With little more than two months before the Life is Beautiful festival opens to tens of thousands of music fans, some 50 musical acts have been announced, including The Killers, Vampire Weekend, Imagine Dragons, Nico Vega, Joey Bada$$ and Cults.
“We’re really excited about the whole lineup, obviously with The Killers and Kings of Leon as headliners,” said Craig Nyman, head of music and live performances for Life is Beautiful. “We couldn’t ask for two better headliners … for the first year. With the new bands (announced), Vampire Weekend — fantastic band — it has what I believe should be considered one of the albums of the year.”
Nyman spoke enthusiastically of the musicians recently added to the lineup, including Alabama Shakes (“If you’ve never seen them live, they’re just incredible musicians who keep getting better and better,”) Janelle Monae (“Just a wonderful performer. … Her performances are always high energy and a lot of fun,”) Smith Westerns (“They have grown up a lot in the past few years and have a lot of good reviews on their new album,”) Joey Bada$$ (“One of the young rising stars in hip-hop.”)
“Overall, it rounds out the lineup where we had it, and from top to bottom, were really excited about what we have,” Nyman said. “Hopefully fans will embrace it, discover some new music, see some of their favorites and afterwards be digging some new sound.”
Nyman said the festival has tried to put together a lineup that appeals to a mass audience. He said he expects music fans drawn in by Beck, Living Colour, Allen Stone or Dawes to be more interested in the Culinary Village.
“Bands like that, they may push the brink and really have people who are more geared towards culinary really getting excited about the music,” he said.
On the flip side, those who attend for the headliners are likely more focused on the music, Nyman said.
“Maybe the fans of their music will want to go over and experience some of the art program and experience more of the culinary,” he said. “Our hope is that by going with different genres of music, that people are interwoven and discover all four festivals that we have in one.”
More than 60 well-known chefs and restaurants will keep stations within the Culinary Village, designed as a Moroccan-style bazaar. Top chefs will also be giving demonstrations in a climate-controlled tent.
Included in the culinary area will be the wine, beer and spirits Alchemy Garden, including 24 wineries and another 24 breweries.
An estimated 30,000 people are expected to attend the festival each day. About 50 percent will be coming from out of town and the other half will be Las Vegans who attend, Nyman said.
“It’s a really encouraging sign,” Nyman said. “While we love the fact that we have people coming into town, it’s also a festival for Las Vegas. It’s great that the locals have supported us from the beginning, and now the rest of the country is starting to find out more and more about Life is Beautiful and is booking trips out here.”
For those coming from out of town, the main feeder markets are California and Arizona for the U.S. Internationally, a lot of festivalgoers will be attending from the United Kingdom.
“This is an added bonus for them,” Nyman said. “The U.K. is a big festival loving country, so add in their love of festivals and their love of Vegas, and I think it’s a match made in heaven. ….It shines a spotlight on Las Vegas and downtown Las Vegas. The wider we can stretch this, the better it is for all of us.”
The exact layout is not yet known, although it is planned to include a minimum of four stages, and indoor and outdoor spaces spread throughout close to 15 city blocks. We asked whether non-ticket holders will be able to view the musical acts from an area outside the festival, potentially causing frustration to those who paid to attend.
“I think when more details come out, it will become more apparent to how the stages and the layout are set up and how it really is beneficial, like any other festival, where people go in and you’ll have the best vantage points and viewing areas as well as sound,” Nyman said. “There’s really nothing like being part of the action, so … anybody who wants to attend the festival, has a ticket and comes and enjoys themselves for two days.”
The map hasn’t been released, but the El Cortez is inside the festival’s footprint. For those who elect to stay at a hotel outside the festival, shuttles are being planned, but those details are not yet known, either. Las Vegans and others who choose to drive will have access to parking, although where is also not known yet.
General admission tickets are still available and go for $159.50. That gives access to the grounds and into all the different elements of the festival, including the arts, culinary and all the stages.
Their measure of success?
“When we get to the 26th (of October) and the gates open, and people come in and have smiles on their face – that right there is something that I think we will all look forward to,” Nyman said. “Hopefully this is just the beginning and we’re here for many years to come and are able to help bring another festival opportunity to Las Vegas.”
The Life is Beautiful festival runs Oct. 26-27, 2013, in downtown Las Vegas.