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Ameri-Can Canned Craft Beer Festival 2015

17 May
beer fest crowd

Happy hopheads at the 2015 Ameri-Can Canned Craft Beer Festival

Beer wonks get the ultimate adult play day at the Ameri-Can Canned Craft Beer Festival. It’s like Disneyland, but with can cozies and hop vines instead of Mickey Mouse ears and roller coasters. This year’s event took place from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, at lovely Scottsdale Civic Center Mall park, and it was pure beertopia. More than 120 vendors from around Arizona and the U.S. pitched their tents and poured a variety of brews, ranging from ubiquitous piney IPAs to malty chocolate stouts. Food vendors fit finely into the festival — Honey Bear’s BBQ, Arizona BBQ and a food truck slinging grilled cheese sandwiches, in particular, helped festivalgoers soak up the suds.

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McDowell Mountain Music Festival: The Good, the Bad and the Groovy

29 Mar
Passion Pit performs at the 2015 McDowell Mountain Music Festival Friday night. Photo by Esther C. Groves.

Passion Pit performs at the 2015 McDowell Mountain Music Festival Friday night. Photo by Esther C. Groves.

As a general rule, I don’t like large music festivals. I don’t like standing in long lines for everything from admission to drinks to the nasty outhouses; I don’t like waiting out crappy bands I could care less about wedged in-between bands on the bill that I do want to see; I don’t like trying to wade through swarms of dancing, drunken people; and I don’t like being stuck standing directly under the sun for any extended period of time (“extended” being longer than like, two minutes).

At the same time, festivals provide a way to see multiple bands (sometimes from disparate genres), meet interesting people, try new foods, and enjoy the (hopefully nice) weather.

The McDowell Mountain Music Festival (held this year March 27-29) occupies what I call the “Goldilocks Zone” for music festivals. It’s not too hot, not too crowded, not too expensive, and has just the right amount and balance of music acts. I last attended the festival in 2005, when it was held at WestWorld of Scottsdale. The event has grown substantially since then: It’s much larger, taking place over three days, and it’s moved from Scottsdale to Hance Park, in the heart of downtown Phoenix, right next to the library. I love the location.

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