Bountiful Pleasure: Life is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas 10/26-27

by Matthew Downes

A rich cast of art, food and live entertainment will be commencing in the city of sin in 4 days.  Life is Beautiful (LIB) festival could be starting an extremely rich annual meet-up challenging even the deepest of lineups from similar festivals like Coachella, Outside Lands and Hangout Festival.  Sit tight, this isn’t just about music.

Lets get a couple of things straight. There is no camping.  You don’t need camping when you have 110 hotels within a 5 mile radius so this should make for a comfortable setting for everyone.  The downtown Las Vegas location they chose is rich in gaming and history, and has been undergoing a revamp recently. A downtown bar scene has popped up, national businesses have moved in as well as unique neighborhoods filled with a diverse group of residents. Don’t get me wrong, downtown has a long way to go, but the days of just going to the Golden Nugget and trying to not get stabbed, a block away, are a decade removed.

This is the new Las Vegas and LIB is taking advantage of this space.

The weather is predicted to be pretty great.  Light winds with highs of 80F during the day and lows around 50F at night.  With all of the people and lights, I imagine it will be a bit warmer during the day and not as cool as expected at night.  Here’s one guarantee.  It will not rain.

Lets break down the Art, Food and Music parts of this festival.

::: Art :::

Las Vegas has great shows.  Whether you’re a fan of the Cirque du Soleil peeps, The Beatles (the show or the band) or Elton John (EJ will not be at LIB) you have a plethora of shows to see on any given night.  An awesome slice of these shows are relocating downtown just for this event. Over the course of the weekend you can see Michael Jackson One, The Beatles Love or CDS’ world famous “O” in a new setting as a focal part of this festival.  This is just a short list as you can see 11 shows in total, if you make time, during the weekend.  All for ~$150!  Most of these shows cost that much for one ticket for one night (or two tickets if you go on an off-peak night).

What’s really cool is the street art installation through a section of the fest called “Rise Above” and something called “The Odyssey” that serves the purpose of celebrating and inspiring the visual journey of life.  We won’t be missing that.

::: Food :::

Now that you’ve walked around the Art area and maybe even taken in bits and pieces of some shows, you’ll be hungry.  Boy did the LIB curators go over the top for this.  First off, you have The Culinary Village that will feature foods from over 20 different sources and ALL for under $10 per meal.  Of course you’ll be thirsty so The Alchemy Gardens will deliver the perfect match of beer, wine and liquor to your food selections.

Looking for some food entertainment?  Chefs on Stage might be a place you’ll spend your weekend.  20 of the most highly regarded chefs will do live demonstrations that will give attendees a chance to learn culinary secrets in real-time.  This writer is personally a huge fan of Scott Conant. While the schedule is a bit unclear at the moment, I’m going to try my best to be at his event. The list of attending and “performing” chefs is top-notch.

If you’re there early on Friday, you can attend the kick-off party with Dawes with a special performance by Todd Rundgren.  This party is $175 on its own and leaves us confused.  Why so much?  This is the one part of the festival that leaves me thinking, will anyone be there?

Additional partying (and money) can be spent on flight tastings that run both Saturday and Sunday ($40 for three hours), a special 8 course meal with a $5,000 sticker tag and a Culinary Crawl each day from 5-8pm.  The culinary crawl is an additional $130. You can learn more about these food “extras” here.

::: Music :::

There are basically nine headliners performing at LIB this weekend.  The Killers (ktc amazing band), Kings of Leon, Beck (ktc writes : Beck Takes on David Bowie’s “Sounds and Vision”), Vampire Weekend (ktc Modern Vampires of the City Album review), Imagine Dragons (nature of music, ktc concert review and ktc Night Visions album review), Pretty Lights, Empire of the Sun (ktc Ice on the Dune album review), Passion Pit (ktc Gossamer album review) and Jurassic 5.

Beyond that you have over 70 artists bringing their noise all weekend long.  On Friday, we’ll get into some of the other 60+ artists attending, some to maybe check out and who to definitely not miss.  We can probably put up a good argument that this alone is worth the price of admission.  Music is the focus of this festival and the bookers did not disappoint.  They represented Las Vegas with the killers and ID, a mix of internationally respected talent and a lot of bands we consider “Up Next“. This festival is not pretentious.  They matched artists that have a lot going on around them while appropriately giving local and regional artists slots.  Seriously good job LIB!

Additional things to consider…

In September LIB added “Learning” a section that is more family-centric with a speakers series and additional entertainment/events geared towards children.  No rock left unturned at LIB. We’ll look to catch a bit of Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, and author of bestseller “Delivering Happiness” speaking engagement.  More information about “Learning” can be found here or on the event website here.

Final Thoughts!

Our only problem with this festival is there is definitely too much going on and a lot of great things are going on at the same time. Welcome to the world of festivals!  You will leave this festival missing something of importance, but that’s ok!  Put a rough schedule together, a list of “can’t misses” and be flexible to things that maybe just catch your eyes or ears or nose.  LIB has made this festival about exploring all five of your senses, so remember to be conscious of that.  Be safe, well-rested and hydrated (via water) and you’ll leave with fantastic stories and memories.

We can’t possibly cover every single facet of this outstanding event.  With featured sponsors, high level artists, chefs, speakers and special events you’ll need to do a bit of exploring on their beautiful website or iphone/android applications to pick what peaks your interest.

We’ll put up some pictures after the event.  Don’t forget to check back on Friday to learn about musical recommendations and what artists to not miss!

We’ll be on-site eating, drinking and partying all weekend long!  Looking forward to it!  See you there?

Tons of hotel rooms are still available city-wide.

Did you get your ticket(s) yet?  


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TAGS: Michael Jackson, 4 months of planning, TOP, CXC, RD and EOTS, Will Mark Stroemer be present?

Photo Credit: Scott Conant (dot com), Water (Pur Water dot com)