McDowell Mountain Music Festival 2015

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Sister Lip proving girls rock. All photos by Zach Lewis.

By Joe Golfen
Contributing Writer

Photos by Zach Lewis
Contributing Photographer

The McDowell Mountain Music Festival once again took over part of Margaret T. Hance Park, filling the normally quiet section of downtown Phoenix with three days of indie-rock, experimental electronica, and jammy funk.

The always eclectic lineup seemed especially varied this year, headlined by indietronica rockers Passion Pit on Friday night, DJ collective Thievery Corporation on Saturday, and jam-band royalty Widespread Panic closing things out on Sunday. In between, the fest featured standout sets by Portugal the Man, Real Estate, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Trampled By Turtles and many more.

And as impressive as the national acts were, the local stage alone was worth the price of admission. The local stage featured outstanding performances by some of the Valley’s finest, including Snake! Snake! Snakes!, The Senators, Small Leaks Sink Ships, Playboy Manbaby, Captain Squeegee, Haymarket Squares and many more.

This was the third year the festival has been held downtown and the Hance Park location suits the mellow vibe of the festival much better than its previous home the Compound Grille in suburban north Phoenix. The crowd looks like a mini-version of Coachella or Bonnaroo; a blissed out mix of fashionable hipsters, hula-hooping hippies and excited jam-band lovers, all sipping beer in the warm sunshine.


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Snake! Snake! Snakes! rock the local stage on Day 1

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Portugal. The Man on the main stage, Day 1

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Local legend Walt Richardson gets the crowd excited for the next act

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First round of drum circle action

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The Senators rounding out the local stage on Day 1

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Small Leaks Sink Ships headlining the local stage, Day 2

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Passion Pit headlining the main stage, Day 1

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The hula hoop contingency was strong at McDowell Mountain this year

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Trombone Short and Orleans Avenue tearing up the main stage, Day 2

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Phantogram entrancing fans on the main stage, Day 2

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Local favorites Playboy Manbaby treating crowds to a lively performance

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Thievery Corporation headlining the main stage, Day 2

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Phoenix reggae rockers Black Bottom Lighters

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The festival provided an atmosphere of fun for all ages

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Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe packed a punch on the main stage, Day 3

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Phoenix locals The Haymarket Squares rocking their way to sunset

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The festival provided fans with ample comfort and scenery

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Beats Antique providing a powerful blend of world music, Day 3



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