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Super Bowl village is Las Vegas legend’s launching pad

Updated February 9, 2024 - 7:42 pm

Guy Laliberté and Cirque du Soleil’s sway over the Strip started with a tent in a parking lot.

More than 30 years after “Nouvelle Expérience” was performed outside the Mirage, Laliberté is again bringing his creations to the asphalt. His Frooog’s Camp House on Hacienda at Luxor is the hospitality destination for NFL VIP guests and visiting media.

Laliberté is adding “ribbit” to the greatest spectacle in sports.

“We have established beautiful relationship with the NFL to provide a camp and social environment,” Laliberté says in a Zoom chat. “We will be sharing our color during the Super Bowl.”

This experience is not open to the public. Instead, consider the temporary community a marketing campaign for something more permanent. The visionary says to embrace the Frooogy Camp concept, which is looking to create a home in Vegas.

“Las Vegas has been an amazing place for me,”Laliberté says. “I want to grow another flower in the desert.”

The producer’s froggy-theme, customized RVs, food trucks and tented experiences are laid out at the Luxor’s surface lot facing the Strip on Hacienda Avenue. The primary venue is a performance space, a giant frog overlooking the entrance. The decor is usually swirling greens and reds.

There is a point to Laliberté’s Frooogy concept, which he has presented at Burning Man and also in a parade on the Strip in October.

The arts visionary, who sold his interest in Cirque in 2015, yearns to return to the Vegas entertainment community. This Frooog Camp, filled with groovy RVs, is the vehicle.

“For me, Las Vegas is still the entertainment capital of the world, and obviously I am looking for a way to come back to it,” Laliberté said. “I have been missing my creative friends, and we have been creating a soup. It’s now time to stir the soup.”

Laliberté is a football fan. His son, Kami, played the sport as a kid. Laliberté is familiar with Super Bowl artistic partnerships, having furnished Cirque artists to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis in 2012. Madonna, CeeLo Green, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. performed that show.

Cirque’s DNA and spirit is reflected in the Frooog Camp community.

Ex-Cirque “Zumanity” performers Nicky and Laetitia Dewhurst, former “Nouvelle Experience” and “Cirque Reinvenete” artist Sally Dewhurst, former banker and Thomas Brunet, and ex-sports marketing exec Stuart Scheinman are partners. Brandon Pereyda of “Zumanity,” and “anti-gravity” artist Alex Schlempp are Frooogy Camp leads.

In the Frooogy spirit, this year’s effort came about organically. Sam Joffray, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Super Bowl Host Committee, had wanted to create something nobody has attempted at a Super Bowl — to create a luxury RV tailgate village.

“We identified a spot for it, and we had an idea for the Super Bowl that I really wanted to happen,” Joffray says. “We had laid out a business model to build this RV park that had a stage and tents and food and beverage. We wanted a high-end experience.”

Joffray was led to a warehouse by a Las Vegas event planner and found Laliberté’s mobile community in storage.

“I saw an RV that was being wrapped with this really cool, Bohemian exterior, and said ‘What is that? What is going on here?’” Joffray says. “They told me it was a private project by the creator of Cirque du Soleil.”

The league official has a deep appreciation for Cirque’s legacy in Las Vegas.

“I love the vision, the creativity, the overhaul cohesive elements of Cirque,” Joffray says. “It takes even a Super Bowl event to another level.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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