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Talking Truth With The Founder

Of True Music Festival

Image courtesy of True Music Festival.

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A New Music Festival Will Be Born On Salt River Fields At Talking Stick This Saturday With An Eclectic Lineup Seemingly Destined To Fulfill The Founders’ Vision Of Bringing A Mega-Festival Experience To The Phoenix Metro


By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

Dec. 9, 2013 —
The music festival craze continues to sprinkle another wonderful conglomeration of musical magic onto the Phoenix metro, as the True Music Festival will bring The Flaming Lips, Whiz Kalifa, and Bassnectar to Salt River Fields on Saturday night.

The festival’s founder has set his sights on creating a nationally recognized music festival and by all accounts, he and his crew have crafted a formula of genre-busting,  trendsetting headliners and midlevel acts that will provide a “mega-festival” experience in North Scottsdale.

“We really knew going into this that we wanted incredible performing artists who are highly respected within the music industry as a whole,’” said Jared Dietrich, the founder of True Music Festival. “Knowing that True Music might be the first music festival that some of our guests have ever been to, hopefully they realize what they've been missing out on.”

Besides the mega cast of headliners, the TMF team reached has assembled a wide range of midcard talent as well, featuring Capital Cities, Griz, Lord Huron, Kill Paris, HelloGoodbye, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, Kopecky Family Band, Chevy Woods, and Berner.

“We really wanted to build this lineup to cover multiple genres. I think we're one of, if not the first, to bring this level of talent spread across the board. Phoenix as a whole is so tremendously underrated from a musical perspective,” said Dietrich. “We really just want to keep building the festival scene in this market.”

With McDowell Mountain Music Festival’s move to downtown Phoenix, it has become the undisputed “king” of local music festivals and has been accurately compared to Bonnaroo. The way True Music Festival has begun, it might just step up and claim the spot as Arizona’s homegrown Coachella.

As with Bonnaroo and Coachella, sometimes the acts intersect. In the case of TMF and MMMF in 2013, The Flaming Lips will have that honor.

“McDowell Mountain is an awesome event. To be mentioned in that same realm, is really an honor. They've done such an incredible job, and, and make sure not to miss MMMF. That's really a can't miss event,” said Dietrich.

The Flaming Lips are known for their outlandish live shows featuring the infamous “bubble man,” and have earned their slot as musical legends. They are number 14 on Q Magazine’s 50 bands you must see before you die list, they were last years Firefly Music Festival headliner along with The Killers — they have also played just about every other festival under the sun as well — and they play Pink Floyd tracks so well even Waters and Gilmour say they're OK.

The festival’s other two headliners — Whiz Khalifa and Bassnectar — are also festival veterans having turned up at a wide variety of the national festivals including Bonnaroo, Coachella and others. While Wiz's weed-based, hip-hop lyrics have resonated with many hip-hop fans and weed lovers, Bassnectar’s sound hits everyone from ravers, to dance music junkies. He’s also known for his impromptu appearances at Burning Man.

“If you're a fan of the Flaming Lips you might not have the biggest exposure to Bassnectar, but when you see his live performance and the talent that goes into presenting it, you'll be blown away,” said Dietrich.

Another place where TMF and MMMF intersect is their appreciation for Phoenix’s plethora of local talent. MMMF usually boasts a tremendous local stage, and have had a quite a few local grace their main stage, but TMF only has one day to MMMF’s three. So, as with their headliners they went with the most eclectic group of local bands possible.

Highest on the bill of all the locals are consummate local headliners Black Carl. The Tempe-based five piece has been packing rooms in the Valley for years and their loyal fanbase never misses an opportunity to come out and support.

They play a groovy style of rock and jazz that is heavily reliant on the soulful hip hop like vocals of lead singer Emma Pew, though lead guitarist Chad Leonard is certainly no slouch. They’re a difficult act to call “local” as they’re about as close to the next step as a band can be while still being considered a local act. Furthermore like the Flaming Lips, Black Carl are veterans of McDowell Mountain Music Festival having been a part of it’s 2009 event.

Also in the pool of local talent are desert reggae dynamo’s the Black Bottom Lighters. BBL has been in existence for more than five years but they have really seemed to come on strong over the last two years or so.

Also joining TMF for its maiden voyage is Phoenix-based hard rock act The Black Moods. The Black Moods released their debut self titled album under a year ago, but even with less experience than their local and national contemporaries The Black Moods have still been able to find their way on to coveted lineups such as Roger Clyne’s Circus Mexicus and Apache Lake Music Festival.

They are a straightforward rock and roll band comprised of three amazing musicians who are building a reputation for putting on one of the most energetic live shows in the Valley. With a name derived from a Jim Morrison quote, and a sound they describe as “the offspring of Bad Company and the Foo Fighters,” there’s not much not to like.

The fourth local act is taking the term “strike while the iron is hot” to a whole new level. Gypsy Western folk outfit Dry River Yacht Club just hosted what may have been the best local music event of 2013 less than a month ago at The Crescent Ballroom and are now part of the bill on what may be the best musical event in Phoenix this year.

“Dry River Yacht Club is feeling great about being on this show. We are excited we get to play with some huge artists and we are really curious to see how the festival is going to go as far as the set up and the arrangement of the stages and we are feeling blessed. It’s nothing short of an awesome dream,” Henri Bernard of DRYC.

Bernard, a self described festival junkie, added, “Just being to be a part of the big festivals in our hometown, you know McDowell in the spring and now this one. I consider myself a big time festival junky just being able to see our name on the flier is just freaking sweet. A lot of awesome good hard work. I remember when we saw the lineup I called my bandmate and roommate Fred Reyes and told him just manifest it, believe and we will be on it, and a few weeks later we got the call.”

The local bands are not the only people excited for their appearance at the festival either.

“I personally selected the local bands we have on the bill, and contacted each of them myself to share with them how much I appreciate what they do, and how much I wanted to use this as a vessel to help share their gifts. If you look at the individual bands, they're are all so talented, and all cover different genres that really fit into what we're trying to do with the lineup as whole,” said Dietrich.

TMF has really gone as far as they can to put on a “True” music festival, and so Modern Times Magazine will go as far as we can to cover the fest truly. Our coverage of October’s Apache Lake Music Festival went over so well that we decided to take it one step further.

I’ll be on the ground all day capturing exclusive photos and videos from the show and updating the blog with not only words but images as well, and this time we’re getting interactive. To contact me (, use the hashtag #TMF_MTM to let me know exactly what you want to know more about.

“One of the most exciting things about where we stand right now, is that we're only 13 months away from year two. This event wasn't built for just one year, its designed for the long haul. Whether it is 200 or 20,000, we want each one of them to walk out of this event with a euphoric feeling, thinking to themselves ‘That really happened,’” said Dietrich.

Tickets range from $75 general admission to their true VIP experience which starts at $1,500 and can be purchased at

Jeff Moses a senior contributor at Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at

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