You’ve got to have a lot of faith in the world to name your brand new festival something as grand as “Life Is Beautiful”; you’ve also got to have a bit of a sense of humor to host it in Downtown Las Vegas. Thankfully the brilliant and creative minds behind Life Is Beautiful festival have ample amounts of both.
For the last weekend of October, music lovers, self-described foodies, those “artistic types” and knowledge junkies all came together beneath the old skyscraper hotels and casinos from the Las Vegas of yesteryear to be a part of Life Is Beautiful’s maiden voyage.
With a dream-like lineup and a city that never sleeps, we knew we had to head out to the desert to check out why life is apparently so beautiful. We were met with one of the aesthetically inspiring weekends of our lives, but no budding festival is without its growing pains.
Here at FILTER we decided to weigh the pros and con of Life Is Beautiful’s first offering.
Festival Feasting: In addition to our festival faves (Spicy Pie!), Life Is Beautiful offered up some foodie fare over at the Culinary Village, where you could nom on some of Vegas’s best. Of note: Tom Colicchio’s sandwiches via Wichcraft and the sashimi at Nobu. Everyone could find something delicious and surprisingly well priced…in the land of festivals of course. When your stomach was full, but you were still parched, the glorious Alchemy Gardens offered up libations ranging from craft beers, delicious wines and every type of liquor under the (incredibly hot) sun.
(photo by Breanna Murphy)
Loaded Lineup: For its inaugural year, Life Is Beautiful stacked its lineup impressively, from giving a very appropriate top-billed status to hometown legends The Killers, to snagging the legendary Jurassic 5 during their reunion, to buzzed-about newbies HAIM, Cauycas and Earl Sweatshirt and just about everything in between including Vampire Weekend, Alabama Shakes, Empire of the Sun, Janelle Monae and more; the entire weekend was a solid and completely satisfying music vacation that we never wanted to leave, especially after witnessing Beck bust out some serious moves to “Billie Jean” and “Debra.”
Discovering Downtown: The festival literally shut down a city (downtown Vegas) and used the opportunity to recruit local street artists to “gentr-art-fy” abandoned motels and parking lots. The effect was completely one-of-a-kind and repeatedly impressive. From gigantic murals to pop up gardens, the art aspect to Life Is Beautiful made every intersection a communal adventure that felt safe and exciting all at the same time. The downside of taking over an entire section of town for a music festival? The nomadic journey from stage to stage. Let’s not even get started on trying to catch a cab at the end of the night!
FILTER Sessions: We have to thank LIB, as well as our partners the 2014 Toyota Corolla, for giving us our very own mini-stage, where bands like Passion Pit, Cults, Chancellor Warhol, Cayucas and Alpine stopped by to perform stripped-down sets and try their luck with our very Vegas-themed interviews.
Backstage Bowling: Nothing felt better than escaping the blazing hot Vegas sun, by bowling backstage with your favorite artists and the specially made bowling balls with their faces on them! Thanks to Brooklyn Bowl, free drinks and strikes were part of our nightly routine.
(Photo by Breanna Murphy)
SO MUCH MORE: Our only real issue with LIB is that we didn’t have enough time or energy to see all of the amazing performances, talks and activities that were scattered around the enormous festival grounds. Highlights of things we wanted to see but just couldn’t get to included Dean & Britta performing the 13 Most Beautiful… (Andy Warhol screen tests), Cirque du Soleil sneak peek presentations and food discussions with some of our favorite chefs.
To sum up our feelings about the first ever Life Is Beautiful Festival, we’d like to quote the King of Rock and Roll: “How I wish that there were more than the twenty-four hours in the day, Cause even if there were forty more I wouldn’t sleep a minute away!”
See you next time Vegas!
Taken from FILTER Magazine. Published October 30, 2013.