Eighteen city blocks and fluorescent signage were all it took to make Life Is Beautiful one of the best music festivals of the year. Held from Sept. 22 to 24 in downtown Las Vegas, the fifth annual event boasted a colorful lineup of artists, performers, food, art and speakers with over 120,000 attendees and hundreds of attractions.
Throughout the weekend, performers and stages were scattered throughout the venue. Electronic music lovers gathered mainly at the newly renamed Fremont Stage, which hosted DJs like Whethan, Troyboi, TOKiMONSTA and Tchami. In addition, the Forest House and Kalliope art cars were all-day party spots with electrifying DJ sets by Dr. Fresch, Collective Zoo and even a surprise post-performance appearance from Ekali.
Art was present at every corner of the festival, with open spaces filled with vibrant murals, fluorescent lights and avant-garde structures. Zappos’ Art Motel provided an escape in between performances at the Downtown and Huntridge stages. With 23 rooms featuring the works of a variety of artists, attendees were able to experience art through interactive exhibits, like playing an instrument through hand movements in the air, and watching others dance in stop motion among reality-distorting visuals.
Beyond music and art, Life Is Beautiful featured a variety of presenters, speakers and lounges that appealed to all audiences. Scientist Bill Nye opened the festival with a talk on Friday afternoon. “Fight Song” singer Rachel Platten and vlogger Bethany Mota were also present for speeches throughout the weekend. In iconic Las Vegas fashion, Cirque du Soleil took the stage on Sunday afternoon for an explosive performance from MGM Grand’s KÀ to Mandalay Bay’s Michael Jackson ONE.
The High Times Cannabis Village encouraged patrons aged 21 and older to experience cannabis education right on the festival grounds. Bringing together exhibits, seminars, art and dispensaries, the lounge was open throughout the weekend.
Beyond this, this year’s Life Is Beautiful boasted a major lineup of food vendors. Southern California-based favorites Afters Ice Cream and Milkbox were present at the festival, while food trucks like Cousin’s Maine Lobster were dispersed throughout the 18-block site. However, one of the best aspects of the event was its ability to incorporate local businesses into the festivities. Several bookstores, bars and restaurants within the site were open for patrons to visit and enjoy.
Ultimately, the performers made the weekend worthwhile. On Friday, Lorde, Chance the Rapper, 2 Chainz and Two Door Cinema Club delivered explosive performances at the Downtown Stage. Despite sustaining lower body injuries prior to the festival, 2 Chainz wheeled himself out to the delight of fans. Meanwhile, fan favorites like RAC and Blink 182 took over the Ambassador and Fremont stages.
Despite having smaller crowds, Saturday had its fair share of captivating performances. Up-and-coming artist Sigrid made her appearance at the Huntridge Stage early in the day. DJs Whethan and Ekali seamlessly transitioned their sets at the Fremont Stage, while Capital Cities had fans waving their clothes in the air during a final remix rendition of its hit “Safe and Sound.” Before Muse, Wiz Khalifa and Kaskade closed off the night, Goldroom and Local Natives captivated crowds.
And on Sunday, arguably the most crowded day of the weekend, fans flocked to see Zhu, Gorillaz, The xx, MGMT and Tchami perform. However, female artist Dua Lipa, DJ Mura Masa and sister pop-trio HAIM also brought in major crowds beyond the Downtown and Fremont stages.
Despite having an unbalanced Saturday schedule, Life Is Beautiful was a one-of-a-kind celebration that offered attendees an unparalleled music experience, supplemented by art, food and ideas. Integrating local businesses and using already landscaped locations, the event is a prime example of how major music events can still benefit the community. This year’s festival shows just how beautiful life can be when people come together for music and culture.