Chicks with picks hits AZ

Chicks with Picks photo by Kelsey Hazlewood
Photo by Kelsey Hazlewood
Published On:
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Printer-friendly version

The first major festival of its kind, AZ Chicks with Picks Music Festival showcased tons of Arizona female artists who know how to rock the stage, including a variety of music categories and talents, like Michelle Branch, Sarah Buxton, Jessi Colter and Arizona Idol winner Bethany Wright.

Pandy Raye and Rhonda Hitchcock are co-founders of the AZ Chicks with Picks, which started around 15 months ago when the two met at the Arizona Entertainment Advisory Board.

Raye says she thought, “Let’s have a night that we can have different girls show up and play.”

“We’re just two women taking on a really big-sized festival on our own,” Raye says.

A previous, smaller festival was held in Cave Creek three months after the AZ Chicks with Picks group started.

“Build it and they will come,” Raye says.

There were about 70 performers at Tempe Beach Park on March 21, starting from 11 a.m. and ending around 11 p.m., Raye says.

The festival is the first of its kind in Arizona, since no other festival has only Arizona-native women performing.

Despite all the acts at the festival, there were other distractions for those in the audience.

Raye says that Mad Coyote Joe, a well-known cook, made meals for those in the VIP tent which cost $100 to enter. Also, there were more than 30 vendors and food, drinks and alcohol available as well as a Kid Zone for kids.

“I think no matter what age group you are or what music you like, you’re going to enjoy yourself,” Raye says.

The festival was not all about performing and promoting Arizona female artists — charity was involved as well.

Kiwanis Sunrise of Tempe received proceeds as well as helped with the festival, and the Ear Candy Foundation booth collected instruments for children.

“A lot of the girls, if they’re not performing, [were] helping,” Raye says.

Raye says that many of the girls have formed friendships and help each other write songs after showcasing with each other every week at different venues, like Aunt Chilada’s, a Mexican restaurant in Phoenix.

“Seeing the relationships that these girls have made with each other — it really made me feel good that I’ve been a part of that,” Raye says.
Alexes Brown, a communications junior, says she hadn’t heard of the festival but thought it sounded cool.

“I think it’d be a good time to hang out with your friends…and the weather’s nice right now,” Brown says.

The fact that the festival has only women performers makes the experience even better, she says.

“Women can be just as successful, interesting and important as men can,” Brown says.

Reach the reporter at