In new corporate partnership, Vegas festival remains popular

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Craig AsherNyman leads a brisk walk to a giant peace sign near Container Park. The artwork takes up much of the new territory on the 18-block Life is Beautiful footprint in downtown Las Vegas.

“That’s me, right here,” says Nyman, the festival’s head of music and live programming. “We all want peace and a good time.”

Life is Beautiful is hosting its three-day block party downtown this week, ahead of its opening on Friday. Expect 150,000 fans to inhabit the temporary village. The pulling power of the festival shows that, for at least one weekend, Downtown can rival the multitude of headliners on the Strip.

“It’s a local festival, and this is our ninth in 10 years, we’ve become the biggest multi-genre event in Las Vegas,” Nyman says, referring to LiB’s launch in 2013 (2020 missing for COVD -19). “When you look at the range of entertainment at all levels, you can have over 40 headliners in Las Vegas every night. We have people coming from all over the world, all year round. But for us, every September is a chance for music fans to be part of whatever genre they want.

Zappos to Pitbull. LiB has Gorillaz, Arctic Monkeys and Cage the Elephant. Known primarily for its bedrock, LiB also features several varieties across its seven stages. Experiences include electronic music, R&B, hip-hop, a new Latin theme with Casa Bacardi, and a honky-tonk scene at Western Country Club. (All of LiB’s music, comedy, arts and comedy lineup can be found at lifeisbeautiful.com.)

A music expert with an encyclopedic knowledge of these genres, Nyman has been part of the LiB creative family since its inception. The festival became corporate, to some extent, under the ownership of Rolling Stone. The publication’s parent company, Penske Media Corporation, took over the popular festival in February 2022.

Nyman says both organizations can win in the budding partnership.

“For me, it’s the opportunity to have one of the most famous publications about believing in what we do,” Nyman says. “If you look at the history of the magazine, why it was started, it wanted to make sure that artists had a space and a place to get noticed, long before the internet. If you remember the scene in ‘Almost Famous’ , where they geek out about the possibility of a Rolling Stone cover story.

This scene tapped into the days when Rolling Stone was still a popular company. Now he’s big enough to buy it, and if you’re not sure what Life is Beautiful is supposed to be, take a stroll down Fremont Street. The peace sign will tell you.

Tenacious indeed

An excellent booking vision is in play at The Theater at Virgin Hotels, where Tenacious D performs on December 30 and 31. Excellent combination of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, and NYE in Vegas. AEG presents the executive Bobby Reynolds had an eye for this one. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday at AXS.com.

Packaging of the sax

baritone sax master Eric Tewalt had something of a bumpy ride this month. He’s a regular with Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns on Monday nights at Bootlegger Bistro’s Copa Room. On Saturday, Tewalt played with The Biermeister group kicking off Oktoberfest at Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas. The group supported Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman at the annual event. On Tuesday, he supported Diana Ross at Radio City Music Hall. In only one of those shows did he wear authentic-style lederhosen.

Tewalt also performed at the Hollywood Bowl with Ross a few weeks ago, and is in the horn section for Lady Gaga and Celine Dion. As he says, “I’m all over the place.”

The Garrett–Iglesias Connection

Years ago Brad Garret told me about the days he opened for Julio Iglesias in the early 1990s. Night after night, Garrett would deliver the material that made him a hit on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”

But Garrett’s jokes missed at every stop.

The comedian and owner of Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at the MGM Grand finally expressed his concern to Iglesias. The headliner noted that her audience was mostly Spanish-speaking. Garrett, of course, spoke English.

“So what am I doing here?” Garrett asked. Iglesias replied, “I like to laugh before every show.”

During a recent interview, I passed this information on to Enrique Iglesias, son of Julio, who is headlining Saturday night at the Theater at Resorts World. He laughed at his father’s response. “That’s a great response from showbiz.”

About Garrett…

His club hosts the semi-finals and final of the World Series of Comedy at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. WSOC is a national comedy competition that has played in a dozen cities in North America. Over 500 comics competing in what’s billed as the world’s largest traveling comedy festival. The top six advance to the Main Event semifinals at 6 p.m. The first three are at 8 p.m.

Those who have exited the WSOC include 2012 champion Landry, 2014 champion Spencer James, 2017 champion Jason Cheny, 2018 champion Trixxin the same way Jeff Shaw, DJ Sandhu, Carlos Rodriguez and vince Arrowroot. All played at Garrett’s club.

cool hang alert

An anniversary show for R&B and great jazz Mrs. Monet is 6 p.m. (dinner), 7:30 p.m. (show) Thursday at Gatsby’s inside Gambit Henderson at 21031 W. Sunset Road. This lady can bring it flat, and Gatsby’s is a tried-and-true Cool Hang. A minimum of $30 F&B is required; dress code “enforced”. So get dressed and go. Go to AEGroupLV.com or call 702.292.9404 for more information.

John Katsilometes’ column airs daily in Section A. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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