By Barry Barbe

“Every single soul is a poem.” – Michael Franti

With an arts scene as diverse and exciting as its landscape, the third annual Pure Imagination Festival is proving itself to be the one not-to-be-missed event of 2024.

Credit goes to Musician and Creative Director Candace Devine and her all-female team at Further West Productions for their vision of putting Prescott on the map as the music center of the West.

The two-day music festival shows the tenacity of these women as they continue to up their game by providing a unique, creatively diverse, and family friendly event on a scale normally experienced only in large metropolises.

Devine draws on her experience of touring the country with headlining groups, along with business acumen, and a large amount of passion and determination to bring together an eclectic and intoxicating combination of music, art and community.

After two successful runs in 2022 and 2023, this year’s lineup for Pure Imagination Festival is truly a not-to-be-missed event offering something for every taste and genre.

The team at Further West continues to build the event with the addition of a pre-festival show on May 17 featuring fusion artist and philanthropic activist Michael Franti & Spearhead, with their high-energy blend of funk, jazz, rock and folk.

Along with Franti, the Watson Lake venue will also play host to local favorites on Friday evening with Ponderosa Grove. Featuring Candace Devine on vocals; collaborator and lead guitarist Drew Hall; and a combination of local talent including Cosimo Bohrman, “Gigi” Gonaway, and Zach Dominguez.

The group continues to increase their profile and success with their second full album to be released later this year.

The lineup for Saturday, May 18, includes a country legend, folk music, reggae, and hip hop as well as a day full of activities, performance artists, a wellness center, and even a Tiny Tunes activity zone.

And the venue only adds to the atmosphere, providing a breathtaking and one-of-a-kind backdrop.

Promising something for everyone, the musical make up for the day includes The Flaming Lips with a production as visually exciting as their music. The multi-award-winning group brings their high-energy alternative rock sound to enthusiastic audiences.

True to their goal of variety, things shift a bit for country music legend and multi-decade performer Tanya Tucker, as she graces the Dells with her stories of Honky Tonks, living hard, and sticking around to see how things play out.

When perusing the touring schedule of most anyone on the list of performers you’ll see larger venues and cities such as Vegas, Chicago, Dallas and LA. And right, smack dab in the middle of those is Prescott, Arizona. A sign to the tenacity of Candace and her team, as well as the community spirit, and welcoming reception that once made Prescott a stopping point between gigs, and now a destination for national acts and music lovers alike.

While the event is still a few months away, limited early bird tickets are available now online starting at $55 for the Friday night production and $95 for an all-day Saturday pass. Two-day and VIP options are also available, as well as on-site parking passes being available.

Committed to the event being family friendly, children younger than 10 receive complimentary entry to the event.

With an anticipated attendance of more than 6,000 and limited venue parking (which must be pre-purchased) the event planners have arranged and suggest taking advantage of shuttle services from various locations throughout town.

While the focus is music, the event also offers on-site food vendors, a “market” with more than 60 vendors, a wellness center, kayaking, wandering street performers, and an activity area for kids.

Candace and her team have carefully selected groups that are not only stand-alones and stand-outs, but also blend together throughout the day to bring a cultured feel to the bohemian atmosphere.

From Provo, Utah, The National Parks add to the majestic feel of the Granite Dells with their indie folk-pop sound followed by the soul-baring sound of Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Sarah Shook & The Disarmers.

Brian Chartrand; The Pharcyde; Syvlan Esso, an Indie dance-pop duo; Danielle Ponder, a prior attorney, turned full-time musician from New York; and Arizona-grown The Irie from Chandler; as well as another Prescott-bred group, Galactagogues, round out the still-evolving list of acts.

With a promise to mix things up year after year, Candace and her team are adding a unique opportunity when it comes to filling the final slot of groups for the event.

In looking for new, up and coming, and yet-to-be-noticed talent, Pure Imagination Festival is offering an opportunity to submit a one-minute or more performance video by uploading it on Instagram and tagging #pureimaginationfestival2024 and #pureimaginationcontest2024. Videos will be reviewed by a team of judges and the selected group will perform on stage during Saturday’s event, receiving $1,500 in prize money.

Pure Imagination Festival is set for May 17-18 in little ole Prescott.

For more information, visit pureimaginationfestival.com and on Facebook.

Barry Barbe owns the El Gato Azul and Torme restaurants in Prescott, and is the energy and insight behind the Prescott Palette. His radio show, the Prescott Palette, is on KQNA 1130 AM, Saturdays at noon. Email: Prespalette@gmail.com.

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