The Downtown festival scheduled to launch next fall will be a “community-based lifestyle event, with equal parts music, food and art,” its creator, Rehan Choudhry, tells the Weekly.
The former entertainment director for the Cosmopolitan, now head of Vegas-based Aurelian Marketing Group, will partner with Another Planet (one of the promoters behind San Francisco’s Outside Lands and Treasure Island festivals) and Maktub Marketing (the group responsible for running Downtown’s First Friday monthly fest) to produce the new Life Is Beautiful festival.
Life Is Beautiful will run two days at multiple indoor and outdoor spaces, Choudhry says, though the specific dates and venues are still being finalized. “It will be a very large-scale event,” he says, utilizing “venues that we build from scratch and the historic venues that are already Downtown. It will be spread out, but there’s also gotta be a sense of intimacy and energy.”
Choudhry, who says his group is working out ticketing options, predicts Life Is Beautiful will appeal to locals and Vegas visitors with a wide variety of interests. “We wanted a fairly blended lifestyle event, so the more times food blends with music blends with art, the better,” he says. “But at the same time, if you’re a foodie who wants to go to a great food and wine event or a music fan who wants to see great bands, this is your festival.”
On the music side, Choudhry says bookers will consider everyone, from major headliners to rising acts. “It’s tough to guess at specific names, but take a look at what my partners and I have done in the past—what we curated at the Cosmopolitan and what Another Planet has done with Outside Lands and Treasure Island.”
Choudhry also says he expects Las Vegas' own musicians, chefs and artists to play a role in Life Is Beautiful. “We’re absolutely going to make this an opportunity for local bands and chefs and artists to get involved,” he says. “It will be absolutely inclusive.”
As for Neon Reverb, the twice-annual grassroots Downtown festival that has been staging a fall event since 2008 (full disclosure: the Weekly is a Neon Reverb sponsor), Choudhry says he doesn’t view it as a competition. “What those guys have done has been critical in jump-starting the underground music movement in Las Vegas, and in any way we can support them we will,” he says. “We all have one vision in mind—the success of Downtown Las Vegas.”
James Woodbridge, Neon Reverb's co-founder and co-organizer, echoes that sentiment: "That's always been our goal, trying to bring cool stuff to Downtown. Hopefully, people are interested in actual, mutual cooperation, and we're not just gonna be steamrolled over."