Well, if you’re into Vegas musicians, it’s a slam dunk. The rest of the downtown festival’s musical roster depends on your tastes — and how often you attend concerts in the area.
The promoters of Life is Beautiful had promised to include locals in its first edition, and the lineup, announced June 3 at a Fremont Country Club event, delivers on that declaration. Internationally known Vegas acts The Killers and Imagine Dragons share a lineup poster with more locally based outfits such as A Crowd of Small Adventures, Crazy Chief, Kid Meets Cougar, HaleAmano, Most Thieves and others, all playing on Oct. 26-27 at various outdoor and indoor venues over a reported 15 blocks in downtown Las Vegas. Despite that diverse slate, you won’t find any metal or punk bands, but there aren’t really any visiting acts from those genres on the lineup, either.
And among those touring acts, you’ll recognize a lot. Like co-headliners Kings of Leon, frequent Vegas performers in the past who nonetheless have been away since 2009. More recently, Sin City has played host to other LiB slot winners, including Beck, Passion Pit, Pretty Lights, Childish Gambino, Purity Ring, Living Colour, Capital Cities, Youngblood Hawke, Danny Brown and Allen Stone. When Empire of the Sun arrives downtown, the Aussie electro/rock act will have already have played its second Electric Daisy Carnival (to be fair, local rock kids who typically shun EDC will finally get to catch the colorful, kick-ass duo).
One the flipside, Las Vegas debuts at LiB include Haim and Cayucas, all acts buzzing on indie/college radio, as are Vegas returnees Poolside, Dawes and Charli XCX*. Colorado electro/jazz/jam group Big Gigantic will also make its Vegas debut at LiB, as will Odd Future emcee Earl Sweatshirt. The fest’s programmers also nabbed a recent reunion act: L.A. hip-hop collective Jurassic 5, which last saw a valley stage at Vegoose 2006. Count those eight acts on this writer’s must-see shortlist.
Speaking of our former large-scale festival, one Twitter user I follow called the resulting lineup a mix of Vegoose and Neon Reverb, downtown’s longtime indie confab, and I think he’s onto something. It boasts the big names and jam/improv inclusions of the former, and the new faces and electro-pop leanings (and local bands, of course) of the latter.
It also boasts a few too many repeat visitors — and too few “gets” that would get fence-sitting locals worked up enough to buy a two-day pass.
That said, logistics make it hard for LiB to meet the Coachella-type expectations I witnessed on my social networks after the lineup announcement. This is a first-time event, at the tail-end of the music festival season, and this is still Las Vegas. While it may draw a meh from fest vets, picky hipsters and the concert comp kids, it might lure the more casual music fan from the ’burbs who sees this as a worthy sampler of alternative rock fare. Which is what LiB probably wants anyway.
Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 7, at 10 a.m. at www.lifeisbeautifulfestival.com. Two-day pass options include: $99.50 (“early-bird”), $119.50 (“advance”), $139.50 (“special”), $159.50 (“regular”) and $349.50 (VIP), with the cheaper offerings in limited supply. Disclosure: CityLife and the Review-Journal, both owned by Stephens Media, are media sponsors of Life is Beautiful.
*This corrects previously posted information about three of the bands.