Rolling Stone has acquired a majority stake in the Las Vegas music festival, ‘Life is Beautiful.’
Sale terms for the deal were not disclosed, but parent company Penske Media says this is part of a broader effort to get into the live event space. Penske Media says the Life is Beautiful main festival will remain in Las Vegas, but Rolling Stone plans to bring the festival to new territories. The company will also work to expand the festival’s digital footprint.
“Live events have to have the ability to tell stories and create a narrative and impact through content just beyond the event itself that happens once a year,” says Rolling Stone CEO Gus Wenner.
“So I think the combination of Rolling Stone, which our scale of over 60 million readers, and our ability as a journalistic outfit, to combine that skillset with an unbelievable live event that attracts 180,000 people a year. That’s new territory and really, really compelling.”
The Life Is Beautiful Festival launched in 2013 with inaugural headlines from Kings of Leon and the Killers. The festival was founded by Tony Hsieh, who hoped the festival would help transform downtown Las Vegas during the weekend music festival. Since its launch, the festival has helped bring in over $350 million in economic and cultural impact for the area of downtown Vegas.
“A lot of festivals can feel same-y, but this one is set in the streets of the city downtown, with this art element and local vendors – you could feel the DNA of it,” says Wenner.
Last year’s festival included Billie Eilish, Green Day, and A$AP Rocky. The headliners for the 2022 festival haven’t been announced yet. The festival is slated to take place from September 16 through September 18. Rolling Stone’s acquisition of Life Is Beautiful comes just a year after P-MRC purchased a 50% stake in South by Southwest. The joint venture between the magazine’s publisher PMC and MRC becomes a long-time partner and shareholder for the Austin-based festival.