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Plaza Set to Host Life is Beautiful Music Festival, Probably

by Ohio Digital News

A longtime downtown Las Vegas event, the Life is Beautiful music festival, is set to move locations this year.

We’ve confirmed a rumor first shared by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Yes, we’re as surprised to be writing those words as you are to be reading them. The usual procedure is we break the news, the Review-Journal confirms it and reports it without attribution. You don’t really care about any of this, but it’s just so rare the Review-Journal breaks news, we felt it was worth mentioning. We’re just so condescendingly proud of them.

Anyway, Life is Beautiful is likely to stay downtown. That’s a big deal, and just do your best to ignore the word “likely” in that last sentence. It’s awkward.

Yes, that’s Plaza. And, yes, the Eiffel Tower is near the Plaza. Your insolence is noted by our A.I. overlords.

This is the part where we humbly remind the Las Vegas Review-Journal who’s boss, as we were the first to share Life is Beautiful was looking for new digs.

Life is Beautiful has a long and complicated history, so we’re not going to get into it here, as that would involve research and exerting effort, which is definitely not happening.

The festival got its start in 2013, and immediately started hemorrhaging money.

It’s interesting to note that no human being has ever correctly spelled “hemorrhaging” without looking it up.

Life is Beautiful lost about $10 million in its first three years of operation alone. At some point, as less prominent (and less expensive) talent was booked, the festival found its footing and a controlling interest was sold to Rolling Stone in 2022.

At the time, we said, “Details of the acquisition weren’t disclosed, so we’re going to just say the deal probably involved brown M&M’s and a mud shark.” The four people who got that joke believe it is the funniest old-timey pop culture reference in the history of humor.

Now, Rolling Stone owns Life is Beautiful outright, and the company made it clear the existing footprint wasn’t working for them. The search for a new location included the Las Vegas Festival Grounds (at Circus Circus) and the former Alon site (an empty lot across from Wynn Las Vegas).

Plaza prevailed, allowing the festival to stay downtown.

If all goes to plan, that is.

When you see it.

While the contract is signed, there are many questions remaining about whether the festival will actually happen, according to sources close to the deal.

If an event expecting to welcome 30,000 people to the Plaza is going to happen, there’s a lot to be done. The site has to be prepped, permits have to be permitted, and myriad other details have to be hammered out, none of which have been addressed yet.

And that’s for an event that could happen in September.

The event will envelop the entirety of the Plaza, no doubt utilizing its adjoining former bus station, its parking structures, pool deck, restaurants and other spaces.

Plaza’s casino is going to take a hit, of course, as will its bars. Everyone’s casinos and bars take a hit during music festivals (our fellow youths don’t gamble, and don’t drink because liquor can mix poorly with recreational drugs like Ecstasy, or as the kids call it, methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), but presumably the revenue is made up with room bookings.

Plaza upped its music cred when U2 performed out front recently.

On the bright side, Rolling Stone’s parent company, Penske Media Corp., owns 50% of South by Southwest, or as the kids call it, SXSW.

Presumably, Rolling Stone knows what it’s doing, but downtown Las Vegas is a different animal.

Life is Beautiful itself could end up being a different animal as well. The event typically features comedy and food and art. You know, the parts that don’t generate revenue. There’s a chance those elements get dumped.

We trust other non-revenue-generating aspects of the event get axed this time, too. In years past, the festival hired artists to paint murals on buildings throughout downtown. This beautification is awesome, but Rolling Stone isn’t a charity. They’ll give lip service to the festival being all about the community and furthering Tony Hsieh’s legacy, but nobody really believes that hooey.

On the bright side, Plaza already has some sweet murals.

Here’s another mural at Plaza. We used to drone a lot before nearly putting our eye out.

How Rolling Stone expects to put together a line-up so late in the game, we have no idea.

Just because a deal is inked doesn’t mean it’s not written on paper made of cotton candy in a rainstorm. Or something.

It remains to be seen if Life is Beautiful actually happens, but the plan is in place. Plaza deserves props for creating a path for Life is Beautiful to stay downtown.

As we’ve said for months, if Life is Beautiful happened anywhere but downtown Las Vegas, would it even be Life is Beautiful anymore?

It’s a rhetorical question. It wouldn’t. Please try and keep up.

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