REVIEW: Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival 2016


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Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival 2016

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We Own The Nite NYC surely knows how beautiful life really is after we got the chance to spend last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Life Is Beautiful Music & Art Festival 2016.  Not only did this festival exemplify the spirit of downtown Las Vegas, it truly defined the term “beautiful”.  Although it occupies the streets of the Fremont area and downtown, it was as if attendees entered a different world once they walked through the gates.  A world filled with happiness, creativity, love, unity and incredible talent.  At the same time, the Life is Beautiful Festival did a tremendous job utilizing the area as the overlaying theme of the event.  For example, the Western Hotel and Casino sign would illuminate at night with certain letters flickering on and off to create a “We Hot” sign.  On the motel sign by the Ambassador stage, lyrics would be changed daily depending on who was performing that night.  Sunday it read “I belong with you. You belong with me, you’re my sweetheart” in lieu of The Lumineers closing the Ambassador stage for LIB 2016.  Speaking of, their performance on Sunday was one of the most invigorating performances ever witnessed.  Their grace and presence on stage are pure bliss and absolutely enthralling to watch.  Other acts on this stage included Jimmy Eat World, Young The Giant, Atlas Genius, and Jane’s Addiction. 


Festival goers would walk stage to stage and pass installations such as a piñata motel, giant white inflatable rabbits, or a giant metal grasshopper that shoots fire from its antennae in sync with the beat.  A huge beautiful butterfly dispensed shade among laid out and resting festival-goers with its mesh netted wings, and sat vibrantly in the middle of the festival.  The same area featured an overlooking party deck for partygoers to enjoy beautiful views and opportune people watching.  In between stages, Insomniac’s famed art cars were spread around the festival to provide roaming attendees with hip-hop, disco, and electric tunes to continue the party.  The Space Wench, a steampunk pirate ship, sailed its way onto the festival ground to contribute bass and booty to the festival. The Boombox Car made a flashback to the 80s as it glowed pink, blue and green with a party on top and the DJ in the tape deck, disco ball included.  The Kalliope Kart was ALWAYS bumping groovy, energetic and funky tunes.  (Kalliope, by the way, is Greek and translates to ‘having a beautiful voice’).  Partier’s young and old could hop on stage and break it down with their dance moves.  Several hula hoops were provided at the Kart for festival goers to have fun with, so whether it was a seasoned hula hooping vet or someone’s first time, everyone had the opportunity to use one.  Once one had their fair share of hula hooping and circus-style entertainment, they could continue their journey in one of three directions.  Heading to Insomniac’s Troubadour Stage, one could expect a dome dedicated to electronic music and exhilarating vibes.  All weekend artists such as Zhu, Seven Lions, CID, Snakehips and Duke Dumont took the stage to provide insane bass and energizing music, with entrancing visuals projected using the dome’s 590 video tiles and over 200 lighting fixtures.  If a more laid back and chilled out sound was desired, one could head to the Huntridge Stage, where artists including Dirty Heads, Iration, City & Colour, The Wombats and The Kongos filled the air with their musical ingenuity.  This is the smallest of the stages, thus creating a more intimate viewing experience for the crowd.  Attendees could head to the Downtown Stage to catch phenomenal performances by artists such as Third Eye Blind, J. Cole, The Naked and Famous, Mumford & Sons and much more.The energy throughout the crowds at each stage was stimulating and incredibly energized; literally sent chills a countless amount throughout the weekend.  There was an indescribable amount of positivity and beauty exulted in the air, which contributed an essential factor to the breathtaking environment.  If people wanted to cool down and have fun, they could hit up the “Vita Coco Beach” and enjoy complimentary coconut water, a 300-foot waterslide (that’s right, waterslide), hammocks and various games.  Once rehydrated and refreshed, it was time to return to the rest of the festivities, but the question was: Where to next?  


