69°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Las Vegas has learned plenty in 5 years of Life is Beautiful

Updated September 18, 2017 - 12:22 pm

Five years of Life is Beautiful have provided many lessons about how to make life a little more bearable for downtown Las Vegas residents when a broad swath of their neighborhood is closed off and brimming with revelers.

Since Life is Beautiful’s 2013 inception, festival organizers have added a shuttle that ferries downtown residents around the 18-block perimeter, a community trailer and a community hotline, outlets for downtown residents’ concerns and questions.

Tweaks over the years have made Life is Beautiful weekend better for locals, but people always will be inconvenienced, Councilman Bob Coffin said.

“We live in an entertainment city, and downtown we’re in Disneyland. There’s no getting around it,” Coffin said. “If you want to live a quiet life, downtown is not a good place to live.”

From Friday through Sunday, downtown Las Vegas will again morph into a melange of music, art, food and comedy. Last year, more than 137,000 people attended the three-day festival, pumping $43 million into the local economy, according to a study by R&R Research.

Homes, churches and businesses are inside the blocked-off festival footprint, roads are closed more than a week in advance, and Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada bus routes are diverted.

Neighborhood issues

Street closures started last week, and by the time the festival starts, closures will sweep across much of downtown from Las Vegas Boulevard to Maryland Parkway. That adds a barrier for residents who live inside the festival’s borders and for people trying to access anything inside the 18-block area that weekend.

The Rev. Courtney Edward Krier of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Ninth Street acknowledges Life is Beautiful weekend has improved from year one, when he said parishioners trying to get to Mass were turned away.

“It has improved, as compared to all of a sudden it’s in our backyard,” Krier said. “The first year was a complete disaster — people couldn’t even get to Mass.”

The second year was another battle; year three still posed parking problems, Krier said.

This year, Krier hopes cards parishioners can carry indicating they’re bound for worship — not trying to slip inside the festival without a wristband — is the solution they have been seeking.

“That’s what we’re looking at now,” Krier said. “We’ll find out what happens.”

Lessons learned

The festival’s community trailer, a new addition at last year’s event, will open Tuesday at Carson Avenue and Sixth Street. Residents and business owners can walk up to talk to a Life is Beautiful representative. The hotline was added a couple of years ago and has received a lot of use every year, festival organizers said.

“The first year, obviously, we learned a lot of lessons. It’s a lot of communication on their (the organizers) end,” the city’s special events administrator, Esther Reincke, said. “Every year it’s gotten better, but it’s an event where you’re closing down downtown, and you have residents. It’s a big undertaking.”

Each year, the city holds a meeting for downtown residents with Life is Beautiful organizers. About 20 people showed up this year, Reincke said. The city also takes complaints to the organizers to “make sure they’re reacting to those complaints and to make sure they’re being heard,” Reincke said.

Noise has created issues in the past, too, another area in which the city pushed for tweaks based on community concerns, Coffin said.

“We’ve had them make adjustments so there’s no early noise, and it conforms to the night noise, too,” Coffin said. “Speaker testing, mic checks, band practice — they’re not doing that early. They were doing it early in the old days.”

The community complaints have dropped, city officials and festival organizers said.

“We’ve learned every year,” Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said. “The planning has been great, and I’m very comfortable. I think this year is going to be better than ever.”

Contact Jamie Munks at jmunks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @JamieMunksRJ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of Las Vegas theater talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST