On Friday, October 25, Life is Beautiful Festival hosted its official kick-off party, Grills & Guitars. The party featured a culinary feast prepared by 16 celebrity chefs, including Bruce Bromberg, Aarón Sánchez, Scott Conant, Cat Cora, Rick Moonen, Kim Canteenwalla, Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken, David Myers, Jet Tila, Clayton Arakawa with musical performances by Dawes and Todd Rundgren.
The first day of the festival, Saturday, October 26, 2013, attracted tens of thousands of people to Downtown Las Vegas to explore the 15-block music, food, art and learning event consisting of five music stages, a culinary village, an alchemy garden, an eclectic street art program curated by Charlotte Dutoit, a learning program with a range of notable speakers, and much more.
Highlights of the festival day 1 included:
- Kanye West toured the footprint of the festival with co-founder Rehan Choudhry & Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh on the eve of the opening
- At Grills & Guitars, Nancy Silverton presented Jonathan Waxman with the Lifetime Achievement Award surrounded by Aarón Sánchez, Bruce Bromberg, Michael Symon and the festival’s co-founder, Rehan Choudhry
- Hometown favorites Imagine Dragons played their biggest show in Vegas to date, and spoke about their excitement of being part of the transformation of Downtown Las Vegas. The show ended with a surprise appearance from the cast of Mystère by Cirque du Soleil
- Childish Gambino performed his own rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”
- Capital Cities covered a Bee Gee’s song and two different versions of their hit “Safe and Sound”
- Beck performed Michael Jackson’s hit song “Billie Jean”
- Aarón Sánchez packed the room with energetic fans during his “Chefs on Stage” cooking demonstration
- Ben McKee of Imagine Dragons joined Jet Tila during his cooking demonstration and Youngblood Hawke cooked with Cat Cora
- Speakers including Tony Horton and the creators and cast of MTV’s “The Buried Life” inspired attendees when sharing their stories about following their passions
- The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil surprised guests with a pop-up performance on Fremont Street
- Headliner Kings of Leon closed out the festival’s first night with an inspiring performance featuring a three-song encore
The Life is Beautiful Festival ended its inaugural weekend on Sunday, October 27 with an action-packed day featuring top musicians, chefs, artists and speakers. The festival culminated with a highly anticipated performance by Las Vegas natives The Killers.
Life is Beautiful Festival made history with its unprecedented 15-block footprint, and highly curated lineup of talented music, food, art and learning.
Below is a list of highlights from the day:
Highlights of the festival so far include:
- Haim packed the Huntridge Stage at the band’s first Las Vegas show.
- Jurassic 5 arrived in a motorcycle-drawn carriage.
- Janelle Monáe covered The Jackson 5’s “I Want you Back.”
- Vampire Weekend made a stop at Atomic, the oldest bar in Las Vegas, before their set which began with “Sunday Morning,” as a tribute to rock legend Lou Reed.
- Empire of the Sun was seen smashing a guitar on stage, also in homage of Lou Reed.
- Festival attendees lined up to hear a highly inspirational speech by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh
“Chefs on Stage” demonstrations featured chef/ musician collaborations, such as:
- Chef Bruce Bromberg with Vernon Reid of Living Colour
- Chef Scott Conant with singer ZZ Ward
Celebrity sightings included:
- Pasquale Rotella and Holly Madison
- Pauly Shore
- Christopher Mintz-Plasse
- Mayor Carolyn Goodman
Through out the festival grounds buildings were decorated with murals including those by Zio Ziegler who is known for his paintings and murals, many of which can been seen in the Mission District of San Francisco and around the world in places like Tokyo, Los Angeles, London, Italy, and other cities.