A city’s downtown is many things. A place for business. The headquarters of government affairs. A gathering spot.
It is this last thing which concerns us today because we are in Las Vegas, a city unlike any other, with a downtown unlike any other.
Our downtown happens to be the perfect place for a music festival. Perfect in the sense that the organizers of the Life is Beautiful festival, which will bring an anticipated 20,000 to 30,000 people a day into downtown Oct. 26-27, chose it over, say, Sam Boyd Stadium.
But downtown may not be quite as perfect when you consider most of it will be closed to vehicles. Which means there won’t be anywhere to park.
Organizers have offered shuttle bus rides, at $40 for a weekend ticket, with parking at the World Market Center. Or a $40 shuttle ticket from Bally’s, Caesar’s Palace or Planet Hollywood will also be good for the whole weekend.
Think of a $40 parking spot as the $8 movie popcorn of the music festival scene.
Ashley Goodhue, the festival’s chief operating officer, said organizers are encouraging attendees to use the official parking area because it’s the safest one.
Given that tickets to the festival itself run $95 for one day or $159 for the weekend, it’s probably not a stretch to say a few festival-goers will try to find cheaper, or free, parking elsewhere.
There aren’t a whole lot of options.
The city of Las Vegas will be closing many of the roads surrounding the festival at various times next week to prepare. Area residents have been told to contact the festival organizers if they need access to their homes during the shutdown.
In addition to the road closures, some of the casino parking garages will be behind the barricades, which generally run east from Las Vegas Boulevard to 10th Street and north and south between U.S. Highway 95 and Carson Avenue near Las Vegas Boulevard and from Carson to Ogden Avenue further east. There is also very little on-street parking on the roads that will remain open.
Goodhue said they have alerted the casinos outside the blocked off areas that they’ll likely have festival attendees parking there.
In addition, the city of Las Vegas’ parking garage, across from City Hall on Main Street, might be a good option. It costs $3 a day, though it is a few blocks from the festival.
The valley’s bus system will be operating, too. That might be a good alternative, for locals and tourists.
Amber Stidham, a spokeswoman for the Regional Transportation Commission, said there will be minimal detours along the routes into downtown. But otherwise, the buses will operate normally.
She suggested that local festival-goers could use the system’s Park & Ride locations. The RTC operates a dozen such locations around town, where drivers can park their car, ride the bus downtown, and then ride the bus back to their car later on. That only costs $2 each way or $5 for a 24-hour pass.
The bus routes along The Strip will also be available for tourists. Rides on those buses, which run 24 hours a day and stop at virtually every resort, run from $6 for a 2-hour pass to $20 for a 3-day pass.
For more information, visit www.rtcsnv.com.
For more on the festival or to order tickets or shuttle passes, visit www.lifeisbeautifulfestival.com.
Contact reporter Richard Lake at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0307. You can find him on Twitter at @richardlake.