Music fans – Mesa has more than your fill this weekend. The third annual Mesa Music Festival is returning to downtown Mesa Thursday, Nov. 9 to Saturday, Nov. 11. The free emerging artists festival will feature headliner P.O.D. from San Diego, keynote speaker Randy Jackson and a music industry symposium with discussions and mentoring from professionals.
Along with watching many local bands from Arizona, across the country, and a few international bands who are performing during the three-day festival, fans can enjoy food and drinks from local restaurants and bars in downtown Mesa.
“We’re the only one of its kind,” said Indian Antao, producer of the Mesa Music Festival. “There’s not another one like ours, and the reason why is we’re 100 percent free, bands come to our event and already we’ve had bands get deals with industry professionals…we’re going to make Mesa the next big music destination in the Southwest.”
Antao said they were looking to do a festival on the West Coast – L.A. and San Diego were suggested, as well as Phoenix or Tempe, but Antao felt the festival could work in Mesa.
“I look at it like Mesa could be the next big music city, which now, I think it’s gearing up to do that,” Antao said. In addition, the producer said Mesa has been very welcoming and accommodating to help them be able to put on the festival, considering over 200 bands locally, across the country and a few internationally will be coming through downtown Mesa to play in a three-day period.
“We get the bands out there and we have industry professionals that come out and they get to speak and interact with the bands,” Antao said. “The bands also get to interact with each other, and network and create opportunities amongst themselves like gig-swapping and co-oping on certain things.”
Antao said they have bands that come out and want to know if they can come back next year, same with some of the repeat industry professionals that come back out because they loved it.
“It’s pretty interesting, a band will come out to Mesa, and Chester Bennington was our keynote speaker (last year) and he went to our VIP party, and he took a picture with every last attendee,” Antao said. “You paint that picture for people and they get it. We aspire to have fans dig it and be into it and hopefully walk away with something.”
In addition to the band performances, Mesa Music Festival also features a keynote speaker, this year it’s Randy Jackson, and had Bennington and Matt Pinfield in the past two years. Jackson will give his keynote address on Friday, Nov. 10 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Piper Theater at Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St.
“Mesa’s such a great area, most of us in the band were born and raised in Mesa, I think it’s a cool opportunity,” said Marcus Reardon, singer of Mesa-based band Teammate Markus, who will be performing at the Mesa Music Festival for the first time on Friday and Saturday.
“Mesa is expanding and growing so much…I feel like it’s the perfect time for us to get involved and do what we can to spearhead some kind of a movement…just to turn Mesa into more of a culture and art hub,” Reardon said.
Friday night’s performance location, Interchange Audio Room at The Galleria on 29 W. Main St., is special to Teammate Markus, as it is where they recorded their new album, “Garden of Eden,” that releases on Nov. 10.
“Interchange Audio is actually us, believe it or not, so we have the band perform as Teammate Markus, but our business side, as well as being bandmates, we’re business partners,” Reardon said. “We are kind of a production house, you can come to us, we’ll create your beat, we’ll help you make the music, write songs, record your music, help you with video.”
Teammate Markus will be playing first on Friday, which Reardon said is more like a party and bands will be playing all night, and it’s an opportunity for the band to play new songs on the record and have a good time.
“The owners of the festival were very gracious and let the studio, Interchange Audio sponsor that particular room and that’s where we’ve been hands on…so the Interchange Audio Room is a huge point of pride for us,” Reardon said.
Teammate Markus will mostly be playing songs from their newly released album, in addition to a few from previous albums including “Prices.”
“Garden of Eden” is a concept album, which Reardon said is meant to be played from start to finish. It’s about temptation, and bad stuff that comes with everything you want out of life Reardon said.
“So, when I think about everything I want out of life, I think about money and fame and success, there’s a dirty side that comes with that. There’s a side of fame and glory that people don’t talk about…it’s a very deep album. I’m excited to play the new album for the world that’s for sure, I’m ready to go,” Reardon said.
In addition, Reardon said the band is calling its Saturday performance their release show.
“It’s a really big opportunity to get on an enormous stage right there in our hometown in front of whoever’s out there,” Reardon said. “But ultimately, I hope that by doing both, we’re making ourselves as available as possible, we know there are a lot of record labels and executives that are going to be there that weekend to scope the talent and listen to the Randy Jackson’s keynote presentation. We want to play as much as we can, we’re hoping to get some important eyes in both events and by playing both, be more exposed to the community.”
– Mesa resident Alyssa Tufts is a freelance writer for MyNewsMesa.com.
The Mesa Music Festival, Nov. 9-11 in downtown Mesa, schedule and band locations vary.
Will also have the following special guests within the entertainment and music industry:
Randy Jackson: “American Idol,” producer, A&R.
Jay Baumgardner: award-winning producer/mixer, NRG Studios.
Geordie Gillespie: vice president of The Hatchery; former SVP of promotions at Sony, Virgin.
Rene Mata: artist management at AAM, A&R at Red Bull Records.
Paul Insinna: artist management, Entertainment Attorney.
Ed Masley: music editor, The Arizona Republic and AZcentral.com.
Jim Kuzmich: entertainment attorney.
Randy Spencer: Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Foundation.
Jim Colletti: Phoenix Listening Room.
Schedule for Mesa Music Festival
Thursday, Nov. 9 highlights
The Galleria – 29 W. Main St.
Music Festival Welcoming Party
8–8:30 p.m. – Melody Monroe – Denver
8:45–9:15 p.m. – Shawn Williams – New Orleans
9:30–10 p.m. – Dawson Rutledge – Cranbrook, BC, Canada
10:15–10:45 p.m. – Mary Scholz – Los Angeles
Friday, Nov. 10 highlights
Bands will begin performances at 6 p.m.
Event Center at Phoenix Marriott Mesa – 200 N. Centennial Way
1 p.m. – Spags – Mesa Music Festival, Jersey Shore Festival
2 p.m. – Jim Kuzmich – entertainment attorney
3 p.m. – Rene Mata – AAM, Red Bull Records
4 p.m. – Ed Masley – music editor, Arizona Republic
5 p.m. – Geordie Gillespie – The Hatchery, Sony Virgin
1:30 p.m. – Sean Whiteman – Interchange Audio
2:30 p.m. – Randy Spencer – Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Foundation
3:30 p.m. – Paul Insinna – artist management, Music Law
4:30 p.m. – Jay Baumgardner – legendary producer/mixer, NRG Studios
1–6 p.m. – 1-on-1 Mentoring Sessions
The Piper Theater at Mesa Arts Center – 1 E. Main St.
7–8 p.m. – Keynote Address with Randy Jackson
Saturday, Nov. 11
Bands will begin performances at noon
Visit MesaMusicFest.com for full schedule and band performance locations.