Life Is Beautiful: “Go Big or Go Home”

For its first year out of the gate, Life Is Beautiful isn’t demurely setting a toe onstage; it’s blowing the stage up and declaring Downtown an all-out food and music zone. Details of the festival’s culinary experience were recently released, and the eats promise to be just as impressive as the sounds, with participating culinary icons including Bruce and Eric Bromberg, Hubert Keller, Cat Cora, Michael Mina, Tom Colicchio, Aaron Sanchez and other highly regarded chefs. “We’ve been fortunate that the interest in our festival from really well-known chefs has been massive. Their enthusiasm has matched our intention to ‘go big or go home’ with the culinary programming of Life Is Beautiful,” says Jolene Mannina, head of culinary arts for the festival, October 26-27.

But Life Is Beautiful isn’t already forgetting from whence it came. Just as the festival has incorporated bands with roots in Las Vegas—think the Killers, Imagine Dragons, Same Sex Mary and Sabriel—some of the very best names from our local food scene are also poised to participate in a big way. Honey Salt, Due Forni, Chocolate & Spice and Origin India, as well as more than 40 other restaurants, will come together in the heart of the festival for the Culinary Village, an epicurean bazaar that easily one-ups the standard of festival food.

“The Culinary Village is going to house more than 50 chefs, and no one item will exceed $10, allowing attendees to continuously enjoy food all day long,” Mannina says. Similarly, the Alchemy Garden will offer $40 beer, wine and cocktail flights. The former food-truck operator who now runs the popular Saturday Night Truck Stop gathering isn’t about to let Life Is Beautiful be another festival where the performance lineup is exceptional, but everything else is subpar. “Las Vegas has never done anything small,” she says, “so why start now?”

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