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Hear the 'sparkly pop rock' sound of Diva Bleach at Zona Music Festival

The first-ever Zona Music Festival's lineup in Phoenix is set to put big names — like Beach House, Portugal, the Man and Bleachers — side by side onstage with local acts.

Steve Chilton is the festival's promoter and owner of Psyko Steve Events. He said creating a setlist that features local talent in equal regard to the headliners was a goal from the start.

"I always hate when it's an event and it's like, 'Oh, there's the local stage over in the corner,'" Chilton said. "Or it's an afterthought. We have local bands up and down the lineup, on every single stage."

Chilton said that in addition to local talent, he wanted to center gender equity. Over half of Zona Music Festival's lineup, he said, is also made up of acts that prominently feature women.

"I don’t think it’s hard to get more equity there," Chilton said, "but I do think it means intentionality and work."

Arizona band Diva Bleach will share the stage with headliners like Japanese Breakfast, plus other local talent on Sunday. Formed in the summer of 2021, this is the band's first time playing a gig like Zona Music Festival. Guitarist Sara Windom says they are excited to show off the group's "sparkly pop rock" sound.  

"I'm super excited that Arizona is getting a pretty major music festival," Windom said. "And we're playing alongside so many of my favorite bands, so I'm super excited."

Windom says she makes music with a younger version of herself in mind.

"When I was growing up, learning guitar, I didn't know a lot of bands in our genre that we full of women," Windom said.

Diva Bleach's sound is self-described "sparkly pop rock." Vocalist and guitarist Syd Roten said she makes music for people like her high school self — "the weird kid," as she put it. Roten said Diva Bleach is colorful, overtly girly, and steeped in the close friendship between herself, Windom, and Brie Ritter; the group's third member. Her hope, she said, is that crowds this weekend will connect with that.

"Something I like about us onstage is we're always having fun," Roten said. "We're all super close friends with each other, so you can get that energy when you watch us onstage."

Both Roten and Windom say they’re excited to see more diverse, local groups make waves this weekend and beyond.

"Arizona has an amazing local scene, too," Windom said. "So it's exciting that there's finally a showcase for it."

The festival takes place at Margaret T. Hance Park, where Diva Bleach will play Sunday.

Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.