Music fans flock to Vegas for Life is Beautiful festival

When you think about big music festivals, visions of muddy fields, camping in tents, drinking cheap beer and eating fast food might come to mind. When you think of the Life is Beautiful festival, taking place in Las Vegas Sept. 25 – 27, you should be thinking just the opposite.

The festival, which was founded in 2013, spans 11 city blocks downtown (no mud) and instead of camping, you get to stay in cushy Vegas hotels. Instead of hot dogs and pizzas you’ll feast on gourmet food from the best local restaurants and instead of Miller Lite you’ll be drinking from your choice of 24 craft beers.

Music is the main focus of Life is Beautiful, but there’s also the aforementioned food, some amazing art and inspiring talks from a variety of guest speakers. Here’s what you can expect from this year’s festival:

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons with fans at Life is Beautiful 2013, photo courtesy of Las Vegas Sun

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons with fans at Life is Beautiful 2013, photo courtesy of Las Vegas Sun


Get ready to rock with more than 70 musical acts on four stages. There’s a little bit of something for every taste. The major acts on Friday include Stevie Wonder, Hozier, AWOLNATION, Twenty One Pilots and Major Lazer.  On Saturday it’s Las Vegas’ own Imagine Dragons plus Duran Duran, Snoop Dogg, New Politics and Big Data. The festival closes out Sunday with Kendrick Lamar, Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, Brandon Flowers and Walk the Moon.

Other artists performing throughout the weekend include Royal Blood, Glass Animals, Thievery Corporation, Future Islands, Run the Jewels, Saint Motel, X Ambassadors, Meg Meyers and dozens more.

For the first time, Life is Beautiful has also partnered with Insomniac (of Electric Daisy Carnival fame) to bring a lineup of more than 20 electronic music acts to the festival.

The Troubadour Stage will be a massive 120-foot wide structure, specially designed by Insomniac for the festival. Fans can watch costumed theatrical performers who will accompany artists like Claude VonStroke, Knife Party, Madeon, Porter Robinson and Robin Schulz.

Gourmet tacos are one of the many tasty foods you'll find at Life is Beautiful, photo by Kristine McKenzie

Gourmet tacos are one of the many tasty foods you’ll find at Life is Beautiful, photo by Kristine McKenzie

Food & Drink

Foodies will definitely get their fill at Life is Beautiful. Culinary Villages will be installed at three of the festival’s music stages where guests can feast on gourmet food from local restaurants. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options will also be available throughout the festival.

Daily interactive pop-up culinary demos will be performed in the VIP area of the Downtown Stage with a live stream. There will be three cooking expositions and two mixology segments preformed daily. The chef lineup includes Kim Canteenwalla, Elizabeth Blau, Duff Goldman, Hubert Keller, Sam Marvin, Rick Moonen, Carla Pellegrino, Steve Samson, Adam Sobel, and John Tesar. The mixology lineup features Eric Hay, Andrew Pollard, Jaime Salas, Ricky Gomez, and Willy Shine.

Speaking of mixology, festival goers can sample a wide-selection of curated, handcrafted pairings of beer, wine and spirits. There will be more than 35 specialty cocktails and more than 25 craft wine and beer selections. Some of the drinks available will include the Ketel One Dutch Mule, The Frozen Minty, Milagro Margarita and The Banana Slip.

If beer is your thing, head to the Craft Beer Garden at the Ambassador Stage. Participating brewers include Alpine Beer Company, Ballast Point, Bohemia, Green Flash, Gulden Draak, Hofbräu, Left Hand, Original Sin Hard Cider, Oskar Blues, Rogue, Santa Fe, Seattle Cider, Shiner Bock, Stiegl, Tenaya Creek and Trumer Pils.

One of the stunning street art pieces from last year's festival, photo courtesy of Life Is Beautiful

One of the stunning street art pieces from last year’s festival, photo courtesy of Life Is Beautiful


Another main component of the Life is Beautiful festival is art. Charlotte Dutoit of JUSTKIDS will be curating the street art program, which features murals and art installations. Kicking off this year’s mural program is German street artist 1010 with his incredible optical illusion piece that is already complete and can be viewed at 211 8th St.

This year, Life is Beautiful will also unveil the ART MOTEL located at the vacant Town Lodge. This unique experience is curated by John Doffing who created the “Painted Rooms” exhibitions at the Hotel des Arts in San Francisco. Artists who will be displaying include Apex, Cory Bennett, Juan Muniz, Daniel Smith, Spencer Olsen and more.

Bill Nye will be one of the featured speakers at Life is Beautiful this year, photo courtesy of Life is Beautiful

Bill Nye will be one of the featured speakers at Life is Beautiful this year, photo courtesy of Life is Beautiful


If all the music and food and art isn’t enough for you, there’s one more thing you can do while you’re at Life is Beautiful. If you want to be inspired, check out The Learning Series, which features panels, live discussions and Q & As with global leaders in pop culture, science, sports, art, leadership and more.

This year’s learning program will feature three different daily themes: “A Force for Good” highlighting new approaches to giving back to the community, “Shaping The Future” surrounding topics on technology and new media, and “Challenging the Game” with subjects such as overcoming defeat, facing adversity and more.

Some the featured speakers include CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh; Actress on CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” Kat Graham; model and transgender activist, Geena Rocero; director and actor on “Jane The Virgin,” Justin Baldoni; television personality and scientist, Bill Nye; Co-Founder of Priceline, Jeff Hoffman; the real Coach Carter, Ken Carter; Tedx speaker and founder of The Giving Keys, Caitlin Crosby; Winner of the Best Athlete with a Disability ESPY Award, Marlon Shirley and more.

Visit our site for tickets to Life is Beautiful and for more information and tips on attending the festival.


It’s not that warm in Minnesota. I know this from spending half my life freezing in the northern part of the state. So 20 years ago, I decided to thaw out and traded in scarves and mittens for tank tops and flip-flops (Take that, polar vortex!). I swapped snow for 300 days of sun a year. I may not have been born here, but there are hotels that haven’t lasted in Vegas as long as I have. The Sands, Hacienda, Aladdin, Desert Inn and the Stardust too. I've been to my fair share of implosion parties. (Yeah, that’s a thing.) As a writer for, I've applauded hundreds of shows, explored every major hotel in town and raised a few glasses at most of the city's bars and clubs. Now I'm the resident foodie here. I write about all things dining — from $3.99 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate to the finest sushi at Nobu, and everything in between.