Thousands of eager music fans made their way to Downtown Las Vegas on Sept. 25 for the first day of the three-day Life is Beautiful music festival.
This year's festival features headliners such as Twenty One Pilots, Thievery Corporation, Hozier, Stevie Wonder, Meg Meyers, Soja, Chance the Rapper, Duran Duran, Snoop Dogg, Imagine Dragons, Brandon Flowers, Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, and Kendrick Lamar.There are 80 artists total performing this year on four stages.
Twenty One Pilots was definitely a crowd favorite on the first day of the festival, which covers more than a dozen city blocks.
— Almost Awake (@AlmostAwakeLV) September 26, 2015
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, who is known for getting their fans involved, did just that. Fan Erin O'Hara was brought on stage to dance with Alex Ebert.
— Chase Stevens (@CSStevensphoto) September 26, 2015
Hozier scored major points when he signed a kid's forehead.
— Mix 94.1 (@Mix941) September 26, 2015
Things were really jumping over at the Troubador stage, which is the new stage this year. The Troubador stage is the result of a new partnership this year between Insomniac, which produces the popular Electric Daisy Carnival, and Life is Beautiful.
Legendary soul singer Stevie Wonder closed out the evening after performing several of his Grammy Award-winning hits.
— Life is Beautiful (@lifeisbeautiful) September 26, 2015
The festival isn't just about music though. The Learning Series features a variety of speakers such as Bill Nye "The Science Guy."
— Bill Nye (@BillNye) September 26, 2015
Other speakers on the first day of the festival included Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Dan Price, Rich Roll and Caitlin Crosby. Upcoming speakers include Lane Wood, IN-Q, Coach Carter and Rosario Dawson.
And then there is the art.
There are several installations scattered throughout the festival grounds and, new this year, the Art Motel.
— Pasquale Rotella (@PasqualeRotella) September 26, 2015
The Art Motel consists of a series of rooms featuring different artist in each room and several colorful displays in the courtyard.
— LasVegasLoopy (@lasvegasloopy) September 26, 2015
Last but not least is the food.
Instead of having all of the food vendors in one area this year, they are in groups near each of the four stages. Pop-up culinary demonstrations take place in the VIP area near the Downtown Stage.
It's not just hot dogs and pizza and beer stands like you would find at most festival. Life is Beautiful features gourmet food from some of the best restaurants in Las Vegas. Some of the participating chefs include well-known names such as Elizabeth Blau, Kim Canteenwalla, Duff Goldman, Hubert Keller, Sam Marvin, Rick Moonen, Carla Pellegrino, Steve Samson, and Adam Sobel. There are also a number of specialty cocktails and more craft beer than you will find at almost any other music festival.
Some of the participating restaurants include Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, Fist of Fusion, Fleur, Honey Salt, Made L.V., MTO Cafe, N9NE Steakhouse, Nacho Daddy, Origin India, RM Seafood, Strictly Vegan Jamaican Cuisine, Truffles & Bacon Cafe, Vegenation and Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant.
The festival was founded in 2013 by Rehan Choudhry, who was formerly the entertainment director of The Cosmopolitan hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip. He says that when he left the Cosmopolitan, he wanted to create something different from other festivals. That's when he came up with the idea of a festival that combined music, arts and learning.
The first year attracted approximately 60,000 attendees. More than 90,000 attended the second year and 120,000 are expected this year.