Life Is Beautiful experiences ‘tipping point,’ CEO says

Energized by record numbers and “tremendous national buzz,” the Life Is Beautiful festival experienced a “tipping point,” according to the event’s CEO.

Justin Weniger said the three-day crowd of 102,000 was part of a “ton of records” set in the third year of the downtown event.

That’s a major jump from the 60,000 who attended the inaugural festival and an increase of 12,000 over last year.

Weniger cited several factors, “from having a legend like Stevie Wonder on what potentially might have been his last tour” to “unparalleled energy” generated by hometown heroes Imagine Dragons to a surprise appearance by The Killers.

Wonder was Friday’s headliner, Imagine Dragons soared on Saturday and Brandon Flowers, booked as a solo act, had jaws dropping when the rest of The Killers joined him.

“That was a major moment, not just for the festival, but you could feel it for the city,” said Weniger, co-owner of Wendoh Media and in his first year as CEO of the festival.

“It was a tipping point,” he said. “People were absolutely losing their minds that The Killers came back. It was an incredible experience.”

“Steve Wonder had his whole family there,” Weniger said. “(Imagine Dragons front man) Dan Reynolds was so emotional onstage, thanking everyone from Beauty Bar and O’Shea’s to the local media,” he said.

Flowers set up his surprise perfectly, Weniger said.

“Brandon came out and said his keyboard wasn’t working. He said, ‘Give me a second.’ “

Then someone came out and swapped out his logo for The Killers and the band went right into “Mr. Brightsides,” the first song the band wrote and proclaimed the “Song of the Decade” by UK radio stations.

Weniger dismissed a rumor that was making the rounds Tuesday that the festival would not be returning to downtown in 2016.

“I’ve had several calls on that and I don’t know here that’s swirling from,” he said. “We’re very fortunate that we have people willing to be involved. Candidly, we’re not looking to move.”

The scene and heard

The Linq is abuzz over a major convention that’s using the code name “Ginseng” but is actually an under-the-radar gathering of Uber employees. Several ballrooms were booked. …

Hearing rumblings that Dayna Roselli, who left KXNT-AM (840) on Friday, may be filling one of the morning anchor seats at ABC affiliate KTNV-TV, Channel 13. She previously was a morning anchor at CBS affiliate KLAS-TV, Channel 8. …

The Who‘s 50th anniversary tour has been rescheduled after Roger Daltrey‘s recent health setback and will include a May 29 show at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Daltrey is recovering from viral meningitis. The tour resumes Feb. 27 in Detroit and includes West Coast stops at the Honda Center in Anaheim on May 22, Staples Center in Los Angeles on May 25 and Valley View Casino Center in San Diego on May 27. For other dates: www.thewho.com. …

Jerry Lewis and entertainment executive H.C. Rowe will be honored today at the Global Gaming Expo’s third annual Casino Entertainment Awards show at Vinyl inside the Hard Rock Hotel. Wayne Newton will present the Casino Entertainment Legend award to Lewis, who will turn 90 in March. Rowe, AEG Live’s executive director of The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, will receive a Casino Entertainment Legend award. Ten awards will be presented. …

Sightings

Among the celebrities at the Life Is Beautiful festival over the weekend: Brody Jenner, actress Vanessa Hudgens of the “High School Musical” franchise, singer songwriter Emily Osment, actress Emmanuelle Chriqui and Devon Aoki, the face of Lancome. … Fast-rising R&B artist and songwriter Alessia Cara, meeting the Blue Man Group after watching their show on Friday. The 19-year-old Canadian performed at Life Is Beautiful … Jillian Rose Reed and Greer Grammer (Kelsey Grammer‘s daughter) of MTV’s comedy series “Awkward,” partying at Rehab (Hard Rock Hotel) on Saturday.

The punch line

“Facebook went down for the second time this week. For 42 long minutes nobody knew if it was anyone’s birthday. When Facebook goes down it makes you realize, ‘Wow, this is what life must have been like in 2003.’ ” — Jimmy Kimmel

— Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. On Twitter: @Norm_Clarke

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