Hubert Keller is among the featured chefs at this year's Life Is Beautiful
In 2013, Life Is Beautiful was far ahead of the curve when it came to food at concert festivals. As competitors across the country struggle to catch up, the festival's managing director Eve Cohen feels our Downtown festival is still unique. "What we're doing is different in that the actual chefs are on site interacting with their fans and their guests," she says. "That is not something you see at these various festivals that are trying to imitate what we've done."
Dining at last year's event was particularly satisfying because of the decision to move the celebrity chefs and restaurants out of a single culinary village on the outskirts of the grounds and scatter them throughout the footprint, closer to the stages. The festival will take a similar approach this year, with three culinary villages open to the public. The largest of these, at the Ambassador Stage, will feature a beer garden, sod and shade. That beer garden will be curated by Wirtz Beverage Nevada's Michael Shetler, and will feature 24 craft beers to accompany the 15 restaurant booths and five food trucks in the surrounding village.
Despite having several notable celebrity chefs—including Hubert Keller, Barry Dakake, Nobu Matsuhisa and Rick Moonen—the list is missing a bit of the star power of previous years, concentrating instead on chefs from casual local favorites. But that doesn't mean more big names won't be present. Rather than feeding the masses, however, many of them will conduct the festival's cooking demos, with three planned for each day. They include Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla, Akira Back, Duff Goldman, Sam Marvin, Carla Pellegrino, Moonen and Keller.
This is only the start of the Life Is Beautiful culinary program rollout—new names and event details are being added daily, and we'll continue to report them as they come. But changes notwithstanding, one thing is clear: Come hungry!