Our field guide to March’s best live music festivals.

Music Notes: March Music Fests

Written by Jason P. Woodbury Category: Arts Issue: March 2017
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March Music Fests
March in Phoenix is always bustling with live music, as three major festivals converge on the Valley of the Sun. Here’s our field guide of what to expect at each.

McDowell Mountain Music Festival
March 3-5
A 100 percent nonprofit gathering with proceeds benefitting local charities, MMMF leans heavy on its jam band roots, with the 2017 installment of the show featuring Southern rockers Gov’t Mule, funksters Lettuce and “newgrass” band Railroad Earth. But indie rock provides big draws too, including performances by The Shins, Grouplove and electronica act Flume. MMMF always shines a light on local acts as well. This year, progressive rockers Harrison Fjord and the folky outfit Treasure Fruit join a dozen or so Sonoran bands on various stages at Margaret T. Hance Park in Downtown Phoenix.

March 11
Organized by Stateside Presents, VIVA PHX boasts a mix of classic hip-hop acts like Mystikal, Too $hort and Tone Loc; EDM star Girl Talk; classic alternative and punk rockers like Tommy Stinson’s Bash and Pop, Reverend Horton Heat and X; up-and-comers Joyce Manor and Jeff Rosenstock; plenty of indie bands like The Drums and Yacht; and genre-blending groups like Latin psych/soul/tropicalia band Chicano Batman. The festival takes place in assorted Downtown Phoenix venues.

Pot of Gold Music Festival
March 17-18
Celtic punks Flogging Molly own St. Patty’s Day, but from there Lucky Man’s Pot of Gold Music Festival at Rawhide is an eclectic blend. Indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie and Wolf Parade mix it up with NOFX, 311 and Sublime with Rome, and the fest has booked some of the biggest names in hip-hop, including southern duo Rae Sremmurd, known for the hit “Black Beatles” and Atlanta’s Desiigner, best known for the ear worm “Panda.”

—  Jason P. Woodbury