Music festivals are some of the greatest live events you can attend. Weekends with artists playing from morning to night, games, and vendors make festival weekends an unforgettable experience.

Personally, there's nothing I'd rather spend my money on than festival tickets, which is why I decided, last minute, to attend Arizona's largest music festival: Innings Fest.

What is the Innings Festival?

The Innings Festival is a celebration of two things: Music and Baseball. Taking place in both Tempe, AZ, and Tampa, FL, the festival correlates with MLB's spring training, hence the name relating to the periods that baseball games are broken up into.

A man pitching
Credit: Canva

The genres of artists at this festival vary greatly, from Classic Rock, to Hip-Hop and R&B. This year the big draws were:

  • Hozier
  • Macklemore
  • Third Eye Blind
  • Young the Giant
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Greta Van Fleet
  • Jimmy Eat World
Credit: Chris Cappiali/TSM
Credit: Chris Cappiali/TSM

The festival occurred at Tempe Beach Park and was spread across multiple stages with vendors and activities littered between them.

KWCD Country logo
Get our free mobile app

The Innings Experience

While I wish I could have made it to the entire weekend, I was only able to attend Saturday. The process of getting in was easy enough. I grabbed my wristband at Will-Call, activated it to allow myself to pay inside the venue without my card, and headed to the gate. I went to this show with a group of massive Hozier fans, so we made sure to be in line about 45 minutes before the gates opened.

Credit: Chris Cappiali/TSM
Credit: Chris Cappiali/TSM

Once security was prepared for the onslaught of intoxicated college students, guests began funneling through the gates. Security was a breeze thanks to our clear bags, and once that was over, we made our way to the stage. The festival makes it incredibly easy to card guests, having ID check stations that would give eligible patrons wristbands to show to alcohol vendors.

The Openers

After some quick stops for food and drinks, we made our way to Home Plate, the main stage that would host the biggest acts. Getting there early was worth it, as our group was able to make it to the very front of the crowd, and have a perfect view for the day.

Vendors at Innings Fest
Credit: Chris Cappiali/TSM

The early bands, Finish Ticket, and The Criticals brought an energy that would be hard to match, especially in the 1 pm Phoenix sun. The two had shorter sets but made the most of them, and made a fan of me by the end.

After The Criticals, fatigue started to set in. One word of advice for festival-goers, be prepared. Despite security handing out water to people near the front, there was no space to sit and no room to leave the crowd to grab food. As Young the Giant took the stage, my bones felt as if they'd aged a century, and the sun made me feel like a piece of ham in a microwave.

Chris at the front of the crowd at Innings Fest
Credit: Kathryn Moschinger

Luckily, Young the Giant did not disappoint with one of the most electric live performances I'd ever seen. As the hour wait times between acts started to feel longer, we began to make friends with the people around us, leading to some of the most fun conversations I've had in years. That could be due to the extreme exhaustion we were all in, but that's to be expected.

The Big Guns

As hour 7 of standing in the same place approached, the most unconventional guest of the festival made his appearance. Macklemore, known mostly for his 2012 hit "Thrift Shop", seemed out of place amongst the indie rock legends we had seen all day. I couldn't have been more wrong. Macklemore had the stage presence of an artist half his age.

Macklemore dressed up as his alter ego
Credit: Kathryn Moschinger

Running and jumping the entire time, doing the most ridiculous costume changes, and spraying the crowd with water guns made his set one I'll never forget. The most touching moment of the entire festival came before his hit "Same Love", in which he delivered a powerful call to action to stop the war in the Middle East, which was met with raucous applause.

It was after this set that my body finally went into auto-pilot. The sun was gone, but I hadn't sat down in nearly eight and a half hours at this point, and I was ready to collapse. Finally, at 9:10, it was time for one final set: Hozier.

Hozier and his band
Credit: Chris Cappiali/TSM

What can I say about Hozier's live shows that haven't been said before? He presents himself as an inhuman being, with spotlights dropping from the heavens to showcase his divine voice. The setlist was full of old hits, like Jackie & Wilson (my personal favorite Hozier song), Cherry Wine, Real People Do, and of course, Take Me to Church. The set was so good in fact, that I completely forgot that my legs were about to buckle.

At the end of it all, we waited for the crowd to thin out, and then headed on the long drive back home.

Hozier on the screen
Credit: Chris Cappiali/TSM

The Wrap-Up

I've been to plenty of music festivals in my years, but none have been as fun as Innings. The combination of great music and great baseball makes for the perfect spring event. The artists all put on incredible shows, the guests were fun, and the festival itself went off without a hitch.

If you're looking for the best weekend of your life, look to Tempe Beach Park next February and treat yourself to the Innings Festival.

See y'all next year.

LOOK: Best high schools for sports in Arizona

Stacker compiled a list of the best high schools for sports in Arizona using data from Niche.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

Arizona House With Wiffle Ball Stadium Is A Home Run

A house in Scottsdale has taken their love of Wiffle Ball to a new level with a full-sized stadium in its backyard. The home, which recently sold for $1.5 million according to, also features a speakeasy, a karaoke bar, massive swimming pool with a waterfall grotto and batting cages.

Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll

More From KWCD Country