Life Is Beautiful – A Festival That Lives up to It’s Name
Recap and Photos from M.L.Hobby Photography
When most people think of Las Vegas, they picture “The Strip.” An endless line of resort hotels and casinos with shows ranging from Blue man to Britney and everything in between. The many times I have been to Las Vegas, I only made it off the strip once or twice. One time for the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop (Pawn Stars) and once to hike around Red Rock Canyon. Besides those specific instances, Las Vegas has always been Pools, Clubs and gambling. Oh and a lot of drinking, like, A LOT of drinking. Well that has all changed thanks to the Life Is Beautiful Music and Arts Festival! A three day music an arts menagerie in Downtown Las Vegas. If you’ve never been to Downtown Las Vegas, stop by on your next visit. A charming mix of old wild west casinos and modern day mural masterpieces. When you walk down Fremont you understand the origin of “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” A little older looking, but still creating memories people refuse to talk about.
The people at Another Planet have masterfully put on what I consider to be one of the BEST festivals you can experience. This gathering was so well organized that it flowed seamlessly through the weekend. From the front to the back, yes even the event staff, everyone was on their A game. Shout out to the PR team at Life is Beautiful for making my job comfortable and consistent. You made covering this event an extreme pleasure and I thank you for that.
When I walked through on day 1, I was instantly greeted by Aliens dancing in the streets and fire breathing art. Three-story murals cover the walls of every building on the block, while Meow wolf took over a motel to turn it into, well, Meow wolf. An extremely immersive art installation you have to touch to understand. Most festivals have art for attendees to enjoy but Life Is Beautiful takes it a step further.
The Crime on Canvas Art Show put on a revolutionary display with art for any budget. Artists from all over the country hung their best work and festival folk got to enjoy it. Don’t you just love when one of kind vendors bring their work to music festivals? It makes the gathering truly special. I happened to have a crystal ball on me so had to capture the “Inception” version of Redd Walitzki’s Bloom. Her work is truly spectacular, you should check it out.
Festivals have evolved their food game tremendously and Life Is Beautiful goes a step further. I made sure to eat something different every day to get the full experience. From the Korean Street Dumplings to the Bulgogi waffle fries, everything I ate was five stars. Life Is Beautiful set the bar very high for any festival I capture in the future.
Fully fueled and ready to continue the adventure, I made my way to the Freemont Stage. I had explored the art, ate the food and was ready for some knowledge. Bill Nye was the speaker of the weekend and I could not have been more excited. The former Boeing mechanical engineer is most famous for his kids show, Bill Nye The Science Guy. Having grown up watching Bill, I was excited to catch the live version. He walked out on stage to deafening chants of “Bill” and gave a little rockstar shuffle to fire up the crowd even more. His message was simple, “anyone can teach you something, make sure you’re giving them the chance!!” I think that’s something we can all agree on. I think this was a great way to start the weekend and set the tone for the following days.
Now, I didn’t ONLY come to Life Is Beautiful for the art and food, I came for the music. Amazing food is a bonus for sure, but did you see this year’s line up?! The music is what brings us all together to dance in the desert. Keeping up with tradition, this 5th installment was one of the best line ups of 2017. With a set for anyone and everyone, the diversity of this festival was real. Chance tha Rapper, Lorde, Big Gigantic, De La Soul, Pretty Lights, Cage the Elephant… there was something amazing for music lovers of all genres. My favorite set on Friday had to Big Gigantic. I have seen Dom and Jeremy all over the country at least 15 times. Always high energy, always a memorable show. This set was that and so much more. They came out in classic Big G fashion then went aggressive and I LOVED it!! Lots of bass an a fun change to an already intense show.
Saturday’s line up wasn’t my favorite, so I took the time to explore more. As the country gets more progressive, there is more opportunity for other industries to join the festival fun. At the Life Is Beautiful Music and Arts festival they had a High Times cannabis section. Now unfortunately public consumption in Nevada is not legal, yet. But this was a great way for vendors from all over the industry to showcase their products. One of my favorites was the Magical Butter machine. As a Colorado resident and old school baker, this machine was made for folks like me. Amongst many dab rigs and strain cards, the guys at Magical Butter have a one of kind product. I’m excited to get one myself and change the way I bake my meds.
Muse, Kaskade, Wiz Khalifa, Schoolboy Q and many others graced the 7 stages on Saturday. This made the festival double in size from the previous day. To my surprise, this didn’t diminish the space I had to navigate from one location to the next. Whether or not Saturdays line up was for me, it brought in another 10,000 people so my opinion was not important. The vibe only got better as the streets filled people running from stage to stage to catch “their band.” People watching is one of the best aspects of festival life, so It was an amazing sight to behold.
I woke up on Sunday morning energized and excited for the day’s festivities to begin. As most people do, I opened my Facebook page to see what happened while I slept. The Life is Beautiful page posted that they “…saved the best day for last” and I couldn’t agree more. By this time I had been to every corner of the L.I.B. universe. Sunday was the day for music.
The line up was INSANE!!!! They wanted to keep everyone boogying on day three, as hard as they did on day one. That is an easy accomplishment when you go over the Sunday line up. De La Soul, Pretty Lights, The Gorillaz, Big Wild, Troyboi, ZHU… every act was a headliner. This was to be everyone’s favorite day and wall-to-wall packed with new festival people. I could tell from a weekend worked hard that the support staff was tired. This didn’t stop them from keeping this adventure on the rails and moving fast. Sunday was the day. The Gorillaz had to be one of the most packed stages I have witnessed in my vast years of festival attendance. Pretty Lights went awesomely aggressive and the Lazer Shark gave a light show to end all light shows. It was an amazing day to just bob around and listen to one banger after another.
The performance for me on this momentous weekend was De La Soul. As an old hip-hop head, this was my treat for a weekend ran hard. Last time I saw these pioneers was in 1997, and yes, I know I’m old. They came out hard and instantly got the crowd moving. They then stopped everything to demand our full attention. Not just from the festival goers but from the photographers, PR people, videographer or anyone working at that moment. They reminded us to be present in our lives and don’t just live through our electronic devices. This is a good reminder for all of us to stop and be present in our everyday lives. Then, Kelvin Mercer ran into the crowd and shared a sincere moment with everyone he could. For me it was the moment Life Is Beautiful climaxed. Everything after that was just icing on the cake.
The Life is Beautiful Music and Arts Festival lives up to it’s name. From the moment you enter the gates you are shown just how beautiful life can be. This annual event is what every festival should feel like. The vibe was right from day one to three. I want to thank all of the people who tirelessly put this on for our enjoyment. Your hard work did not go unnoticed, the cleanliness was unmatched and because of this you had the best festival of the year. For me at least. This a do-not-miss for next year. Make sure you plan and get ready for Life Is Beautiful 2018.
In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting that took place on October 1st. I think it’s important we come together to help out our fellow festival goers in their time of need. This is an unacceptable part of our lives and we need to stand together to stay strong. Here is a place you can donate to help the 500+ victims who were attacked while enjoying some music. Lets love each other to push out the violence and anger that sneaks in. Here is a link to Donate
“The people that are trying to make the world worse never take a day off , why should I. Light up the darkness” – Bob Marley
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