98.5 KLUC’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 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.

After you hit the Art Motel and walk the festival grounds, which covers 18 city blocks, you’ll have worked up a bit of an appetite. Sure, there are more than 40 local restaurants slangin’ food at the festival, but you can get those any time in Vegas. What you can’t get anywhere else are the dishes prepared for the festival’s special programs. Back for the second year is 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? Hit The Farm Stand, a similar, vegan-friendly program. Both start in the afternoon and will sell out fast. Another reason to get in early.

The bigger acts won’t hit the stage until later in the evening. Escape the crowd and duck into Fergusons Downtown and vibe out to Las Vegas’ own DJ Crykit. She mans the decks starting at 5 p.m. Except funky and eclectic jams to get you hype for the night.

The music lineup tonight is stacked. Gunna drips too hard all over the Downtown Stage at 6 p.m. Kanye affiliate 070 Shake hits the Huntridge Stage at 6:50. But let’s not front about who we’re here to see tonight: Billie Eilish. She hits the Downtown Stage at 9:20 to make your mama sad and seduce your dad. Stay where you’re at, because Chance the Rapper closes out the night, taking the same stage at 11:25.

Saturday, September 21

One day down, two more to go. Cue up some E-40, because today you’ve got choices. If you’re rested and recovered, make your way to the festival so you can catch the wildest dudes on late-night, Desus & Mero. They hit the Fremont Stage at 3:15 to give you hot takes and hilarious trash talk. You can also catch them again at The Kicker Comedy + More room at 8:30, if you miss them. But odds are the early show will be less crowded.

The laughs keep coming. Right after the Bodega Boys crack you up on the Fremont Stage, Saturday Night Live’s Chris Redd will hit the The Kicker stage at 4:20. He’s been killing it with his musical skits, like “Come Back, Barack” with Chance the Rapper, which he nabbed an Emmy for.

Where Brooklyn at?! At 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.

Don’t dance off all your energy at House of Yes. You’re gonna need some reserves, because the next few hours will have you sprinting from stage to stage.

R&B upstart Pink Sweat$ hits the Bacardi Stage at 7:35. SAINt JHN, who signed with Roc-A-Fella co-founder Kareem “Biggs” Burke and dropped his Ghetto Lenny’s Love Songs LP last month, hits the Huntridge Stage at 8:35. Lil Wayne brings two decades worth of bangers to the Downtown Stage at 9:20. And last but not least, Janelle Monae brings her funky R&B — and funky outfits — to the Bacardi Stage at 10:15. Aight, now get some rest.

Sunday, September 22

You did a lot these last two days. Today, let’s start off easy. Kick it at the Pool Party at Downtown Grand. Take a dip while bands like Shallou, Phantoms, and Cub Sport perform. The party goes on from noon to 4 p.m. RSVP ASAP here.

Didn’t bring a change of clothes? Don’t trip. 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. 

It’s the last day, and you deserve a drink. Duck into the 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. Want to skip the learning part and go straight to drinking? There’s multiple bars around the festival featuring more than 15 exclusive cocktails. Pro tip: If you’ve got ApplePay, a few bars will have a dedicated fast lane so you can beat the crowd.

And, now, we go hard. Rae Sremmurd hits the Downtown Stage at 7:50. Expect “Black Beatles,” “No Flex Zone,” “Come Get Her,” and more club anthems. Yeah, it’s gonna be a party.

Dip to the Fremont Stage at 10:30 to see Sheck Wes, if only so you can go crazy with tens of thousands of people when “Mo Bamba” drops.

Finally, Post Malone sends us home after taking the Downtown Stage at 11:30. “Congratulations,” you partied like a “Rock Star.” Get home safe.