The McDowell Mountain Music Festival lineup was announced: Who is coming to the Valley?

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Phantogram is just one of the many national acts playing at the 12th McDowell Mountain Music Festival, taking place from March 27-29. The lineup to the nonprofit festival was announced Saturday at Copper Blues in downtown Phoenix. (Courtesy of MMMF)
Phantogram is one of the many national acts playing at the 12th Annual McDowell Mountain Music Festival in March. The lineup was announced Saturday at Copper Blues. (Courtesy of McDowell Mountain Music Festival)

The lineup for the 12th Annual McDowell Mountain Music Festival was announced Saturday night at Copper Blues located in downtown Phoenix.

Included in the lineup are Widespread Panic, Passion Pit, Thievery Corporation, Phantogram, Portugal. the Man, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Beats Antique, Trampled by Turtles, STRFKR, Robert DeLong, and Break Science.

The reveal, which featured performances from the bands The Senators and The Haymarket Squares, was the first of a series of concerts leading up to the festival, which will take place March 27-29 at Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix.

“We’re doing one about once a month leading up to the festival in March,” said Nate Largay, who does public relations for the festival and organized the reveal event.

Marc Oxborrow of The Haymarket Squares said the Copper Blues reveal had a great turnout.

“We have fans there, I know that they’re excited now about the festival,” Oxborrow said. “I assume that works both ways that there were some folks who might have just been there because they love musical festivals and now they’ve seen a couple of local bands and they’re even more excited because there are additional bands in it other than the headliners that they can look forward to.”

Future events will be held over the next few months to raise awareness for the festival, a strategy that Oxborrow said will only help the McDowell Mountain Music Festival.

“I think it’s a smart way to get fans of national bands interested in local, and vice versa, and to keep McDowell Mountain in front of people,” Oxborrow said. “The momentum can die down after the initial reveal.”

McDowell Mountain Music Festival, a nonprofit festival, donates all proceeds to charities across the Valley. The festival has raised more than $1 million since its inception in 2004.

Sara Anderson, an events manager with festival partner Downtown Phoenix, Inc., said the downtown music scene is “a thriving multi-genre scene.”

“Music culture is a huge asset of downtown Phoenix,” Anderson said. “We have an emerging music market here. We have a little bit of everything in a very small area, so we attract a huge demographic of music lovers to one small area.”

The bill has acts from multiple genres. In the past, acts such as The Roots and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have played the festival.

“It’s just progressive, year after year, we get more national coverage than what we anticipate,” said Largay about the event’s growth in recent years.

National acts bring in a wider audience, which can benefit downtown, Anderson said.

“Not only will (the audience) come to the festival, but they’ll stay in hotels, they’ll experience the dining scene we have here,” Anderson said.

However, even though the festival has grown to include national artists, there is still a heavy focus on local acts, Oxborrow said.

“I think that McDowell Mountain has had a really strong track record from year to year bringing in great outside bands, (with) headliners that might not otherwise come to Phoenix, but also showing the love to local acts, too,” Oxborrow said.

“It’s been a goal of ours to play there,” said Oxborrow, noting that it was The Haymarket Squares’s first year playing.

Community will also be emphasized in the concert experience.

“We have a great sense of community,” Anderson said. “It’s one of those hidden gems, once you get here you realize what it’s all about –- but you have to get here first.”

Downtown Phoenix, Inc.’s support of the festival helps all of downtown, Anderson said.

“Our main initiative is to make sure that downtown Phoenix is a great place to live, work and play,” Anderson said. “Music is a huge component of that.”

The festival will take place for three days spanning from March 27-29. For more information and to purchase single-day and three-day passes visit the McDowell Mountain website.

Correction: Dec. 16, 2014: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the band member of the Haymarket Squares. His name is Marc Oxborrow, not Mark Sunman.

Contact the reporter at alexandra.watts@asu.edu

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