What You Need to Know as a Life Is Beautiful First-Timer

Our resident festival veteran helps you chart your course to 15 blocks of music, art and mayhem

Life is BeautifulHi, I’m Geoff Carter. I’ve attended eight Bumbershoots, two Lollapaloozas and one Vegoose, and I’ll be your guide to navigating the inaugural Life Is Beautiful festival. More or less. Like you, I’m an LIB first-timer; I have no idea what conditions on the ground will actually be like.

Walking: I can tell you one important thing straight away, and I learned it from Google Maps. Once the shuttle bus has delivered you at (or near to) the festival entry point at Carson Avenue and Sixth Street, and you’ve walked to the corner of Fremont and Sixth, the Downtown stage is three blocks north (toward U.S. 95), and the Ambassador stage is four blocks to the east (toward the part of Fremont that scares the crap out of you). Those are LIB’s two main stages, and they are located almost a half-mile apart. Google estimates an eight-minute walk between the two, and there’s really no shortcut. Luckily, all the other stages are within two blocks of each other—basically on all four sides of El Cortez. You can cut through the casino if you like, but you’ll need to pass through a security checkpoint to re-enter the festival.

Water: They have it, free of charge. You can get it near both main stages and at the corner of Fremont and Sixth (adjacent to the Culinary Village). You can bring your CamelBaks and Nalgenes, but any and all hard plastic water bottles have to be empty when you bring them through the main gate.

Kids: Bring ’em. There’s at least one designated “Kids Zone,” and pretty much everything the Killers do is suitable for kids 5 and up. (They remember when they were young.) Don’t worry about their safety; there will be enough cops at this thing to stage a coup d’état. Just don’t forget earplugs to protect their kiddie ears so that they can shatter their eardrums with music of their own choosing when they become teens.

Food: It will be everywhere. If vendor costs are too high, the pizzerias of Fremont East—Uncle Joe’s and Radio City—should be open and serving slices at reasonable prices.

Parking: If you’re clever, there may be a few ways to avoid paying $40 for a shuttle from the official festival parking lots. We’ve rounded up your options here.

Bikes: If you want to ride your bike to the festival, do. Bike racks will be provided near the main gate.

Wayfinding: If you get lost, check one of the directional kiosks; there’s one at every corner.

Scheduling: Don’t be a schedule slave. Pick out a few acts a day you must see, and devote the rest of your time to wandering. I can’t tell you how many great bands I discovered at Bumbershoots past, purely by accident. Click here for the festival map and event schedule.

Back to your Life is Beautiful Guide.