Preparation for this year’s Life is Beautiful festival has been unlike any other, with a new owner, Rolling Stone, and a new communications manager, Kirsten Leeds.
The festival, which hosts upwards of 170,000 people and spans 18 city blocks, sold out of early bird passes within 45 minutes in March. Staff have already begun gearing up for the next year’s headlining weekend before attendees even set foot into Life is Beautiful.
“Our team is really great at prioritizing work-life balance, but when it’s festival season, we are one big team working towards one common goal: Make Life is Beautiful the best festival out there, year after year,” Leeds said. “Plus, next year is our 10-year anniversary, so we have big plans already in the works for that, too!”
Leeds, who joined the festival’s internal team earlier this year, has two passions: music and art. When she saw a job opening for a Communications Manager representing the festival she quickly expressed her interest.
“Like most Las Vegas locals, I’ve been a fan of Life is Beautiful for quite some time,” she said. “I was actually living back in the Midwest, where I grew up, when I saw the opening.”
Her responsibilities range from writing press releases to arranging media interviews and overseeing the festival’s social media coordinator. Leeds says that there is no such thing as a typical day in her line of work.
“There’s definitely lots of pressure associated with getting your ‘dream job,’ from small worries to real-world challenges that come with managing such an esteemed event,” she said.
According to Leeds, many of her staff members have a background in live events, and more specifically in operating festivals. She noted that keeping employees informed involves emails, Slack channels, mobile messaging apps and walkie-talkies.
There are about 10 full-time staff members dedicated to off-season communication, which streamlines new collaboration efforts.
One new effort is The Pizzeria, where Leeds says “pizza-lovers can explore a rotating menu crafted by the finest pizza innovators shaping the industry in our city.” Brand new to the festival this year, Chef Vincent Rotolo, the owner of Good Pie, and Vegas Pizza Fest curated a special selection of pies to be sold in limited quantities.
Leeds’ favorite musicians of this year’s festival are Arctic Monkeys, Jack Harlow, Wet Leg, Oliver Tree, 100 Gecs, and Marc Rebillet.
“More than [the live performances] though, I’m really excited to see how everything unfolds from an internal perspective,” she said. “You really can’t fully understand how many people help create the festival until you see it for yourself in real time.”
Leeds remains optimistic about what lies ahead for Life is Beautiful, believing there is only room to grow as a showcase of Las Vegas culture. In her eyes, the meaning behind the festival has more to do with global connection.
“The festival is proud to be homegrown, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon,” she said. “That being said, we really believe the mission of our festival, to improve the world through positivity and creativity, is a message that would resonate with people across the world.”