By Marcus Hunt
Indio has Coachella and Stagecoach, Chicago has Lalapalooza, New York has Electric Zoo, and now Las Vegas has Life is Beautiful. History was made October 26th and 27th, when downtown hosted Rehan Choudhry’s creation, The Life is Beautiful Festival. This festival was part of the Downtown Project, an initiative led by Zappos C.E.O. Tony Hsieh to revive and refresh downtown Las Vegas.
Life is Beautiful is a now annual festival collection of music, art, food, and guest speakers located on Fremont Street.
The main music attractions of 2013 included Grammy nominated Vegas locals The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Kings of Leon, and Passion Pit, with lesser known gems such as Zedd, Capital Cities, Childish Gambino, and Youngblood Hawke.
“I was so impressed with the stellar lineup for Life is Beautiful. The fact that it was its first year and it was this loaded makes me excited for the future, and I will definitely keep going every year!” Ashley Lung, freshman, said.
Along with world renowned chefs such as Iron Chef Cat Cora, Food Networks Stars Michael Symon, and Aaron Sanchez, an impressive palette of over 50 restaurant vendors offered diverse culinary delicacies that were easy on the wallet.
Life is Beautiful focused on art of all kinds. Dance and gymnastic performers included Cirque du Soleil, Mystere, Zumanity, and Zarkana. To get an extra taste of the Vegas lifestyle, theatrical groups showcased acts from a few shows on the strip, such as Rock of Ages and Absinthe. Also, various artists contributed to the street artwork as seen in surrounding areas, via spray paint and a little creative intuition.
The final feature of the festival was the aspect of learning. An aspect that may have been slightly overlooked due to the big name musical performers and lavish foods choices, “learning” included over 40 speakers, ranging from topics of UFC fighting from Forrest Griffin to motivational speaking from the cast of “The Buried Life” and life experiences of Harry Shum Jr. from “Glee.”
Life is Beautiful exceeded the requirements of what deems a traditional concert experience. “I thought it was very cool that Life is Beautiful was not just about music or food. It included art and learning along with everything else, that made it the complete package and a great experience,” Kyle Spina, sophomore, said.
Aside from this now being a yearly event, the street artwork created from Life is Beautiful lives on. Despite some murals being removed due to “not representing the spirit of downtown,”(Las Vegas Sun 11/26/13) most created street murals have been allowed to remain intact to be viewed year round.
“I love the fact that the artwork created for Life is Beautiful gets to stay for everyone to enjoy all year.This adds to the allure of the Life is Beautiful, letting the creations and charm of the festival live on and further brighten the streets of downtown Las Vegas. It means that even after the concert is long gone, the legacy and the memories will stay with you” Amy Martinez, senior, said.