x107.5’s Guide to Life is Beautiful 2019

What to do, eat, and see at this year’s festival

September 11, 2019

Courtesy of © Daniel DeSlover

If you’re like us, you’ve been counting down the days to Life is Beautiful since, well, the last one. No shade to Christmas, but it’s our favorite time of year: three full days of music, food, art, and ideas — all in Downtown Las Vegas. It can be a lot to take in, with plenty of action happening off-stage. To help you plan ahead, we’ve put together this itinerary of can’t-miss sights, bites, and sounds.

Friday, September 20

Gates open at 2 p.m. You might think it’s cool to show up fashionably late, but the earlier you get there, the more time you have to hit some of the non-music attractions, like the Ideas series. First up is Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye fame at 2:55 at the Fremont Stage. The always fashionable hairstylist/podcast host/Netflix star will serve up some empowering inspiration with a side of humor and fabulousness.

After your JVN fix, make your way to the Art Motel, which returns after a year off. The festival is pretty tight-lipped about it, though. There’s only been one mysterious Instagram post about it, but if it’s anything like the past years — dozens of artists (and a robot) turning each room into their own canvas in 2015 and Meow Wolf transforming the space into a whimsical wonderland in 2017 — you’ll want to get there before it’s crowded so you have ample time to flex for the ‘Gram.

By now, you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite. For something truly unique, hit The Cookout, a campfire feast featuring different chefs each day. Today, it’s chefs from Good Pie, Main St. Provisions, China Poblano, and BBQ Mexicano cooking up fresh meals on open fire grills. Not a meat eater? Visit The Farm Stand, a vegan-friendly farm-to-table pop-up. Both start in the afternoon and will sell out fast. Another reason to get in early.

Wait, this is a music festival, right? Hit the Downtown Stage at 7:35 to catch dance-rockers Walk the Moon. They’re not just bringing their catchy jams “Shut Up and Dance” and “Anna Sun” with them, they’re also bringing The Blue Man Group. It’s going to be one of those “only at Life is Beautiful” moments that you’ll be talking about years later.

You’ll likely be tired from all that dancing. Take a seat at The Kicker Comedy + More room at 8:45 where Saturday Night Live alum and Portlandia star Fred Armisen dishes out his quirky comedy. 

You might have to leave the comedy stage early, though, because edgy pop princess Billie Eilish hits the Downtown Stage at 9:20. Dark, sweet, and wild all at once, her live show isn’t one to miss. And if you’ve still got some juice left, close out the night with Portugal. The Man at the Bacardi Stage at 11:15.

Saturday, September 21

You went hard yesterday. Today, let’s start off easy. Kick it at the Pool Party at Downtown Grand. Take a dip while English DJ Jonas blue and genre-bending upstart Omar Apollo provide the soundtrack. The party goes on from noon to 4 p.m. RSVP ASAP here.

Didn’t bring a change of clothes? Don’t worry. Make your way to Market in the Alley at Fremont and 11th streets where dozens of vendors will be selling clothes, art, handmade crafts, and other goods. Or, you can dance yourself dry.

Head to the Tiki Kiki Day Lounge, where New York nightclub and creative collective House of Yes hosts a beauty bar, games, and 10-minute “MicroDisco” dance parties. This afternoon, House of Yes will also host the first ever Life is Beautiful Pride Parade. The time is TBA, so stay tuned to the Life is Beautiful app.

Escape the crowd and the long lines. Reserve a seat today for the Omakase Cantina, an exclusive chef’s table dining experience. Tonight, chefs Gary LaMorte and Justin Hall will be serving a multi-course plant forward and spice driven dinner, featuring dishes like Cold Pressed Turmeric Curry, Crispy Pumpkin Samosa, Seabass & Hokaido Scallops. Tickets are $100, with seatings at 5, 6:30, and 8 at a secret location that will be unveiled the day of the dinner.

Now that your stomach is more than full, it’s time to rock out. Icelandic folk-pop titans Of Monsters and Men are back, and they’re taking the Downtown Stage at 7:35. After that, run to the Bacardi Stage where Dashboard Confessional will be “Screaming Infidelities” at 8:55.

Speaking of emo, The Emo Night Tour takes over The Kicker room for a throwback dance party of all your favorite early 2000s angsty teen hits. Maybe Dashboard Confessional frontman Chris Carrabba will make a cameo, too?

To send us home right, The Black Keys bring their heavy blues-rock to the Downtown Stage at 11:20. 

Sunday, September 22

None of us want the party to end, but alas, here we are. The final day. We’ve got to get in as much as we can before it all ends. Shall we begin?

At 3:05, make your way to the Fremont Stage where the hosts of Pod Save America will put on a live rendition of their popular political podcast. Get woke, then get buzzed.

Pop into Cocktail School for a boozy education as local bartenders teach you how to make some of your favorite drinks. Yes, you can drink them after. The schedule is still pending, but in past years, classes have been held in the early afternoon, so keep an eye out. 

At 6:05, comedian Christina P., whose hilarious Mother Inferior special is streaming on Netflix, takes The Kicker Comedy stage. Afterward, catch the tail end of Toto’s set on the Downton Stage. They go on at 6:15, but, really, we only care about their cheesy 80s hit “Africa,” which, thanks to the internet and a Weezer cover, become a viral sensation last year.

Indie darlings Vampire Weekend take the Downtown Stage at 9:25. But if you’re like us, you called in and took Monday off. That means you can catch Phantogram at the Huntridge Stage at 10:40 and maybe even squeeze in Post Malone at the Downtown Stage at 11:30, or get in one last dance sesh with Slushii at midnight at the Fremont Stage.