pass holders were also not given clear instructions on where to enter, leading many to join the single-file GA line, which sometimes made a full circle around Second Street.
And the lines weren’t much better inside. In the food court, vendors were placed in an inexplicable circle, instead of being lined up parallel for organization. During the 7 p.m. dinner rush, queues to each vendor sometimes stretched the entire diameter of the circular food court, intersecting with others and creating a messy spider’s web of festival-goers hungry. I saw a few of them waiting in a half hour queue for bao buns, only to find out at the end that they were actually in the noodle queue. At that time, they took what they could get. Yeah. Gannon Hanevold
Best: Heathen the Art Car
There’s no better welcome to a festival packed with house and EDM artists than a van dressed up as a bull named Heathen. And did we mention he breathes fire? The truck, owned by local entertainment company Walter Productions, was placed at the entrance to Third Street, shooting flames unpredictably into the sky through a piston mounted on its cab. On a freezing Friday evening, the blast of heat was at first alarming, then endearing. Between sets, Walter could be heard from as far away as the Pompelli stage between acts. GH
The worst: The wind
Nothing spoils my mood like the wind. In a festival setting, at its best, it can be a pleasant breeze to cool off in the heart of the day. At worst, the wind stirs up allergies and a bad time. In the untended dirt areas between Moreland Street and Roosevelt Street, the wind created small armies of sand throughout the day, tormenting the many lines at the entrance to General Admission and never losing a battle. Many fans entered the doors with itchy eyes and a sudden urge to buy a jacket from the sales booth.
The thin ornaments on the side of the stages weren’t up to par either, swaying back and forth and turning the jumbotrons into a moving target. When I stopped for a funnel cake between sets, the wind blew away the powdered sugar and turned my black jeans and gray hoodie into a monochromatic Jackson Pollock painting. I just wanted dessert and instead I became the subject of Def Leppard’s biggest hit. GH
The plus: The activities
No matter how much you love music, after two good days at a festival you need a change. M3F is great because it gives participants options other than watching a scene. There were yoga classes, drum circles, coloring projects, art cars, photo props, and lots of vendors selling stickers, sparkly capes, and more. This meant that even when we needed a break to look at sets, we were never bored. JJ