R&B singer Janelle Monáe, indie band Vampire Weekend and electronic producer Zedd performed at the inaugural Life Is Beautiful in 2013, but they might not recognize the Downtown festival when they return for its seventh edition in September.
“They’re coming back to a festival that’s gone from 30,000 [attendees per day] to more than 50,000,” says Craig Nyman, LIB’s head of music and live performances. “It was two days the first year and we probably had 40 acts. Now we’ve grown to a three-day festival with 75-plus artists, an ideas and comedy program and art murals that are Downtown all year. It’s incredible to think about what’s happened in six years, and I think it will be fun to have these artists come back and see that growth.”
Joining Monáe, Vampire Weekend and Zedd among the top names on this year’s lineup—revealed today for the September 20-23 bash—are hip-hop chart-toppers Post Malone, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne, blues-rock duo The Black Keys, 17-year-old pop star Billie Eilish, alt-rock band Portugal. The Man and dance group Rüfüs Du Sol.
Tickets—priced from $315 for a general-admission three-day pass to $665, $1,295 and $2,750 for different tiers of VIP wristbands—go on sale Thursday, April 25 at lifeisbeautiful.com.
“In today’s day and age the accessibility allows people’s tastes to go all over the place, to multiple genres. If you like hip-hop, you might like country, too,” says Nyman, who curates LIB’s entertainment programming and books the lineup in conjunction with San Francisco-based promoter Another Planet. “We really try to balance out the lineup across genres, and see how everything plays with one-another. It’s a puzzle that we put together, with connections from one artist to the next and to the next.”
The festival’s 2019 lineup features both acts on the rise—such as Maryland singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers and Georgia rapper Gunna, whose 2019 debut albums have reached Nos. 2 and 3 on the Billboard 200, respectively—and long-established, like 42-year-old pop-rock band Toto, which achieved renewed notoriety when Weezer covered its 1982 hit song “Africa” last year.
Also on the bill: Louis the Child, Of Monsters and Men, Rae Sremmurd, Walk the Moon, Tash Sultana, Lord Huron, Die Antwoord, Phantogram, Sheck Wes, Carly Rae Jepsen, Gryffin, King Princess, Jauz, Banks, Slushii, Hot Chip, Shoreline Mafia, Whethan, Oliver Heldens, Oliver Tree, Arizona, Chelsea Cutler, Nervo, Conan Gray, Shallou, Lewis Capaldi, Bea Miller, Gallant, Kasbo, Masego, Pink Sweat$, Jonas Blue, Durand Jones & The Indications, Polo & Pan, Saint Jhn, Lost Kings, Cautious Clay, Maxo Kream, Space Jesus, Taylor Bennett, Flora Cash, Madison Beer, 070 Shake, Baynk, Muna, Phantoms, The Aces, Ookay, The Funk Hunters, Anthony Russo, Crooked Colours, Yung Bae, The Regrettes, Droeloe, Bülow, Morgxn, Hermitude, Cub Sport, The Teskey Brothers, ViVii, Ryland James and Zack Gray.
LIB has also announced that Jonathan Van Ness (Queer Eye), Desus & Mero (of Showtime’s eponymous late-night show), political podcast Pod Save America, annual partner Cirque du Soleil and Brooklyn creative collective House of Yes will also participate in this year’s festival.
“At the end of the day we want to book acts that make people have great experiences and leave grinning from ear to ear,” Nyman says. “My favorite part of the festival is people discovering music. Map out the one or two acts you have to see, and the rest of the time let the festival carry you.”