By Chris Ortiz

As winter turns to spring, and the temperatures start to rise and snow melts, the idea of fun and togetherness in the outdoors starts to cross people’s minds. At least that is how Candace Devine, founder of the Pure Imagination Music Festival, feels.

The music festival, which takes place at Watson Lake on May 17 and 18, will be in its third year (and the first time it has expanded to two days), with this year’s headliner being the psychedelic rock band The Flaming Lips.

The festival was a dream of Devine’s for a long time, the Grammy nominated songwriter and performer said. She moved to the Prescott area about 10 years ago, and she had noticed that something was missing from the area.

While districts like Whiskey Row have amazing indoor venues that hosted some good bands, she wondered why there were not more touring bands coming through the city. She said that while Phoenix, being only an hour and a half away and is one of the biggest cities in the nation, the valley metro really feels like other big cities, like Los Angeles, and lacks a bit of a vibe.

She stated that as an artist, one wants to be in an area where one feels culture, history and the charm of where you are. This is what gave her the idea of trying to make Prescott a music and performance city.

“I really saw Prescott as an epicenter of arts and music. We have brilliant painters here, sculptures, we have a film festival here, the Yavapai College Preforming Arts Center, and all these talented people here with really no spotlight on the fact that we are this preforming arts capital city of Arizona.”

The best way that she thought that she could contribute to making Prescott known as this mecca of art was by creating this festival that would allow bigger artists to come through Prescott annually in hopes that the festival would also draw people in from all over to experience what “everyone’s hometown” has to offer.

The all-female group that is behind the festival has done exactly that too, with the inaugural festival having none other than Wynonna Judd listed as the headliner. However, festival goers will remember that Mrs. Judd had to pull out of the festival at the last minute due to her mother passing only four days before. Yet, that didn’t stop Devine and her team as the next year they brought Pure Imagination back bigger and better than ever with the 2023 lineup that included Ziggy Marley, Lucinda Williams and her band, as well as Los Lobos to the area.

“We need an environment where there’s a safe place for people to remember that they have something in common. So, the idea of an eclectic festival was to provide a little bit of something for a lot of people. And the audience really soaks it up. What I found is the biggest feedback is that people may come for the one person or the two people they know and already enjoy, but more often than not they leave fans of many bands they never heard of. That is the point of music, to expand yourself and connect with people. One of my favorite photos from a past festival is that there are the four cowboys, in legit cowboy hats and belt buckles and Wrangler jeans standing right next to this hippy dippy, tree hugging, covered in glitter, with rainbows and sparkles, and everyone is dancing and having the best time.”

But at the end of the day, Devine explains, the point of the festival is a reminder that we are all just human. When she is out on the field or playing in her band, it is the moments when people are being kind together and sharing the moment, leaving the troubles of the geo-political spectrum behind that makes her the happiest, making those memories of a lifetime.

Tickets (including payment options), the full festival line up and more information can be found on their website at pureimaginationfestival.com.

Use our search bar to find listings of businesses near you.

Looking for a local event near you? We got you!

Discover Events in Prescott

We're here to help you book an event, buy ticket online or make a reservation.