Las Rageous organizer sees downtown Vegas perfect for festival

“Where would it kick ass the most?”

Kurt Melien quickly answers his own question: downtown.

The president of Live Nation Las Vegas is talking about one of the prime considerations he had when conceptualizing Las Rageous, a two-day hard rock and metal fest debuting this weekend.

He hit upon said location for numerous reasons, but chief among them was that by closing two square blocks around Carson Avenue and Third Street, near the D Las Vegas, he’d be able to create a mini-city of metal, with food trucks and freak-show performers heightening the festival vibe.

Capping ticket sales at 10,000 this year, Melien says that the goal for year one was to create a big event with the potential to grow much bigger.

“We never wanted to feel overwhelmed, and we never have,” he notes. “I think we built exactly the right size this year.”

With close to 20 bands playing on two stages, he sought to create a lineup that “felt edgy yet also really meaty. You want to look at it and say, ‘There’s more than four or five bands that I want to see on this list. I really want to be there for the weekend.’ ”

As Vegas increasingly becomes a destination city for music festivals — Melian notes that 60 percent of the tickets sold have been to out-of-towners — the hard rock and metal market has been underserved, save for the debut of Psycho Vegas (which caters to more underground tastes) at the Hard Rock Hotel last summer.

“I think agents and bands recognized that there seems to be a need for something like this in Vegas,” Melien says.

As such, he’s already thinking of Las Rageous 2018 before a single mosh pit has erupted.

“I think this thing is absolutely going to be back next year,” Melien says. “It’s been a challenge, but I think we’ve got a great blueprint.”

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