Jared and the Mill set to play MMMF for charity

Members of the band Jared and the Mill are excited.

The folk rock band, featuring five ASU students, is excited to play a set during the three-day McDowell Mountain Music Festival on March 29. The bandmates have the opportunity to play in front of a large number of people at the festival and are slated to open for big name acts like Dispatch and Slightly Stoopid. They are thrilled to be home playing for their fans in Arizona.

But what they are most happy about is the chance to play for a good cause.

The McDowell Mountain Music Festival is a 100 percent non-profit concert series that has been going on in the Valley for 11 years. This year all of the profits will go to two local charities: Phoenix Children’s Hospital and UMOM New Day Centers.

John Largay, founder of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, said the concert series has been a non-profit event since its inception.

“It’s always been a charity (event),” Largay said. “We’ve donated a million dollars to family placed charities over the last 10 years. That’s our motive. But from a community and cultural standpoint, it does serve a very necessary community need relative to the arts.”

For an up and coming band like Jared and the Mill, the McDowell Mountain Music Festival presents a unique opportunity. Usually new bands are living from gig to gig and taking all the profits from shows, merchandise and record sales, just to have enough money for gas to the next tour destination.

Lead singer Jared Kolesar is excited his band can contribute funding to the selected local charities.

“As performers and artists just getting started there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities where you can really benefit society unfortunately,” Kolesar said. “To have access to this kind of event and know that you are helping out a cause especially one as noble as Phoenix Children’s Hospital (and UMOM), it’s a good feeling.”

Kolesar and his bandmates face a challenge when they play on Saturday. Largay said he expects to have about 10,000 people per day show up to the event, though the headlining acts don’t start until 5 p.m.

Jared and the Mill will start its set early at 11:30 a.m.

Many fans will not be at the festival yet, but Kolesar said he and his bandmates are embracing the opening act role.

“It really is just all about playing for whoever is there,” he said. “The size of the crowd shouldn’t affect your performance as an artist. I’d say the mindset is really just wanting to go up and have a good time and sound as best as you can for the people who are there. It’s really important to set a good vibe for the day.”

Headliners, like Ben Harper and The Disco Biscuits, will receive the most attention from fans. But Largay suggested checking out some of the bands that play earlier in the day, such as Jared and the Mill.

“Get there early,” he said. “Tip of the day would be go see Lettuce on Friday, go see Allen Stone on Saturday and go see Donna the Buffalo on Sunday.”

Reach the reporter at ehubbard@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Edmund_Hubbard