Rolling Stone is taking a step into the music festival world. The publication recently announced that it purchased a majority stake in Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful festival. The estate of Zappos’ ex-chief executive officer Tony Hsieh, who founded the Vegas festival, will retain a piece of the business and the terms of the deal have not yet been revealed. The publication’s CEO, Gus Wenner, made the purchase in order to curate an events business to complement the editorial side of the company. Wenner reached out to Hsieh in June 2020 and the two worked out a deal before Hsieh died later that year.
The festival will retain the name Life Is Beautiful, but Rolling Stone will look for ways to incorporate the company into the showcase. One example includes naming one of the festival stages after the publication. David Oehm, the new CEO of Life Is Beautiful, will continue to run the festival with his team. “Live events and experiential are so much a part of the future of publishing,” Wenner said in an interview, according to Bloomberg. He hopes to build the business in a way that will allow Rolling Stone to be as relevant to music fans today as it was in the past.
Life Is Beautiful was originally founded in 2013 as a part of Hsieh’s plan to revitalize downtown Las Vegas. The Killers and Kings of Leon headlined the first edition, and since then it’s grown to be a three-day event. The most recent edition of Life Is Beautiful was held in September of 2021.