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M3F Fest: Empire of the Sun, Odezsa, more highlight memorable festival

M3F was a weekend full of fun in the sun as attendees were treated to a full lineup of groovy acts and locally focused arts and cuisines. From the international acts to the perfect weather, its 2019 edition was one to remember.

Add to the mix that M3F has streamlined its operations after more than a decade’s worth of experience, and the weekend went off without a hitch (unless you wanted to park on Friday night in the midst of First Friday chaos.)

In case you went to Innings instead—or just missed out entirely—here were the best parts of M3F 2019.


M3F arguably found its niche last year and has stayed strong booking a wide variety of genres, from EDM to jam bands to local indie kids. The only groups not represented are rap and metal, but the overall mood is calmer because of it. Even Friday headliner Odesza, an electronic duo, specializes in gentler, almost ambient-focused beat drops where the headbangers in the front row were embarrassingly out of place.

The mix of acts drew an equally wide range of festival goers from babies in oversized protective headphones to retired hippies. Of course, the full rave outfits were on display, but so were the flowy scarves and printed pants and sparkling capes. M3F brings out the weird, and the crowd did not disappoint.

Guitar Smashing

Empire of the Sun stole the show on Saturday night, headlining the main Rattlesnake stage with a full troupe of dancers, elaborate costumes and touching commentary on how much it meant to them to be at charity festival. The Australian duo, comprising Luke Steele and Nick Littermore, are known for their otherworldly synth-heavy aesthetic, but nobody expected the 80s hair band move Luke Steele pulled toward the end of the set.

Steele smashed not one, but two guitars in a lengthy display. One flew over hit his head and hit the stage, and he grabbed the neck of the other and used it to stab the guitar on stage. Honestly? A lot of people were speechless but broke into cheers when the lights dimmed.

Environmentally-Friendly Focus

“Reuse” and “recycle” were the two mantras of the weekend, though “reduce” was probably implied as well. There were tents all over the festival grounds, and sorting into waste, recycling, and compost was encouraged and monitored at some of the high-traffic locations. Reusable water and beer vessels were also encouraged with a water refill station and discounted beer for using the same cup.

M3F also stepped up their vegetarian and vegan options with vegan-friendly menu items at Freak Brothers Pizza and Killa Dilla, snacks at vendor booths and mobile carts around the festival, and the delicious Gadzooks tortillas.  

Grounds Aglow

The presence of EDM and its accompanying culture always encourages wearable lights, and the crowd at M3F delivered. In the more open spaces, people danced with LED-lit hula hoops and what looked like multi-string whips for a dazzling off-stage show. There was also a couple with LED capes who would surround entranced attendees with a cocoon of rainbow light.

Not to hog the fun, kind festival goers dispersed glow sticks for those who didn’t have illuminated outfits or totems so the grounds were aglow.

Flying Lotus Lettuce

FlyLo did not make an appearance, but Lettuce played two sets over the course of the weekend. Fans smuggled in full heads of the vegetable to rip off and toss into the crowd during Lettuce’s sets, so a light mist sprinkled the air as the leaves flew.

Is this the future of biodegradable confetti?

Guest Appearances

Lukas Nelson and Margo Price appeared at each other’s sets, and Odesza brought out Mansionair for “Line of Sight.” There were no surprises, but the opportunities presented themselves, and we have no complaints.

Story and photos by Taylor Gilliam