The Hollywood Reporter parent company Penske Media and sister brand Rolling Stone have acquired a majority interest in the music, art and ideas festival Life is Beautiful, held annually in Las Vegas, Nev., it was announced Friday.
The festival, founded in 2013, has hosted over 1 million fans and 600-plus artists. For last year’s three-day festival, which featured headliners Billie Eilish, Green Day and Tame Impala, over 170,000 attended, marking one of the highest-grossing festivals in 2021 nationwide.
“Live events are an integral part of Rolling Stone’s future and Life is Beautiful is an incredible platform to realize this vision. Coupled with our significant digital scale and deep journalism, there are infinite possibilities to grow Life is Beautiful in unique and impactful ways,” said Rolling Stone CEO, Gus Wenner.
The festival was founded in 2013 by Tony Hsieh, former CEO of Zappos and visionary entrepreneur, as part of a vision to transform Downtown Las Vegas as a cultural hub. Nine years later, the festival has since contributed over $350 million dollars in economic impact and cultural capital into the city and the surrounding area. Hsieh passed away last year.
“I am grateful to have worked with Tony on this partnership and am proud to have Rolling Stone help carry forward his mission,” said Wenner.
“Tony understood that his ability to change people’s lives was magnified exponentially by his ability to bring smart, motivated, people-focused entrepreneurs together,” said Richard Hsieh, Tony’s father. “The Life Is Beautiful festival is one of the greatest manifestations of Tony’s desire to bring people together.”
Rolling Stone has plans to broaden the festival’s digital footprint and expand it into new territories while continuing to highlight musicians and artists and offer exposure to new cultural experiences. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
David Oehm, CEO of Life is Beautiful, said in a statement, “We are thrilled to realize the potential of Life is Beautiful in partnership with Rolling Stone. As a landmark institution and touchstone of the music industry for over 50 years, the Rolling Stone team will help to deepen our connection to fans of music everywhere, while also championing the cultural initiatives that make Life is Beautiful so much more than a music festival.”
Last month, Penske Media acquired The American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival. Penske Media acquired a stake in South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, last April.
Feb. 6, 8:42 a.m.: Corrected to reflect that PMC acquired a stake in South by Southwest, not the whole festival as stated in an earlier version.