Life is Beautiful is a weekend to remember
When the Life Is Beautiful Festival opened its gates for the very first time in downtown Las Vegas in 2013, no one was sure what to expect. The event was born of grand ambition: Although it booked big acts like The Killers, Kings of Leon and Beck as inaugural headliners, LIB was always meant to be more than just another music festival. It was supposed to wrap creative food and thoughtful art around those musical stars with plenty of positivity, while representing Las Vegas in a progressive way.
Returning to its downtown grounds for the sixth year on Sept. 21-23, Life Is Beautiful has exceeded its own lofty expectations and left an impact on the city that no one could have predicted. The festival has become yet another must-do annual event in Las Vegas while also changing the literal landscape of downtown Las Vegas.
Its musical acts remain the biggest draw, and this year’s lineup is one of the most exciting yet. Pop-R&B superstar The Weeknd, indie rock heroes Arcade Fire and Florence + The Machine and hip-hop rebel Travis Scott top the bill, which also includes a diverse mix of up-and-coming and established acts like N.E.R.D., DJ Snake, A$AP Ferg, Bastille, Death Cab for Cutie, Justice, Miguel, ODESZA, Santigold, T-Pain, French Montana, Daniel Caesar and Blood Orange. Moving through the streets to catch different sounds on different stages is a big part of the LIB experience, and this year festival curators have achieved maximum potential discovery.
The festival also offers an unprecedented slate of comedians and speakers with its new Kicker Comedy series, hosting sizzling stand-up stars Hannibal Buress, Michelle Wolf and Natasha Leggero, along with performances from drag queen Trixie Mattel, the Toronto-based singing group Choir! Choir! Choir! and more. And the culinary lineup, which so memorably began with celebrity chefs from across the country doing demonstrations and sharing favorite recipes, has evolved into a smorgasbord of festival bites for the casual attendee and carefully curated food and drink experiences for those craving a deeper experience.
The downtown area has always been the center of art in the city, but thanks to Life Is Beautiful, it’s been transformed into a colorful, kaleidoscopic environment. Many buildings surrounding Fremont Street have been covered in massive murals since the festival’s first year, and that wave of creativity continues with new temporary installations and more permanent street art from Retna, André Saraiva, Sebas Velasco, Saddo, Tyler Fuqua, Xander Phoenix and other artists from around the world. The Crime on Canvas art exhibit also returns for a third year, featuring original and rare work from Mark Ryden, Brandon Boyd, Paul Frank, Norman Reedus and many more.
Come for the music, stay for the culture. That’s what happened back in 2013, and Life Is Beautiful keeps coming back every year to help redesign what Vegas-style entertainment can be.
Downtown Las Vegas, times vary Sept. 21-23, starting at $135 plus tax and fee. lifeisbeautiful.com