Rolling Stone Magazine has acquired a majority stake in the Life is Beautiful music festival, putting the music publication in charge of the Las Vegas event. The event will continue to be known as Life is Beautiful, with the magazine expected to brand itself heavily in other ways beyond the name.
Life is Beautiful was one of the many festivals to see its 2020 edition cancelled due to COVID. It returned in September 2021 with Billie Eilish, Tame Impala and Green Day headlining the 3-day event. Its 2022 edition is scheduled for September 16-18, but no performers have been announced yet.
According to Bloomberg, Rolling Stone CEO Gus Wenner had been working with Life is Beautiful founder Tony Hsieh on a deal since June 2020. The agreement bringing Rolling Stone on as majority owner had been partially worked out by the time Hsieh died later that year.
“Live events and experiential are so much a part of the future of publishing,” Wenner said in an interview. He says Life is Beautiful’s independent history and location in downtown Las Vegas made it an attractive proposition for the media organization, which is owned by the Penske Corporation. “It doesn’t feel like the same traveling roadshow a lot of festivals can feel like.”
“We’re not partnering here with Live Nation or AEG; That was a very important and appealing part of this deal,” Wenner said. “We have 60 million readers across our various touch points. We create journalism. To add a festival, it’s a really unique and inspired combination.”