Life Is Truly Beautiful
Life is Beautiful is a festival in Las Vegas that has gained an immense following in the past few years. Coming to an end two weeks back, the festival ended an eternity ago with how fast social media has made the world. Yet, although it seems as though the festival is long gone, the lingering effects of the festival still hold true even weeks later.
Life is Beautiful brought so many artists to this year’s lineup, it was physically impossible to catch every act, as with most festivals. But LIB brought their A Game when it came to the lineup. Powerhouse acts that had people flocking to festival. This year brought not only acts that are popular for the moment, but timeless acts that will continue to sell out venues for years to come. Third Eye Blind, Mumford & Sons, Jimmy Eat World, Bassnectar, Jane’s Addiction, and The Shins all brought thousands to their “Yes! This is what I came for.” moment. Third Eye Blind played a sundown set that brought what seemed like the entire festival to the Main Downtown stage. On the other hand, there were some seriously popular top 40 acts that made the search for new music easy. Major Lazer, J.Cole, Die Antwoord, G-Eazy, and The Lumineers all brought new music to their audience and it was extremely well received. Every musician at Life is Beautiful truly gave their all. Not a single set was disappointing, which is oddly hard to say for most other festivals. The sound quality at every stage remained impeccable yet didn’t bleed from one stage to the next.
Each of the stages carried their own aura. Each act held a special place in the bigger theme. The live bands at the Ambassador Stage brought talent and skill of the utmost quality. The electronic scene flooding the Troubadour Stage pulled people in as they walked by. The Huntridge Stage, while smaller than the other stages, had a big personality with its unique singer/songwriter feel. Some of the most outspoken and raw artists were found at Huntridge. The Downtown stage had the most variety but the biggest acts. It was at the Downtown Stage that Third Eye Blind dropped “Semi-charmed Life,” Mumford and Sons had everyone dancing, and Tegan and Sara asked questions to the crowd. The stages, while a few blocks away from each other, were in perfect sync with their set-times and lineups. After leaving one stage following a set, another set at a different stage would begin. It was the perfect blend of movement and variety.
Speaking of variety, there were a ton of choices when it came to food at Life if Beautiful. Too many choices, in fact. Just as there is too much music to catch at a festival, there was too much food to eat at this one. Yet, there wasn’t a single thing on the menu that tasted bland. Which menu, you ask? All of them. The best of the best in food all drove their food trucks and barrels of prepared food to several areas throughout the festival. Almost every stage had an area with abundant choices to get your grub on. Rather than having huge plates of filling food for $10 a pop, each stand or truck specialized in reasonably priced bites for everyone to get a taste of what they do best; short menus of powerhouse eats. If ever attending Life is Beautiful in the future, make sure to come hungry and save your appetite as if Thanksgiving dinner is on the table, because these eats taste better.
Several festivals have art, most of them in fact. Some have live paintings, some have a collective project, some even have stages made from art. Life is Beautiful did a little bit of everything, including an art gallery. From a giant praying mantis that has a DJ booth and fire coming from its antenna, to the countless murals on city buildings, the art at Life is Beautiful made the festival fully immersive. Larger-than-life works from some of the world’s most famous artists like Shepard Fairey, Amanda Parer, Crystal Wagner, and more covered every inch of the downtown festival grounds. Finding the art wasn’t difficult, but catching and absorbing all of it became a challenge. Art from years previous stuck around, becoming a part of the festival grounds and a permanent part of Las Vegas.
Dance is also considered a form of art, and the occasional flash-mob will put anyone in a good mood, one of the things festival goers would be disappointed to miss. Set to a montage playlist of popular songs, this flash mob included every day folk including a man with his baby in a carrier on his chest. Little moments such as the flash mob made memories for a lifetime.
One of the great things about Life is Beautiful was the fact that anyone could attend the festival and find something to be passionate about. Foodies, music snobs, art lovers, and even those who chase the latest in innovation and philosophy had the potential to feel at home. The Ideas part of the festival was an added extra, rarely seen at other festivals. From the festival’s open up until sundown, interactive and informative presentations by some of the most innovative brains out there helped attendees feel a little smarter.
Las Vegas is the perfect location for a music festival. With a casino at every turn, hundreds of places held after parties with festival DJs and bands, letting even the locals get a taste of something new apart from the residencies that flood he city every summer. After the festival was over, the entire city which never seems to close opened for a long night of experiencing what Vegas is all about. The festival never took away from what makes the city so unique.
Life is Beautiful came to a close, but the festival’s effects will be long felt by all in attendance as well as the downtown Las Vegas community. Most festivals leave behind trash and destruction as tens of thousands of people stomp the grounds and leave behind waste. Yet, Life is Beautiful truly lives up to its name. It’s amazing what a little paint can do. The sea of 2 and 3-story motels in the area surrounding the Fremont Street Experience hold a certain quality of what once was. The cracking pastel buildings are a memory of when this “Old Downtown” area wasn’t so old, the wrinkles on the face of Las Vegas. Yet, with each year of Life is Beautiful, this 18 block radius gets more fascinating.
Life building-sized murals from festivals past still stare at each attendee, it’s a slow build that aims to make the best of the space and leaves something to be admired. While some artists sign their name and year visible to everyone, this is not the case with each painting. It leaves the idea that it doesn’t matter who or when the painting happened, it only matters that it makes the community surrounding it a better, more beautiful place with each passing festival. After leaving Life is Beautiful, it became impossible not to believe its message.