By Gabriela Rodriguez
The local music scene is not a main attraction to Las Vegas. It does not generate a huge revenue or entice visitors come and listen. It is, however, an important staple to locals. Home to multiple genres, thus creating a ring of musicians and music lovers. This ever-growing community has seen a revolving door of bands throughout the years. Bad Moon Booking, a local gig promoter is no stranger to booking these local bands in various venues all over the city. They saw a need for an alternative music festival and decided to give the people what they deserve. That’s when Life is Shit Festival was born.
Established in 2013, Life is Shit went head to head with another popular music operation, Life is Beautiful. Whether LIB knew it or not, each event was held on the same day. Life is Shit was the black sheep of local gigs that night and all the local dark horses preferred it. That’s how its continued for the following years. The same weekend LIB is held downtown, LIS is hosted at Dive Bar down the street, catering the seedy underbelly of the music scene. The very walls of Dive Bar exude rock and roll energy. It’s stale cigarette smoke stained walls and sticky floors are illumined by low lights. The small stage is the other part of the bar that is heavily lit, calling all attendees to naturally face in that direction.
The giant Pabst Blue Ribbon inflatable is positioned right in front of the venue, making it hard to miss. Crowds of people could be seen going in and out the bar, some visiting their cars to sneak some beers or smoke weed. After throwing back a couple of cheap brews and liquor people tend to settle into the spirit and that’s when the fun starts. This essence multiplies on the nights of Life is Shit. With so much to hear, see and drink the typical rowdy energy is on high. Sweaty groups of men and women crowd the stage, some participating in the mosh pits while others are just trying to avoid getting hit. Accompanied by the large crowd of people who don’t see life through rose colored glasses but rather accept the world what it is; shit.
Rockers weren’t so lucky to attend LIS this year due to Covid-19 snuffing out all large gatherings. Traditionally the festival doubles as a charity event for Girls Rock Vegas!, which is an all-girls music summer camp for kids ages 9-17. Donations in the form of raffle tickets, an optional entry fee and other incentives are collected throughout the night. Bad Moon Booking took on the challenge and decided to host a virtual event in its place. Thus came, Shit-A-Thon, the 24-hour virtual fest that viewers could tune into via electronic device. This consisted of over 100 bands, poets, interviews and more. Most were prerecorded but there was a live host the day of streaming. In a Las Vegas Weekly piece, James Adams, one of the co-creators mentions how he and his partner Tsvetelina Stefanova were worried they wouldn’t have enough content for the live stream. However, the turnout was the opposite as they predicted. Artists began sending in their video contributions for the festival long before the event date. These not only consisted of local artists but musicians from around the world participated as well. Virtual events seldom stand out in comparison to live events that we all once enjoyed. However, Life is Shit was able to take a shitty situation and make something fun and entertaining. All the while still finding a way to give back to the community and continue their charitable aspect.