ICYMI: Life is Beautiful 2017: Day 1

Photos and highlights from the first day of Downtown's celebration of music, art, ideas and food.

Photo by Jesse J. Sutherland

If you were rounding the corner of Ogden Avenue and Eighth Street around 6:15 p.m., you found yourself in a massive sing-along/dance party in front of the Kalliope art car. Last night’s lineup was curated by Emo Nite—and when Chad & Chris Salty dropped Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” there wasn’t a soul in sight who wasn’t shouting the lyrics and dancing down the street. Even if you’re not a fan of the emo pop rockers, it was a joyous—maybe even beautiful—collective moment to experience. —Mark Adams, A&E editor

A beautiful gay man in Daisy Dukes shorts and iridescent nipple pasties in the portable potty line made a point to compliment me on my hat. During Bonobo’s set, a dude wearing overalls and a “Do Good Things” sign appeared with his own folding chair and instructed me to hold his cup of ice as he filled it with booze and soda. Well played, sir. Lorde was melodramatic and I loved every minute of it. Nostalgia kicked in as I watched Blink-182 with the same bestie I saw them with 20 years ago. Now she was there with her kids. Day one of Life Is Beautiful was just right. —Monica Acuna, contributor

Night one is always a blur, probably because the excitement to take in all the sights always leads to an overzealous attempt to do too much. The music is the time keeper of Life is Beautiful, but it’s the art that never fails to bring the surprises. It’s everywhere, from the murals upon entry to the several pop-up galleries throughout—including Meow Wolf’s bizarre multi-sensory installation as The Art Motel. The art wrapping the motel, and residing in the nearby courtyard by Okuda San Miguel, provides an eccentric new aesthetic, keeping pace with DTLV’s already colorful vibe. —Nicole Cormier, contributor

Art Motel Life Is Beautiful

Photo by Michael Montoya

The first day of Life is Beautiful was filled with color and absolute joy. You’ve never seen Downtown like this; the way the art just popped felt so clean and the sculptures made the scene look alive. There wasn’t a corner left untouched. Every area was filled with people smiling, enjoying the moment. You couldn’t walk down the street and not hear a crowd singing back to a band. When the sun went down, the party didn’t stop. Not only was the art lit up, people wore flashing clothing as though they themselves were masterpieces. —Ashley Glenn, intern

Photo by Jeff Kravitz

It seems the entire universe is at Lorde. Or at least the majority of Life Is Beautiful festival-goers. Even with carefully communicated texts to friends (“We’re next to the stop sign on 6th,” which looks so funny to see a red stop sign jutting out from a sea of turf), it’s hard to find anyone in the dark and in the throngs. But, it doesn’t matter. There’s Lorde in all of her 20-year-old Kiwi glory, flitting across the stage in her black sheer dress, crooning songs from her new album and lamenting about not being old enough to really enjoy Las Vegas. Honestly, all I want to hear is “Royals” because that song is laced with memories of another life. So, when that telltale beat begins, there is a wave of comfort that washes over me, despite being embedded in a swell of people unlike anything I’ve been in before. And then, “we’ll never be royalsssssss” and life is perfectly beautiful. —Diana Edelmn, dining columnist

Dreamcar photos by Jesse J. Sutherland

How do I choose one favorite moment from day one? My teenage self would say it didn’t get better than watching AFI frontman Davey Havok team with three-fourths of No Doubt as Dreamcar, especially considering their set included cover of David Bowie’s “Suffragette City,” an old favorite to jam to on the video game Rock Band. My 12-year-old self will tell you nothing topped dancing to Jamaican icon Sean Paul’s 45 minute hit parade. (She might also be confused by what “Gimme the Light” actually refers to.) Lastly, my 20-something will preach that Chance the Rapper’s gospel rhymes cannot be defeated. Shouting along to lyrics from his breakout drug-infused mixtape Acid Rap, to sweet Dad-isms on Coloring Book was a comprehensive musical education on growing up. In all, my favorite part of day one was being able to revisit parts of my own musical journey. I’m sure 30-something me will remember the day fondly in a few years. —Camille Cannon, contributor