Ticketed shows grow amid free options in downtown Las Vegas

Spider-man and the buff dude coated in silver bodypaint turn a lot of heads out on Fremont Street, but Derek Stevens’ vertical-stripe ringmaster’s jacket attracts attention too.

Especially when he’s wearing it while introducing hard rockers Avenged Sevenfold to their tattoo and black T-shirt crowd, as he did at last month’s Las Rageous festival in the outdoor Downtown Las Vegas Events Center he built near his D Las Vegas.

“I usually introduce every band that we’ve got,” Stevens said last week. “I like to see what the crowd looks like. I like to see if people are smiling and if they’re happy. For me, that’s a lot of feedback. I like to walk the crowd, even if it’s like a Dropkick Murphys-type thing. Mosh pits and whatnot.”

That old-Vegas personal touch helps explain why ticketed entertainment is expanding in a downtown that created plenty of free distractions: live music on two stages, yard-long margaritas and a carnival midway’s worth of costumed characters.

The two old-school hotel showrooms that always anchored Glitter Gulch — the Plaza and the Golden Nugget — have awakened from their slumbers. But the growth is in festivals and focused events.

“This year we’ll have four festivals and last year we had none,” Stevens says of the Events Center, which opened in late 2014 at Carson Avenue and Third Street.

This weekend, the Events Center is hosting Punk Rock Bowling, which moves over from a vacant lot near the freeway. Saturday brings the Scars and Stripes festival, with 3 Doors Down headlining a bill to benefit veterans causes.

Last weekend also saw the debut of the Crapshoot Comedy Festival in seven clubs and venues in and around Fremont Street. Promoter Paul Chamberlain calls it a strong start, despite Mother Nature sabotaging the first night. Strong winds and an unseasonable chill canceled two shows and wreaked havoc on the kickoff party and outdoor box office in front of the Zappos building.

Even so, “the prototype went into space and came back. It didn’t blow up on the launchpad,” Chamberlain says.

The experiment was risky when it came to testing unproven venues. “The comics really enjoyed the rooftop at Commonwealth,” Chamberlain says, and “the little shining star out of all of it was the Fiesta Room at El Cortez.”

By contrast, the outdoor Beauty Bar patio proved too noisy, and next year’s fest will attempt to “keep it to Fremont Street” instead of straying to other downtown locations.

“There’s some really fun things available as we go east instead of trying to cross the Rubicon,” Chamberlain says, including new bars and potential spaces that “didn’t pencil out for our first year.”

But Memorial Day weekend also hosted Vince Neil in a free Saturday show in front of the Downtown Grand, followed by tribute bands channeling the likes of Journey and Foo Fighters on Sunday. And the Third Street Stage hosted Canadian rockers Theory of a Deadman on Friday.

How can you compete with free?

“I think the combination of the ticketed and the free actually works well together,” says Rikki Tanenbaum, the Golden Nugget executive who oversees marketing. “I think it’s overall a pretty comprehensive entertainment experience.”

Rumors of a Broadway musical for the Nugget’s showroom haven’t been completely quashed by veteran showmen Frankie Moreno and Clint Holmes sharing the room for at least the summer. “The reality is we’re always looking for options, because we have so many repeat guests,” Tanenbaum says.

But whatever is on the stage, “We’re very bullish on keeping our showroom alive,” she adds.

Stevens says he still has to be “tight-lipped” about whether the redevelopment of the Las Vegas Club and surrounding properties will have a formal show venue. But he doesn’t think that anything inside will be hurt by what’s outside. “I’m such a big believer in Fremont Street and how much fun it is,” he says. “I think just the element of having more people around is a positive for all businesses.”

Contact Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288. Follow @Mikeweatherford on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
This boozy milkshake is big enough to share with seven of your best friends
Fiddlestix makes an "8 Man Milkshake" that's packed with alcohol. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five Chris Stapleton songs you need to hear
D. Michael Evola opened E-String to make New York style pizza
Shamrock Macarons at Morels at Palazzo
Zuma serves a sushi roll topped with 24-karat gold
La Cirque covers their quail and foie gras in real gold
Jean-Georges Steakhouse seves chocolate gold bars
3 ways you can eat gold in Las Vegas
Artist Kathleen Nathan On The Virtues Of Library Galleries
The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s art galleries offers artists a more relaxed vibe for showing their work. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada SPCA Competes In Tournament Of Tails
The NSPCA and its mascot cat, Prince, are competing in an online voting challenge for a $5,000 grand prize.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Eureka's cocktail comes with a "buzz button" that will shock your taste buds
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed Deadline reports that New Line has purchased Chase and Lawrence Konner’s screenplay for their “Sopranos” prequel film. The working title for the prequel is “The Many Saints of Newark.” Chase created the HBO series, which ran for six seasons, and Konner served as a writer. “The Many Saints of Newark” is set during the 1960s riots in the New Jersey city between the African-American and Italian communities. Multiple characters from the series, albeit younger versions, are expected to star in the film. The Sopranos won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards during its run.
The Big Bounce America is coming to the Las Vegas Valley
The Big Bounce America. (Courtesy Big Bounce America)
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History According to The Hollywood Reporter, 26.5 million watched the Oscars, a 20 percent drop from last year. The 26.5 million viewers would be an all-time low for the Oscars. Overnight returns had the lengthy ABC telecast averaging a 18.9 rating among households between 8 and 11 p.m. ET. Last year, 32.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the ceremony. The previous low for viewership was 32 million viewers in 2008 when Jon Stewart was host. The Shape of Water picked up an award for Best Picture, while Gary Oldman and Frances McDormand won Best Actor and Actress, respectively.
March First Friday theme is “Think”
First Friday art, culture, music and food event takes place on the first Friday of every month in and around the studios and galleries of the Arts District in downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon)
Cirque’s One Night for One Drop gets ready for the big night
Cirque du Soleil’s “One Night for One Drop” performed a dress rehearsal for the annual benefit show. This year’s show at Mandalay Bay is based on the life of singer-songwriter Jewel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Kosher Experience provides kosher foods to Las Vegas families
2018-19 Broadway Las Vegas at The Smith Center
Ten touring productions are on The Smith Center’s 2018-19 Broadway Las Vegas season schedule. (The Smith Center)
Life
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like