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Life Is Beautiful festival returns to Las Vegas in September: Travel Weekly

The annual Life Is Beautiful festival, which takes place in downtown Las Vegas from September 16 to 18, satisfies almost all the senses. Guests hear the sound of music and comedy on multiple stages, see new murals and other artwork created each year, and smell and taste the robust food and drink offerings.

But more than that, guests – connecting with each other and the artists – also feel the unmistakable vibrancy of 18 city blocks brimming with optimism and innovation.

Finding the right mix of artists has been the top priority of Craig Asher Nyman, head of music and live performance for Life Is Beautiful since its inception in 2013.

“Our programming is very balanced across multiple genres,” Nyman said. “We really strive to have a bit of everything, a little something type mentality for everyone behind it.”

Musical headliners

In addition to headliners such as Calvin Harris, Arctic Monkeys, Lorde, Cage the Elephant and Jack Harlow, the Gorillaz will be among the hottest performers this year. “It’s the first time they’ve been back since 2017. They haven’t toured America in years,” Nyman said.

“We have very good smaller and promising bands like Tai Verdes [with “A-O-K” and “Stuck in the Middle” hits on TikTok]who pre-pandemic worked at a Verizon store and is now selling shows and performing to massive crowds,” Nyman said. Brazilian DJ Mochakk, one of the fastest growing DJs in the world, will also perform.

Nyman says Fergusons Downtown Stage will once again be a more intimate, high-energy venue for dance music fans to enjoy the eclectic sounds of a variety of local Las Vegas artists and several visiting DJs.

Among the comedies to watch on Venue’s Kicker Stage: Ricky Velez, who just opened for John Mulaney at New York’s Madison Square Garden; Andrew Lopez, who has been cast in Seth Rogen’s new Apple TV+ sitcom, “Platonic”; acclaimed drag queen Latrice Royale; Hannah Einbinder and Megan Stalter from the HBO series “Hacks”; and “Saturday Night Live” featured player Sarah Sherman.

A special weekend festival edition of Las Vegas’ popular Market in the Alley, at Life Is Beautful since 2017, will return to Fremont Street between 10th and 11th streets. The outdoor space will have over 40 vendors selling handmade clothing, candles, art, jewelry and more.

Other personalities from the world of art and gastronomy who will be present will be announced soon.

“When we started…we were really the first music festival to have a full food and cocktail program, and cocktails are still a big part of that. But now we’re starting to see a lot of the cooking live as being a huge draw for us,” Nyman said.

Transform the city center

Life Is Beautiful helped transform downtown Las Vegas. Murals painted for the event remained on many buildings in the festival footprint, and an entrepreneurial vibe took shape.

“Along with other businesses, operations, artists and organizations who also want to see downtown rise and become a true bastion of the city, we are rising together,” Nyman said. “We’ve just been a part of that…to keep pushing for the pull of downtown, to want to be there whether it’s to live, work or play.”

The opening of Circa Resort & Casino, Downtown Grand’s new tower of rooms, and other new accommodations have provided guests from outside of Life Is Beautiful with added convenience when not reveling in the festival. This year, the trend is about 72% tourists, with Southern California being the biggest food market, Nyman said.

“Ease and accessibility [are] big reasons,” he said. “It’s easy to get in and out of this festival. You don’t have to think about your transportation once you get here or call an Uber late at night. It’s as easy as walking through the door, onto the Fremont Street Experience and back to your hotel.”

Rolling Stone’s involvement

Rolling Stone, a longtime partner and sponsor of Life Is Beautiful, acquired a majority stake in the festival this year. While most guests won’t notice any additional branding or changes, Nyman said the media company is helping to amplify the festival and deepen its connection with fans and music.

Rolling Stone’s involvement will allow Life Is Beautiful to “create more events, more artistic opportunities, more impact, not just here in Vegas but across the country and around the world,” Nyman said. “It allows the Life Is Beautiful brand to become more of an international name as we work with a publication that has spent its career promoting – first in America, then internationally – music, culture, fashion and all the rest.”

One-day admission starts at $180 (plus taxes and fees) with three-day passes starting at $380. VIP, VIP+ and All-In wristbands include express entry; access to lounges, concierge services and exclusive food and beverage vendors; and other amenities. No less than 50,000 people are expected each day.

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes