While the summer might still be scorching, the recently revealed lineup for the 2018 Oro Valley Music Festival is sweet enough to make us want to get outside and listen to some live music.
One of the biggest changes to this year’s music festival is the location. The recurring venue at The Golf Club at Vistoso is no more. This year’s festival is taking place at Naranja Park. Whereas some might see this as simply a change, others see it as an upgrade.
“There were talks of relocating it somewhere in Tucson, but we wanted to keep it right here in Oro Valley,” said Mayor Satish Hiremath, who helped organize the transition to Naranja Park. “I think it will actually be a better location than before. Naranja Park can fit a lot more people, it’s more accessible, there are more food options and it is better for traffic.”
At over 200 acres, Naranja Park is home to a network of trails, fields and sports facilities, plus areas for dogs. There are also nearly 200 paved parking spaces, as well as dirt parking.
“I think people will like this location more,” Hiremath said. “It’s more kid friendly and has a visual appeal with the Catalinas right there in the background.”
The festival’s first day, Saturday, October 13, features a powerful lineup of modern country greats from across the nation:
Tennessee superstar and Grand Ole Opry member Chris Young headlines the opening day with honest and fun-loving hits like “Think of You” and “The Man I Want to Be.” For over a decade, Young has been a leading voice in the movement of contemporary country.
Canadian brothers Brad and Curtis Rempel bring the northern country sound under the name High Valley. With major hits like “Make You Mine” and “Country Line,” High Valley proves country music isn’t exclusively a Texan phenomenon.
Also in the first day’s lineup is an Arizona native gone Nashville rocker: Matt Farris. Gathering success around Phoenix, Farris succeeded in the Colgate Country Showdown, making it into the Arizona State Finals.
Danielle Bradbery, season four winner of The Voice (one of the youngest ever), is also performing. At only 21, she’s fresh off the release of her second album, which ventured into R&B and pop, while still maintaining her country roots.
“It’s a national event that draws people from all over the country just because of the number of top 40 artists that are performing.” Hiremath said. “The largest draw is going to be Chris Young, at least that’s what my daughter says.”
The Festival’s second day, Sunday, October 14, offers a bit more variety in sound and genre, ranging from alternative rock to indie pop to singer/songwriter.
Rock band gone reggae pop, O.A.R. is bringing their diverse sound, featuring electric guitar and drums as well as saxophone. Fresh off their tour with Train, they’re continuing throughout the summer on their “Just Like Paradise” tour.
Christian alternative rock band Switchfoot is still kicking it as well, after dropping a few mega-hits in the early 2000s. They’ve steadily dropped studio albums every year since then, continuing with their brand of uplifting yet aggressive pop rock.
Mat Kearney, who describes his music as “Beat Driven Singer-Songwriter” will also be in attendance. His synth-infused pop over danceable beats is a recipe for catchy, modern-sounding hits.
Also performing is A Great Big World, a pop duo that fuses indie aesthetics with electronic production. They’re relatively new, but have managed to land songs for movie soundtracks and with the likes of greats like Christina Aguilera.
Pop, soul and hip-hop all converge in the music of MAX, a burgeoning singer from New York. His slick production and soulful delivery are perfect for the city that never sleeps, but local residents will probably enjoy him as well.
“These are all artists people have heard on the radio,” Hiremath said. “Older guys like me might not recognize the names, but we’ve certainly heard the music.”
The Oro Valley Music Festival takes place from Oct. 13 at 12:30 p.m. to Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. At Naranja Park, 810 W. Naranja Drive, Oro Valley. $75 for a two day pass. Prices vary. my929.iheart.com/featured/oro-valley-music-festival for details.