Country star Wynona Judd and Los Angeles rock band Dawes lead the bill, but the eclectic lineup would be hard to match even without them. The Pure Imagination Music Festival, set to happen on May 21 at Watson Lake, offers one of the most diverse music lineups ever seen locally in a single event.
Many of the bands address social issues through their music. Chateau Chateau, for example, uses lyrics to encourage listeners to think about mental illness, addiction and queer identity.
Leading the organizing as president of Further West, Candace Devine will also be appearing in the festival with her band Ponderosa Grove, featuring Drew Hall and Josh Taylor fronting a roster of local musicians. Devine tells us that the mission of the Pure Imagination Festival is to bring a diversity of sound and culture to the inspiring outdoor setting. With an eco-friendly focus and diverse lineup, the plan is to create a unique musical experience marrying landscape and soundscape, while leaving minimal impact on the environment.
Devine says that, like any large and wondrous undertaking, the Pure Imagination Festival began with a dream. “As a professional singer-entertainer-performer, I just couldn’t understand why we didn’t have a festival like this in Prescott. So it was time to create one.”
Devine said the festival is important because she believes music brings people together and is a positive force for healing and joy. “We need that more than ever as a community, also as humans. We’ve collectively been through a lot this last handful of years. It’s time to have an event that reminds us all we are in the human experience together.”
The show schedule offers a highly diverse soundscape. “There is a little something for everyone. All the artists are incredible,” Devine says, adding that Watson Lake Park is a wonderful setting because it’s an inspiring place all on its own.
“You add a phenomenal lineup of artists, two stages, food trucks, beverages, shopping, kayaking, camping, the love and spirit of everybody’s hometown to the mix, it’s undeniably special,” she said.
A portion of proceeds from alcohol sales will go directly to the Chamber Foundation to help support the holiday tree-lighting this year. Some funding will also go to the nonprofits Center for Biological Diversity, Sweet Relief, and AZSERVE.
Performing at the Pure Imagination Festival is a dream come true, says Devine. “I have had the good fortune to perform on a lot of stages in a lot of places. It will be one of my biggest highlights to play the Pure Imagination Festival stage after spending almost a year working on this event with my wonderful team,” she said. “We love the outdoorsy nature of our area, and we are eco-focused to help leave as little imprint on the gorgeous environment as possible.”
Devine wants the Pure Imagination Festival to remind anyone who attends “that we are all just people.”
“As people, we have a lot more in common with each other than not, and music is one of the best ways to share in a communal experience with others. A festival is the perfect place and time to put differences aside and share in the wonder of music and making memories,” she said.
Other Featured Performers
Hiphop artist Talib Kweli Grammy-winning blues artist Fantastic Negrito
Australian rock duo Atlas Genius
Southern folk duo Rising Appalachia
Singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt
Austin-based Sarah and the Sundays
Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame performer Walt Richardson
Three-part harmony with Stephy Leigh and The Lullaby League
Local acoustic blues-rock duo The Cross-Eyed Possum
Tickets start at $71.50, with onsite parking at $44. Options include kayaking on the lake, and camping slots are already sold out. More info at pureimaginationfestival.com.