With everything the festival offers, it was difficult at times to decide what to check out and be a part of.  The variety of talent and art featured in the festival is what separates itself from all other festivals.  Aside from the extremely talented musical artists, there was a “Crime on Canvas” fine art gallery and featured artwork from both international and local artists.  There was even a painting included by an eleventh-grade student from the local high school.  The exhibits were available for purchase, so ticket holders could take home art with them or even have it shipped home directly from the festival.  Scattered throughout the streets were wall filled murals and law defining sculptures, one being Mike Ross’ “Big Rig Jig”, which are two 18-wheelers bent and mended together to stand with sheer magnitude for passerby’s to awe at.  On Friday afternoon and into the evening, the streets of the festival were graced with the outstanding Cirque Du Soleil.  All seven Las Vegas resident shows came together to dazzle fans with 30-minute sets of acrobatics and iconic costumes, truly captivating festival-goers and literally stopping people in their tracks.  Festival goers could even transform themselves into a walking piece of art with the Zappos hydro-dipping station located at the transcendent butterfly.  This is a one-of-a-kind festival event that uses hydrodynamics to immerse the skin into a beautiful colorful design.  As if this was not already enough, attendees enjoyed endless laughs at the KINDLAND House each night with a full comedy lineup between 4 and 8 p.m. 


The IDEAS Series is unique to Life is Beautiful and quite possibly one of the most invigorating aspects of the festival.  Speakers for the weekend such as Stacey London, Shepard Fairey and [RuPaul Charles] took the stage to stimulate the minds of festival-goers and share experiences in insight on a variety of subjects.  RuPaul Charles joined the IDEAS series to talk about love and acceptance on Sunday at the Troubadour Stage.  He shared his story of transformation, inspiring audience members to examine themselves and possibly transform their own lives.  His talk encompassed the principles of what Life Is Beautiful Festival stands for: “People coming together to learn, grow and love one another”.


There was a wide variety of food and drink options located throughout the festival grounds.  Local restaurants and food trucks fed the bellies of thousands with lobster rolls, gigantic donuts, chicken masala, salmon club sandwiches, Mexican/Asian Fusion, classic BBQ, a plethora of vegetarian and vegan options and much much more.  Unfortunately, I was not able to try everything, however, what I did eat was flavorful and presented well.  It was above and beyond your typical burgers and fries type of venue food vendor.  Jack Daniels, Efen Vodka, Milagro, and Fernet-Branca all had their own tents providing a casual area for attendees to cool down and enjoy a delicious cocktail or frozen alcoholic beverage while listening to the hottest DJs.  Unlike other festivals we have attended where vendors are limited, Life Is Beautiful made sure to incorporate numerous food and drink stations, so it was never an issue getting a timely drink or bite to eat.


For those who were not able to attend Life Is Beautiful Festival, Pandora was providing a live stream during the entire duration of the festival on its own LIB Festival Radio Station.  Pandora also joined the festival in style with a vibrant and bouncing party deck that overlooked the Downtown Stage.  If you were at the festival and needed a quick charge, BUQUconveniently located free charging stations all throughout the festival without taking people away from the action.  They were also selling their chargers, which are unique and fun in design and come in options such as a pig, a rubber ducky or a pineapple (that has a pineapple scent) to choose from.


It is safe to say WOTN looks forward to attending Life Is Beautiful 2017 and can only imagine what is in store for next year’s ticket holders.  Exemplary performances, mind-blowing artwork, and thought-provoking, mindful speakers all joined forces to create and become a genuinely incredible experience.  There is something unexplainable about this festival and its power to impact its attendees.  Maybe it has to do with the name of the festival, or perhaps it’s the downtown feel-good vibe of the area that creates this feeling within festival-goers, and that feeling causes non-stop smiling, connectivity among everyone and a sense of unity and beautiful vibes forever embedded within the festival.  We Own The Nite NYC would like to thank Life Is Beautiful for this opportunity to experience such beauty and magic, as well as all the lovely individuals we encountered who shared a smile, a hug, a high five or a dance with us.  We could type for ages, however, words cannot describe how fantastic the weekend was and how much of an impression it has left us with.  Until next year, stay beautiful!