First Life is Beautiful Festival rocks downtown - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

First Life is Beautiful Festival rocks downtown

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Thousands attend a concert at the main stage at the first Life Is Beautiful Festival in downtown Las Vegas on Oct. 28, 2013. (© Erik Kabik/ Retna/ Thousands attend a concert at the main stage at the first Life Is Beautiful Festival in downtown Las Vegas on Oct. 28, 2013. (© Erik Kabik/ Retna/

The very first Life is Beautiful Festival weekend is wrapping up in downtown Las Vegas, and despite some challenges, festival organizers called it a big success.

The showcase of audio, visual and culinary arts will leave a lasting impression on the area, according to festival Chief Operating Officer Ashley Goodhue. She said the event wasn't perfect, but around 25,000 people explored the event each day, bringing economic success and awareness to a blossoming downtown.

"We were all aware things would go wrong here and there, but as far as trafficking plan, guest flow and everything, I think we did a good job," Goodhue said. She admitted there were some minor obstacles during the inaugural Life is Beautiful, but chose not to go into specifics.

That was before a large pillar near the front entrance to the festival on Carson and 6th streets was knocked over by strong winds around 5 p.m. Sunday.

Metro police said three people were treated for minor injuries.

Festivalgoers were relocated to Carson and 7th streets and ushered into the festival through a new set of gates within about half an hour.

"You don't expect that. You expect these types of things to be anchored down," said one witness, who noted that staff stayed relatively calm and took care of the situation quickly.

"There was chaos, but I think it was controlled chaos," said another witness who was waiting to enter Life is Beautiful when the pillar fell.

It didn't take long for the dust to settle and the celebration to get back into full swing.

Artist Christopher Jhureea, also known as CJ the Kid, showed off some of his work inside an abandoned motel that was renovated for the festival. The downtown Las Vegas resident said he feels lucky to be a part of the event, which is spreading his brand to a new audience while forever beautifying his neighborhood.

"This will make people want to come back," he said, "We're creating a culture now. It'll be an interesting area."

Jhureea and his fellow artists said most people will remember all the good things Life is Beautiful delivered to downtowners and think the not-so-beautiful things will fade in time.

Some of his downtown neighbors weren't impressed by the downtown takeover. Residents at the Downtowner Motel and Apartments had a hard time getting sleep since the festival backs up to their building. They were also upset that sidewalks prevented them from taking their normal routes to the grocery store.

Heavy traffic from road closures was another source of irritation for folks trying to spend time downtown.

Event organizers say as soon as the final band finishes their set, the cleanup process starts. They said most roads will reopen over the course of Monday, but it could take up to six days for the stages, tents and structures to be completely torn down and cleaned up.

Visit the City of Las Vegas website for the latest information on road closures.

Goodhue says plans for another Life is Beautiful Festival are already in the works.

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