Las Vegas is a festival town—the city has played host to some of the biggest and best festivals in the country for many years. In addition to the big-name celebrations, Las Vegas also hosted frequent local festivals honoring food, culture and everything in between.
Festival Fun in Vegas
Though last year put a temporary stop to the fun, 2021 will bring back many of the festivals that bring the tourists back in droves, albeit with several safety measures in place. Here are five of the best upcoming festivals.
Life is Beautiful - September 17-19
The (usually) annual celebration takes place in Downtown Las Vegas, bringing an extensive selection of talent in music, art, comedy and culinary art. Since its debut in 2013, Life is Beautiful has brought visitors from around the world. This year, the festival will take mandated precautions while also requiring proof of full vaccination (at least two weeks past your most recent shot) or a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours prior to entry. Touchless wristbands, sanitizer stations and cashless transactions will be available to aid in health and safety efforts. Additional guidelines can be found here. Headlining performers include Green Day and Billie Eilish throughout the three-day festival, with various culinary experiences taking place throughout the celebration. World-renowned chefs and performers will be showcasing their talents alongside local acts and smaller performances in intimate venues. Ferguson Downtown will be hosting a special edition of Market in the Alley, especially for Life is Beautiful, featuring artisan goods from local small businesses. Local vendors like Joy Pop Co. will also be giving festival-goers a taste of the local food scene (think gourmet popsicles to help you beat the heat).
Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) - October 22-24
Las Vegas may be known for glitz and neon, but EDC brings an entirely different experience to Las Vegas every year. The bright LED lights and colorful sets invade the Las Vegas Motor Speedway annually for three nights of electronic dance music, brilliant costumes and colorful rides. This year, the festival will take place with COVID-19 safety precautions similar to other festivals in Las Vegas—negative tests taken within 72 hours of entry (verification is required for each day) or proof of full vaccination (at least two weeks past your most recent shot, digital copies of your vaccination card will be accepted). Additional guidelines can be found here. The festival is also recommending masks for festival-goers (think of the LED masks you’ll be seeing). Headliners include Alesso and Abraxis, along with dozens of other performers across numerous stages. Visitors will also find multiple chapels, a silent disco and a Tokyo-style karaoke bar.
iHeart Radio Music Festival - September 17-18
Just like past celebrations, this year’s iHeart Radio Music Festival will present a truly stunning lineup—major headliners from all genres will be playing the two-day festival, including Nelly, Maroon 5, Florida Georgia Line, Dua Lipa and Journey. While the main festival will take place at T-Mobile Arena each night, the celebration typically includes a daytime stage, and this year is no different. The iHeart Radio Daytime Stage event will take place at AREA15 on September 18, with performances by Olivia Rodrigo, Saweetie and more. iHeart Radio Music Festival will require all ticketholders to provide printed proof of full vaccination (at least two weeks past your most recent shot) or printed proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered no more than 72 hours prior to entry. Additional guidelines can be found here.
Vegas Unstripped - October 16
This local one-night event will take place in Downtown Las Vegas. Designed to promote local culinary masterminds, Vegas Unstripped is almost entirely staffed by volunteers—all chefs, bartenders and servers donate their time and proceeds from ticket sales are donated to local charities. This year’s featured chefs include Bruce Kalman of Soulbelly BBQ (a winner on the Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Beat Bobby Flay”) and James Trees of Esther’s Kitchen, Al Solito Posto and Ada’s Wine Bar (and recent James Beard Award Finalist). All ticket holders must provide proof of full vaccination (at least two weeks past your most recent shot) or a negative test (taken no more than 36 hours prior to entry) to attend.
Vegas Food & Wine Festival - October 6-10
The Vegas Food & Wine Festival showcases culinary talents from both local off-Strip restaurants and a selection of upscale restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip. While the main portion of the festival will take place October 8 and 9 at Tivoli Village, the days leading up to the festival will be filled with upscale dining events with a Celebrity Chef Dinner featuring Chef Todd English on Wednesday, October 6 at Olives and a Celebrity Chef Dinner featuring Chef Ricardo Romo on Thursday, October 7 at Mastro’s Ocean Club.