This past weekend the first inaugural Zona Music Festival took place at Margaret T. Hance Park in Downtown Phoenix! Another new festival in Phoenix is enormous for the ever-growing music scene out here. Created by Arizona’s largest indie promoter, PsykoSteve, this festival features indie, alternative, and old-school acts for all types of listeners. Trust us; the Zona Music Festival Review won’t disappoint!
On the festival’s first day, Arizona broke a state record for most single-day rainfall since 1908, but that didn’t stop thousands from showing up to have a good time. Luckily enough for attendees, the festival offered a new re-entry policy for the weekend, allowing everyone to come and go as they pleased.
The Setup at Margaret T Hance Park
If you have ever attended Mcdowell Mountain Music Festival, the stage setups are in the same spots in the park. For Zona, a 4th stage popped up in the tunnel underneath Central Ave, along with a local beer garden and a village of local vendors! The main stage could have been a tad bigger and featured video monitors to see the artists playing on stage, but for the first year, it was fine. The VIP areas at the Nicks and Ronstadt stages could have been improved for what you’re paying. An elevated viewing area to keep patrons out of the mud would have sufficed. Aside from the dirt, which the festival had little control over, the only downside of the setup was the lack of water stations, and the ones that existed were empty within hours of doors opening.
The Lineup and sets
We wrote about the lineup here when the festival was announced. However, some disappointing last-minute changes were out of anyone’s control. One of the most hyped-up acts on the lineup, Tegan and Sara, dropped two days before the festival as one of the members came down with Covid-19. The same goes for Waxahatchee and Kevin Morby, who were pulled the day of the festival, citing Covid-19. We didn’t let these two acts pulling out deter our spirits and still went into the festival excited for everyone playing.
There were no bad acts at this festival, but some shows stood out more than others. The Bleachers were phenomenal live and fought through the sound issues at the end of their set. They also brought out Bartees Strange to sing a Tegan and Sara song to make up for them having to pull out. Beach House put on a show in the pouring rain to close out night 1. Alex and Victoria seemed right at home in the shower, pouring their heart and soul into every song they played. Day 2 Turnover was the highlight while the sun was still in the sky. At night Japanese Breakfast was the star of the show. She brought radiant energy to the stage and had the whole crowd jumping. Closing out the festival was Portugal. The Man who put on a psychedelic ending set. Along with all these great acts, this festival propped up local artists from around the valley and gave them a stage to perform, which is something more festivals should be doing.
Despite the mud, the first-ever Zona Music Festival was a success and a blast for everyone involved. This event is a step in the right direction for the Arizona music scene, as there is no major indie/alternative festival in the state. So we were overjoyed to write this Zona Music Festival review! Zona was reminiscent of VIVA Phx, which used to take over all Downtown Phoenix’s venues, bars, and streets.
We look forward to seeing what they will do with this festival next year and in the future. Hopefully, the festival will stay in Downtown Phoenix, but if it were to move, Tempe Beach Park could also be a good home for the festival. Who do you think is going to headline the festival next year?