When UNLV juniors Kenny Daniels and Jackson Dunn founded their nonprofit Pursue Positivity, they kept the objective simple: help others. Vague as that mission may be, it’s led to the duo hosting improvement workshops at local schools, taking a cross-country trip to Arkansas to build a home for a family in need, and recruiting 1,500 members devoted to putting more positivity into the world. Now, the organization is doing what Las Vegas does best: throwing an awesome party.
Pursue Positivity will host Theoria, a new music festival at UNLV, on November 21.
Theoria will feature three stages interspersed with visual art, workshops, charitable organizations and food trucks, all free and open to the public. While Daniels hopes that UNLV’s Greek organizations and dorm students will be an active presence, he hopes the event will also draw the general public.
“We wanted every activity, booth and piece of art at this festival to go back to the message of helping others through love, forgiveness, and charity,” says Daniels. “There is a value in bringing people together to inspire big conversation and expose people to charitable causes.”
Theoria, initially slated for mid-October, faced several challenges—among them scheduling conflicts and finding vendors and artists. But the most profound struggle to Pursue Positivity happened when Daniels’ father passed away in April.
“My dad was the first person I called after every presentation,” Daniels says. “After he passed away, I was forced to take a step back. But months later, someone I really respected called me. He had people who were interested in making Theoria happen. That made me think that if this many people were interested, this was something I had to follow through with.”
At first, Daniels and his team tried to contact individual brands and artists, but he realized he needed some outside help. He soon got in contact with local art collective ISI, known for their business curations and live art exhibition at The Linq. After just one meeting, ISI founders Dana Anderson and Phillip Limon agreed to curate all of the visual art and brands free of charge, simply because they believed in Pursue Positivity’s cause. While Pursue Positivity will supply paint for the murals, the artists and vendors agreed to be part of the festival for free and keep proceeds from any art they sell on the day of the event.
“That’s something I can’t thank them for enough,” Daniels says. “ISI’s excitement has motivated and pushed the whole thing forward. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible. It only took them visiting the campus one time to see a blank canvas ready for inspiring work.”
Performers at the Acoustic Stage include IdleWild and American Weather. The Courtyard Stage will feature EDM artists 100 Tribn, The Bombmakers, and Dryden and Sloves, who recently opened for The Chainsmokers. Charitable causes include Best Buddies and Nevada Society for the Preservation of Animal Cruelty. Although UNLV has previously hosted concerts with multiple artists (see: Rebelpalooza in 2013), Premiere, and last year’s Victoria’s Secret Pink Party with Iggy Azalea, Theoria will be an event UNLV hasn’t seen before.
“I want people to see the campus transformed,” Daniels said. “I hope it will be memorable and engage everyone in what we’re doing to help the community.”