The art scene in Downtown Vegas is thriving due in part to the annual Life is Beautiful music and arts festival. Now in its third year, this three-day ticketed event takes place over 15 square blocks in the Fremont East Entertainment District and combines cuisine, music, art and an educational series. The festival attracted more than 90,000 people last year with even more expected for 2015.
Brand new for this year is the ART MOTEL at the former Town Lodge motel. Curated by John Doffing, the mind behind the “Painted Rooms” exhibitions at the Hotel des Arts in San Francisco, this vacant motel and courtyard has been transformed into an eclectic pop-up exhibition with work by artists including Begson founder and Vegas resident Craig Holden Feinberg, art rug artisans Soho Design House and dronesmith experts Skyworks Aerial Systems. Throughout the weekend, festival-goers can watch international street artists like D*Face (UK), Ruben Sanchez (Spain) and Sbagliato (Italy) produce murals on a massive scale.
Headlining musicians including Motown legend Stevie Wonder, Duran Duran, Weezer and Compton rapper and hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar will provide the soundtrack to the event from four huge stages. These stages will also be the platform for the Learning Series with live discussions, learning panels and interactive Q&A sessions with over 30 prominent figures in pop culture, science, sports, art, and leadership. Speakers including Coach Ken Carter, Bill Nye The Science Guy and Upworthy.com editor Erica Willams Simon will share their know-how on everything from overcoming defeat and facing adversity to technology and new media.
The festival’s Culinary Village offers an impressive roster of local food vendors and trucks alongside some of the country’s top chefs. Celebrated chefs Steve Samson of Sotto (L.A.), John Tesar of Knife (Dallas) and local culinary duo Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau, whose portfolio of award-winning restaurants include Honey Salt, Made L.V. and more recently Andiron Steak and Sea, will be performing interactive pop-up culinary demos. Meanwhile, a beverage program featuring a host of lauded mixologists will keep your thirst quenched and your cuisine paired with a range of contemporary craft wines, beers and cocktails.
September 25 to 27, tickets from US$115.