It’s still pretty hush-hush and on the down low, but Garth Brooks is coming downtown later this week. Brooks is the country-western, cross-over musician who has sold some 70 million albums in a little more than two decades.
Another sign that downtown is changing: the 4th Annual Halloween Parade will be held on Fremont Street. It will start in an area that even a year ago few would walk in at night, marching west to the Fremont Street Entertainment District.
The energy level in downtown Las Vegas the night before the Life is Beautiful festival Friday was palpable. Then the voltage got cranked up by the sighting of mega-musician Kanye West, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and an entourage wandering through the various festival installations.
Despite a few minor arrests and injuries, city and police officials said Life is Beautiful was successful and that they'd like to see some parts of it become permanent. Over the two-day event, five people were arrested for misdemeanors and three people suffered minor injuries when a roughly 30-foot tower holding streamers tumbled in the wind at the entrance Sunday. Beyond that, however, the festival appeared to be a roaring success.
The pace of life downtown was unusually mellow Saturday afternoon, the first of the two-day Life is Beautiful festival expected draw some 20,000 per day. Police reported no arrests or citations by 5 p.m. Traffic was a snap. Music filled the streets, the aroma of cooked meat and savory dishes filled the air, and people walked breezily down the streets taking in sights and sounds all too rare for the city’s urban core.
Tony Hsieh came off as a modest voice of calm amid former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman’s outspoken ex-mob-lawyer-turned-mayor persona, as both addressed questions about downtown’s rebirth at a luncheon today.