Joe Downtown: Life Is Beautiful festival announces another change in leadership

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons interacts with fans during day one of the Life is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.

More changes are happening in key positions in the redeveloping and rebranding of downtown Las Vegas, this time again with the Life Is Beautiful festival.

Andrew Donner, festival CEO, announced today the appointment of a new chief operating officer for the festival, Josh Ripple, who replaces Ashley Goodhue.

Ripple, according to a news release, had been vice president of entertainment, lifestyle, events, sponsorship and partnerships at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

The Killers @ Life Is Beautiful

The Killers close out Day 2 of Life Is Beautiful Festival on October 27, 2013, in Downtown Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

“Being afforded the opportunity to help build the Life Is Beautiful brand in Las Vegas and beyond is a producer’s dream,” Ripple said. “The team curated a lifestyle entertainment platform last year that received critical acclaim from festival goers, the media and industry insiders, and we are determined to be bigger and better in 2014.”

Donner said Ripple “brings years of insight and experience that will be integral in developing the Life Is Beautiful brand.”

Goodhue remains with the festival as co-founder.

This is the second major change announced in Life Is Beautiful in a month. In mid-January, Donner replaced Rehan Choudry, festival co-founder, as chief executive officer. Donner also has been responsible for overseeing real estate acquisitions for Downtown Project the $350 million private redevelopment agency founded by partners that include Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

Funded in part by the Downtown Project, Life Is Beautiful was a two-day music, learning, art and food festival that played out in late October on 15 blocks of downtown streets. The festival will return to Downtown Las Vegas again this year, on Oct. 24-26.

Attendees and many observers called the inaugural festival a success. Music venues and restrooms were readily accessible, the food was good and not too pricey and the incorporation of art was a twist not typical of most festivals.

No one, however, is saying how much the festival cost, an issue that is important to the event’s continued success. Asked months ago for the price tag, Donner declined to say.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Hsieh’s statement last week that Downtown Project has abandoned “return on community” as one of the precepts of its investment strategy. In reply to a question by the Sun, Hsieh said DTP is “not a charity,” among other things.

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