Festival Report CardMusic Festivals

Festival Report Card: M3F 2024

Image credit M3F

Festival season 2024 is finally here and EDM Maniac rang it in at M3F in Arizona, an event that donates 100% of its proceeds to charity as a non-profit music festival.

This indie and electronic event was two days of sun, community connection, and, of course, music that made us so glad to be back doing our favorite pastime.

But while we met some amazing people and felt truly welcomed to this desert dance party, there were some large issues with the new venue including a less-than-stellar production that left us wishing for more. Read below:

Image credit trappin_bennii

Vibes: A

The vibes were the best part of M3F. Attendees came together for a good cause as the festival is 100% non-profit and all proceeds go to local charities.

We would have liked to see more representation at the festival of the charities the proceeds were going to, but it felt good knowing M3F was making efforts to throw this type of event.

While most attendees were Arizona locals, we met some people from different states who had traveled in for their first house music festival and to check out the Phoenix area as well. We were gifted items, like a sprout shaped like a pine tree from a Michigan local or ducks named Jefferson, and noticed that everyone was very welcoming.

The festival’s clear bag policy was a tad strict, which was a slight pain, but we noticed that there were no reports of stolen phones. We felt very safe with our belongings and even felt comfortable putting our bags on the ground to dance without worrying they’d get picked up.

There was plenty of space to move, people always said excuse me, and we often got welcomed into surrounding groups.

The coolest part was we once saw artists hanging out in the GA crowd. it’s murph played on Saturday and we randomly met him in the crowd during Bennett Coast later in the night.

He was very nice to everyone surrounding him and thankful we all went to his set earlier in the day. We felt great vibes all around, from the staff to the artists and the attendees.

Production: C

While this festival did do a good job of utilizing the space that they had, we felt the production was pretty lackluster. 

The three main stages, Vista Stage, Daydream Stage, and Cosmic Stage, held the majority of the talent for the weekend. Each looked exactly the same but was just placed in a different part of the venue with the two across from each other alternating sets to avoid sound bleed.

While there were LED screens on each stage and M3F signage all around, the stages worked but felt a little underdone for the talent that was performing on them.

The other glaring issue was the unbalanced bass that made it both difficult to hear closer to the front of the stages and dangerously loud. Don’t get me wrong, we love bass, but when you can barely hear the lyrics to Duke Dumont’s “The Power” over the chest-shaking bass, it makes for a less fun experience.

We also noticed a change in volume during many of the sets and it was a bit hard to hear at some points. But overall the music brought great vibes and the sets we saw were amazing.

Image credit M3F

Music: B+

The lineup was the main draw for a lot of the festival attendees we talked to.

Lane 8, Elderbrook, Dominic Fike, Hippocampus, and more were some of the headliners for M3F and it proved to be a great weekend of music.

With a mix of indie, house, and pop, this festival had something for the whole family. M3F is all ages and we saw many kids jamming out to every set for a wholesome experience.

Some standouts include Elderbrook, who performed an epic live set and brought all his instruments. Gorgon City also brought many people together and their song “Voodoo” felt like a pause in time with the whole festival smiling and dancing around.

The live bands and performers also offered a perfect vibe for the daytime with Poolside playing a groovy sunset set and Dayglow having the whole crowd singing and dancing along.

Lane 8 performed an epic finale to M3F, serving as the last set of the weekend. There were so many moments of euphoria and connection we counted at least five times we were close to sobbing.

And even though the set was not billed as This Never Happened, we noticed phones were put away and friends were enjoying each other’s company and the great music as the festival hours came to a close.

Venue: B-

M3F took place in Phoenix, Arizona at Steele Indian School Park. Hosting many Arizona events, this park holds a lot of history and memories for local families and people. 

This year was the first that M3F took place at Steele Indian School Park, typically residing at Margaret T. Hance Park just a few minutes down the road. 

It was a pretty small space with just enough area to make it packed with activities yet close enough to walk from stage to stage, but still enough room to dance.

But the dust was absolutely horrible leaving many sneezing and creating a haze over the crowd. It wasn’t as bad as, say, Coachella, but we did not expect this extra issue.

The bathrooms were another point of contention. We will give points for there being a large amount of porta potties and the cleanest and most well-stocked porta potties we have ever seen at a festival.

But there was only one section for the porta potties by the entrance to the festival meaning you either had to traverse all the way back to the other side of the venue or stand in a massive line for the disgusting and toilet-paper-less real bathrooms.

The free water station also left a lot to be desired. It was hidden in a corner so we couldn’t even find it until the end of night one and there was only one station for the entire festival.

Granted water bottles were pretty cheap at around $3 but they fully ran out at the end of night one, which in the Arizona heat and nonstop dancing is a serious health risk.

VIP was also a bit strange with the main stage hosting a giant viewing deck \on the side of the stage so upgraded attendees couldn’t even see the visuals at all.

Finally, we had a scary moment at DRAMA where someone had a medical issue and went down right next to us. It took over five minutes for someone to come and they came with security rather than medics and tried to carry him out on his feet rather than grabbing some sort of stretcher.

It was one of the scarier moments of our festival career as it felt like those who were supposed to protect our health and safety really had no idea what to do in an actual emergency.

Image credit M3F

Overall: B

Overall, this festival was made special due to the attendees and the incredible lineup of both live indie groups and electronic artists.

It was truly amazing to be able to get right up close for Duke Dumont, have enough space to shuffle during Lane 8, and to discover new favorite artists all while making new friends everywhere we went.

But the new venue does leave a lot to be desired. The water and bathroom situation could be improved although it seems they really tried to keep everything clean and manageable.

Would we attend M3F again? Absolutely! But there is definitely room for improvement to make this event even more special.

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