On a less-than-ideal day – weather-wise – in Tempe, Arizona, Innings Festival still pulled a crowd. But that might be because of the non-refundable tickets. Nevertheless, music fans showed up dressed in their best flannels and felt hats.
Hazel English – who looks exactly like you’d expect with that name – got the day started from the Home Plate stage. In her black and white, sailor-esque outfit, the Australian-American singer took a while to warm up. The first song of her set was a little rough, and she shared with the crowd that she had been “all rugged up” backstage in her coat. By her second song, though, the sun came out, and she was ready to dance.
Next up was Paris Jackson on the Right Field stage, and she’s now tied for first for my favorite nepotism babies named Paris. She had a sort of ‘90s angry rocker chick vibe and was incredibly witty. Unfortunately, her set was marked by a slew of technical difficulties.
The mid-day shows, Magic City Hippies and Umphrey’s McGee, served as great background music for most of the festival goers as they grabbed a bite to eat from the 15+ vendors. Many also hopped in line for the fast pitch or batting cages.
Mt. Joy’s show had a golden haze as the sun set behind the crowd, but directly in the band’s eyes. Lead singer Matt Quinn said to the crowd, “You guys are like heaven to us. This is the brightest thing we’ve ever seen. It’s pure stardust.” And that’s exactly what the set felt like. Between Quinn’s smooth vocals and Sam Cooper’s guitar solos, it was an ethereal concert.
Once the sun set, though, the cold came back. It was actually nice that it was packed for The Head and the Heart’s concert because fans could huddle together for a little warmth. They finished their set with the song “Rivers and Roads,” which fans stuck around to hear in its entirety before flocking to the Home Plate stage for Marcus Mumford.
The frontman of Mumford & Sons started his set with his band’s “The Cave.” The band’s debut album came out in 2009, and although Marcus Mumford has been appearing separate from his bandmates, he’ll be joining them for a series of festivals this year, including Lollapalooza. Mumford’s set concluded with “I Will Wait,” a song that’s over a decade old but still holds popularity with fans.
The Revivalists brought fans back to the Right Field stage for the last time for Innings Festival 2023. Fans sang along to their favorite songs in the blue and purple lights that washed over the crowd.
Eddie Vedder’s festival-closing concert was the most memorable performance of the weekend. He smashed a ukulele, did a Tom Petty impression, and covered songs by The Beatles, U2, and Neil Young. He was joined by Josh Klinghoffer from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who’s worked with Vedder since 2021, and Major League Baseball star Bronson Arroyo on guitar.
The weekend was a huge success, and fans can be excited about what next year’s festival will bring. And I can confidently say that Innings Festival 2023 “knocked it out of the park.”
All images are courtesy of @InningsFest on Twitter.