Stars In the Making: A Conversation with Pure Sport

By: Jason R. Latham

Las Vegas has a reputation for minting music stars. It’s not necessary to go through the list, as we already know their names. Instead, let’s focus on the name that’s on the verge of discovery, the winner of the 2023 Life Is Beautiful Rising Stars Competition, the three-piece punk rock group carving its path to superstardom.

If you don’t know Pure Sport right now, you will. Their victory in the Rising Stars battle, which began with more than 180 submissions, has thrust bassist Jared Scott, guitarist Justin Tejeda, and drummer Gage Walker into the local spotlight. Greater success awaits on September 22, when Pure Sport plays the Rolling Stone Stage on the first day of LIB.

“This will undoubtedly be the biggest stage and show we’ll have ever performed on,” the group tells Off the Strip in a conversation just after winning the competition. “We have been fortunate enough to play some amazing shows over the past year or so, but this is definitely the largest.” 

The Pure Sport trio, winners of the 2023 Life is Beautiful Rising Stars Competition.

Like any music artist worth mentioning, Pure Sport’s allure comes not just from their music but from the band’s captivating stage presence. Their fast-paced yet melodic compositions are catnip to audiences willing to push, shove, surf, and sing along to every word; and the band’s “We can laugh at ourselves” persona is defined by their tongue-in-cheek business theme. The playful incorporation of corporate imagery encourages fans – affectionately dubbed “company employees” – to join Pure Sport’s workforce, even if they’re not dressed in the band’s signature ready-for-work look.

Having witnessed the success of Las Vegas-based music acts over the last 20 years, the trio is more than aware of the opportunity that now lies at their feet. When they reach “force to be reckoned with” status, they’ll remember that it began with the 10th LIB. 

The most famous Vegas musical act of the 21st century – starts with a T, ends with an S, and in the middle is “he Killer” – will also be performing on the first day of the festival. Perhaps they’ll be in the Rolling Stone Stage crowd, watching the next generation take the reins.

Five LIB Questions with Pure Sport:

OTS: What’s the best performance you’ve ever seen at Life Is Beautiful? 

Justin and Gage: Royal Blood in 2015 was by far our favorite performance. It solidified us as a fan of theirs and definitely had a large influence on us. We regularly still watch the footage of the set online.

Jared: This is such a tough call. There are so many great ones! Black Keys, Cage the Elephant, Two Door Cinema Club, Billie Eilish, and the list could go on and on, but those are the ones that come to mind.

Cage the Elephant performs on the Downtown Stage during day one of the Life is Beautiful Music Festival held in Downtown Las Vegas, NV on Sept. 16, 2022. (Photo by Alive Coverage/Sipa USA)

OTS: Craziest Life is Beautiful story? 

Pure Sport: Our craziest LIB experience will be hosting our first company meeting there on September 22nd! Nothing will be able to top that

OTS: Which artist are you most excited to see this year?

Pure Sport: As Vegas locals, we grew up listening to The Killers and always heard stories of folks who grew up around them, went to high school with them, played with them, etc. They are local legends here, so it will be absolutely surreal to see them live and to be able to say we played a festival with them. We’re also really excited to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!

OTS: Which experience are you most excited to see this year? 

Justin: There will be so many great experiences at the festival for fans, but the number one experience for us will be playing with our fellow band members on a stage that we’ve worked so hard to perform on.

Jared: I would agree. The moment we walk off stage, hug each other and celebrate after our set will be an amazing experience as well.

OTS: What’s your No. 1 tip for a first-time festival goer? 

Justin: Nothing beats comfortable shoes. You’re going to be walking around all day, and if you don’t have the right shoes you’ll be limping around for the next week.

Gage: Drink plenty of water and bring a phone charger. The sun will really take it out of you, so stay safe and hydrated.

Jared: I believe in the buddy system, it’s always good to have someone looking out for you, and for you to look out for them. Safety is number one! Your pal may likely notice you are dehydrated before you do!

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