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Imagine Dragons, Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar to headline Life Is Beautiful festival

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Imagine Dragons, shown here performing at Vinyl in February, will headline one of Life Is Beautiful’s three nights in September.
Photo: Erik Kabik / ErikKabik.com
Stevie Wonder, shown performing in the "Songs in the Key of Life" tour at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014.

Stevie Wonder, shown performing in the "Songs in the Key of Life" tour at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014.

Congratulate yourselves—you’ve booked the upcoming Life Is Beautiful.

Well, sort of. To hear it from organizers, the lineup for the 2015 Downtown festival—moved up to September 25-27, when it’ll start and end an hour later (3 p.m-1 a.m.)—was chosen essentially through crowdsourcing its online fans and Vegas music lovers. As a result, the city’s biggest musicians—Imagine Dragons (who are headlining), Killers’ frontman Brandon Flowers and skyrocketing buzz act Shamir (playing his first-ever local solo gig)—earned a spot on this year’s lineup, as did some of the city’s most popular concert acts, two of a handful of barometers used for booking LIB.

“Certainly [an artist’s] history in the market and how they’ve done in a live setting has been helpful,” Another Planet Entertainment Head of Concert Division Allen Scott says. “We did social media polls. [LIB Head of Music and Live Performances] Craig [Nyman] and a lot of the LIB staff that live in Vegas are constantly talking to people and taking the pulse. And then it’s kind of a feel for what people want to see.”

Using that loose rubric, Nyman and Allen also booked Hozier, whose April Cosmopolitan show quickly sold out, regularly appearing guitar groups Weezer and Against Me!, nightclub-packers Major Lazer, veteran New Wave band Duran Duran and—an LIB first—a trio of reggae acts, which do very well at Vegas box offices.

Shamir

Shamir

Joining Imagine Dragons as headliners are white-hot rapper Kendrick Lamar and Motown legend Stevie Wonder, the latter’s hits a natural for the festival’s uplifting ethos.

Other picked homegrown acts include blistering rock act Mercy Music and LA-residing Parade of Lights. Another Vegas-bred act will be chosen during June 5’s Music Is Beautiful edition of First Friday, which will boast a battle-of-the-bands-type contest. Interested parties must email [email protected] to vie for a performance slot.

Brandon Flowers plays the Bunkhouse.

Brandon Flowers plays the Bunkhouse.

In keeping with what works in Vegas, new partner and EDC producer Insomniac will brand one of LIB’s four stages and devote it to ascendant dance acts like Kygo, Madeon, Jauz and Giraffage, largely eschewing the big Strip exclusives. One exception: Porter Robinson, who will finally deliver his acclaimed live act to Las Vegas.

The announcement to include Insomniac had some LIB fans fearing an aesthetic takeover of the festival and caused a ripple online, much like last year’s booking of Kanye West. But Nyman says little will actually change. “We’ve had DJs on the lineup and haven’t gone over the top,” he says. “We’ve been specific with them, you might say. Knowing this partnership was coming to be, we could book out the other three stages. And they’ll be peppered with a few DJs, too. But if you look up and down the lineup, you’ll see the other three stages are traditional LIB. You’ll see the LIB you know, including the art ... [if] you’re going up and down the streets, you’re going to see that the artists and murals will stay the same.” That includes another local artist exhibition, though it won’t be placed in the former Western Hotel again.

Indie-leaning fans should be lured in by traditional festival fare such as Death Cab for Cutie, Metric, Future Islands, Best Coast and Glass Animals. And hip-hop fans will also delight in the booking of Run the Jewels, Atmosphere, Kid Cudi and cover act BADBADNOTGOOD, who will perform with Ghostface Killah.

Kendrick Lamar hosts and performs at Rehab on Saturday, May 3, 2014, at Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas.

Kendrick Lamar hosts and performs at Rehab on Saturday, May 3, 2014, at Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas.

Other musical performers, as well as dining, art and speaker participants, will be announced through the summer. For ticket info, visit lifeisbeautiful.com.

The lineup (to date):

Stevie Wonder

Imagine Dragons

Kendrick Lamar

Duran Duran

Hozier

Kid Cudi

Weezer

Hozier performs at the Chelsea on Thursday, April 9, 2015, in the Cosmopolitan.

Hozier performs at the Chelsea on Thursday, April 9, 2015, in the Cosmopolitan.

Major Lazer

Death Cab for Cutie

Brandon Flowers

Kygo

Atmosphere

RL Grime

Twenty One Pilots

Porter Robinson (live set)

Thievery Corporation

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Metric

DJ Snake

AWOLNATION

Walk the Moon

Run the Jewels

Rebelution

GRiZ

Future Islands

SOJA

Royal Blood

Madeon

Glass Animals

Lindsey Stirling

Clean Bandit

BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah

Best Coast

Robin Schulz

The Green

TCHAMI

SZA

Against Me!

Yellow Claw

Dan Deacon (live set)

Meg Myers

Cashmere Cat (DJ set)

New Politics

Tommy Trash

Two Gallants

Ryn Weaver

Shamir

What So Not

Big Data

Elle King

JAUZ

Saint Motel

BØRNS

X Ambassadors

Klingande

Halsey

SALVA

Leikeli47

The London Souls

Kaleo

Giraffage

Andra Day

Mercer

Night Terrors of 1927

Mercy Music

Parade of Lights

Peking Duk

Jared & The Mill

Mija

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