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Las Vegas Festivals To Plan a Vacation Around

Posted by Maverick Helicopters on Apr 27, 2017 7:51:00 AM

Break out the flower crowns! Festival season in Las Vegas is upon us. From bookworms to punk rockers, the world’s entertainment capital offers festivals for people of all persuasions. Come celebrate whatever you’re into with a city that knows how to celebrate! Be sure to check out these popular festivals in Las Vegas the next time you’re in town.

Helldorado Days

Helldorado Days - Las Vegas Festivals To Plan a Vacation AroundThe granddaddy of all Las Vegas festivals, Helldorado Days has been a buckin’ good time since 1934. The 83-year-old civic event is put on annually by the local Elks Lodge and hosts daily rodeo events, a carnival and a parade. It takes place every 15th of May to coincide with the anniversary of the Las Vegas land auction of 1905, which is recognized as the founding of the city. Helldorado Days has raised more than $4 million for local children’s and veterans’ charities since its inception. This year’s festivities kick off with a parade at 10 a.m. on May 13 through Downtown Las Vegas. Other events include a facial hair competition, mutton bustin’, a golf tournament and the crowning of the Helldorado Queen.

First Friday

What originally started as a modest monthly art walk put on by a handful of art galleries located within an old downtown neighborhood, has exploded into a cultural block party held on the first Friday of every month. The gallery scene has also bloomed into a full-fledged arts district known as 18b, boasting some of the region’s finest galleries, quirky coffee shops and funky bars. The streets are packed with street vendors, performers of all kinds and interactive exhibits perfect for the younger revelers. While there, stop into Velveteen Rabbit, possibly the neighborhood’s hippest watering hole, for a craft cocktail or two.

Reggae in the Desert

Are we feeling irie out there? For 16 years running, Reggae in the Desert has brought the bright sounds of the Caribbean to Las Vegas. With past musical acts such as The Wailers, Fortunate Youth and Tribal Seeds, fans of reggae music will not be disappointed. Throw in the island-style arts and crafts as well as the best jerk chicken around, and you’ve got a festival fit for a dready, mon. Catch Reggae in the Desert this June at the Clark County Amphitheater.

Life Is Beautiful

Life Is Beautiful - Las Vegas Festivals To Plan a Vacation AroundWho says Las Vegas is a cultural wasteland? Life Is Beautiful is more than just a music festival. It’s a celebration of art, food and education. Yes, the musical acts are some of the biggest names in the industry, but the event, first put on in 2013, is so much more. The yearly culinary lineup represents the some of the world’s most celebrated chefs from the city’s hottest restaurants. There’s also a learning component to the festival that has included in the past such names as science guy Bill Nye, Zappos founder Tony Hsieh and Russian punk rockers and social activists Pussy Riot. For three days every September, the heart of Downtown Las Vegas is transformed into a millennial utopia featuring massive art installations on every corner. It’s easily one the most Instagram-able events all year.

Route 91 Harvest

Dust off that old Stetson and polish those boots! Route 91 Harvest’s lineup is always chock-full of pop country stalwarts including Toby Keith, Brad Paisley and Martina McBride. The 2017 iteration includes Eric Church, Jason Aldean and Sam Hunt. Like last year, Route 91 Harvest is slated to take place at Las Vegas Village, a paved lot across the street from Luxor on the south side of the Strip. Festival goers can also enjoy adult beverages from the Budweiser Beer Park and Malibu Rum Beach House. Passes for this fall festival typically sell out well in advance.

Vegas Valley Book Festival

Now in its 16th year, the Vegas Valley Book Festival has connected the Las Vegas community to more than 800 authors and hosted more than 500 events, readings, workshops and book signings. Of course its main goal is to promote literacy, but at its core, the festival is just plain fun. Bookworms of all ages will find something of interest be it a panel discussion with publishers and authors, a poetry reading or a meet and greet with Clifford the Big Red Dog. You can catch the 2017 Vegas Valley Book Festival on October 21.

Downtown Beer Fest

If more than 200 craft beers from more than 60 breweries, local chefs and live music make up the entirety of your alley, then we have a festival for you. The Downtown Brew Festival at the Clark County Amphitheater in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas is a beer lover’s dream. With popularity of local craft breweries at an all-time high, this year’s Downtown Brew Fest, slated for October 21, is expected to be the best yet. The organizers also sell early entry passes that get you in the door an hour before everyone else, which means no lines at the tasting booths. Additionally, designated drivers can grab a special ticket at the door allowing entry to the festival, complimentary water and access to all the entertainment. The weather in late October is typically ideal, making this outdoor festival one not to be missed.

Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival

Punk Rock Bowling - Las Vegas Festivals To Plan a Vacation AroundYour first question may be, “Punk rockers like to bowl?” The answer is, “Oh, hell yeah.” Your second question may be, “Is there a minimum amount of body piercings required to participate?” The answer to that is, “Nope.” The 19th annual outdoor music festival takes place May 26 through 29 and features such luminaries of the genre as Iggy Pop and Bad Religion. A whole host of nightly club shows and daily pool parties are also on the festival docket. The bowling tournament features 250 teams of four bowlers competing over the course of two days. The event will for the first time take place at the Las Vegas Event Center, an outdoor space adjacent to Fremont Street Experience. The atmosphere is sure to be electric.


The University of Las Vegas’ William F. Harrah Hotel College hosts this annual event every April to raise scholarship funds. This year’s UNLVino has come and gone, but it’s such a popular event that we couldn’t leave it off this list. For more than four decades, the university’s wine tasting extravaganza has been on the shortlist of Las Vegas social events. UNLVino has since expanded to three days’ worth of events at various satellite locations with the main tasting taking place at the campus’ Thomas & Mack Center. 2017’s version included a night of sake and tasty pairings at Red Rock Casino as well as a champagne tasting at The Venetian. Tickets traditionally go on sale every January, and they go fast.

Las Vegas may be the self-proclaimed entertainment capital of the world, but it also makes a strong case as a festival mecca. So whatever you’re into, line dancing, moshing, painting or reading, there is a Las Vegas festival for you. Pack your bags and head to Vegas! Not sure what to pack? Download our Ultimate Vegas Packing List 2.0! Next time you’re in town for one of these events, don’t forget to share your festival photos with us on our Facebook page!

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Topics: Las Vegas

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