I was traveling through the Southwest, taking in the deep red of the rocks and the blue of the sky when I came across a town unlike any other in America. Colorado City, or, as the locals call it, The Crick, is on the Utah/Arizona border and is comprised of Colorado City, Arizona; Hildale, Utah; Centennial Park, Arizona; and Cane Beds, Arizona. Its vermilion cliffs and the wide open spaces of the Arizona strip have long been home to ranchers and Mormon Fundamentalists.
It was the home of Lavoy Finicum, the rancher killed by Government agents in Oregon. It is also the home of the well-known Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the FLDS, but it’s much more than that … it’s the prettiest place I’ve ever seen.
The day I drove through for my first time, the streets were silent. It was a spring Wednesday. Huge polygamist mansion homes lined the dusty streets; it felt like a ghost town. I was immensely curious, so I pulled over and took a walk. It wasn’t long before a beat up old mini van pulled alongside me. The driver was a tall, lanky man with a shock of blonde hair. The back of the van was filled with small children. He had a huge smile on his face. I had been told that as an outsider in Colorado City, you would be run off by the church security force, but this man was about as friendly as could be. Through his smile he asked, ” Are you lost?” I answered that I was not, and proceeded to tell him all I knew about the town and its history. He laughed and said, “you might know more than I do, would you like a tour?”
I followed him through the town and up the hillside to Maxwell Park. The park was featured on the cover of National Geographic magazine when they did a feature on polygamists. Seeing it in real life was astounding. Beneath El Capitan mountain, children in prairie dresses played kickball in a green field. I sat down to take it all in.
I wanted to make conversation so I took out my guitar and quietly began to play. It wasn’t long til many of the children came to inquire of me. I was invited to play kickball, and we got about half an inning in before the kids were called to go. I knew I wanted to play music in that field. Over the next two years I made many return visits to The Crick. I ended up being one of the first outsiders to ever play music there. I put on a few concerts in the bakery and ended up making some wonderful friends. I have found the Crick to be an amazing community where the people are humorous and skilled in about any trade you can think of.
I have since organized the Colorado City Music Festival in Maxwell Park. Our first event brought around 1000 people and national media attention. We are planning our second festival for May 5, 2018. We hope you’ll join us and get to know this beautiful, unique town for yourself.