March 4, 2023- I found my friend, Pam, right inside the gate to M3F, by the medium-sized stage’s sound crew. She was alternating between rolling her hoops and ecstatic dancing-as usual, when at a live music festival, which she has largely made her life these days.
McDowell Mountain Music Festival is not held anywhere near the McDowell Mountains, anymore. It has found a home, the first weekend of March, at Margaret Hance Park, in downtown Phoenix. Performance Art, such as Pam offers, is as much a part of these music festivals as the bands themselves. I attend M3F, so long as life does not take me elsewhere, because its revenues are donated to charity. The city offers the space, gratis, and volunteers provide security (backed by the Phoenix Police Department) and clean-up. So, my ticket purchase is money I consider well-spent.
The day started with my usual Saturday morning routine: Worldwide Celebration of Life (online) and a visit to Farmer’s Market. Then, there was a monthly meeting of Post 6, American Legion, which strayed far longer than I had hoped it would-as a few people were exercised and long-winded, about a certain issue (which always gets some people exercised and indignant, to the point where they are not listening to one another).
I made it down to M3F, about two hours after I had said I’d get there, but no matter. Pam was having a great time; there were many of her other friends, who live in the Phoenix area, already there and various children, teens and young adults were borrowing her hoops for their own enjoyment. It was quite a mini-concert, all its own.
We went, back and forth, between the three stages-with me toting my blanket and whatever she could not carry of her own sizable load. Since I am not a hooper, I got in some dancing, at times vigourous, as a means to cardiopulmonary exercise. It was a joy just to tap into her at times manic energy and keep up my physical coordination-which has only come about in adulthood. (I was the klutz of klutzes, until about my 21st year-and even afterward, sports like volleyball eluded me.)
Given my current weight reduction plan, finding a solid meal that fits that plan took a bit of discernment, in the Food Court-a collection of food trucks. I was saved by the bowl! A paper bowl of BBQ Sundae-pulled pork, baked beans and cole slaw, took care of the dinner matter.
As the evening progressed, we found that shy young children were captivated by Pam’s antics and energy, and delighted in coming forward to hoop dance with her. Their parents were equally pleased to see the kids having a good time, as the music itself often addressed adult themes, using lyrics and banter more suitable for a bar or club, to the extent it was suitable at all.
All in all, though, M3F is a good affair. I don’t go to many music festivals, but this one is a keeper.