How Bad Moon Booking is changing the Las Vegas music scene

 

Tsvetelina Stefanova (Tsvet, for short) has a heap of titles under her belt and is impressive, to say the least. First, she’s a badass musician and has played with a slew of bands. Same Sex Mary is her main project which she started six years ago with her boyfriend, James Howard Adams. Furthermore, she is the entertainment director at The Dillinger, the sponsorship manager for the Dam Short Film Festival in Boulder City,  the director for the Life is Shit Music Festival and the founder of Bad Moon Booking.

Most major cities have thriving music scenes ingrained in their culture, but Las Vegas has been out-of-the-loop since the days of the Rat Pack and Sinatra. Five or six years ago, you couldn’t find many local or independent bands playing in Las Vegas—let alone playing for free. Maybe you could catch a few bands at The Huntridge Theatre or The Sanctuary, but those days are long gone.

As of recent, Las Vegas has cultivated solid musical talent and venues, like The Griffin and The Bunkhouse. For the past year and a half, Bad Moon Booking has organized free shows with a ton of amazing local and touring bands. From years of touring, Tsvet made countless connections throughout the South Western states and found herself frequently setting up bands with gigs in Las Vegas. Booking acts became a passion for her which led to the birth of Bad Moon Booking. This October, Bad Moon Booking is showcasing an exciting mini-series at the Plaza Casino & Hotel’s outdoor venue—equipped  with a beer garden. The shows are during the first, four Saturdays of October. So be sure to mark your calendars.

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Life is Shit Music Festival is another project Tsvet became a part of during the fest’s second year. Founder Jack Johnson created Life is Shit as a direct counter-music festival to contrast with the mainstream, Life is Beautiful Music Festival. According to Johnson, Life is Beautiful “displac[ed] another local-run festival and rubb[ed] a lot of people the wrong way.” To repair that loss, the one-day fest was created for the Las Vegas locals to enjoy for free during Life is Beautiful. “I just wanted Life is Shit to be something inclusive and organically created by locals, for locals…Life is Shit has become a product of not just a few people and a cool bar with a ridiculous festival name, but a community,” Johnson said. The fest consists of local bands with a few astounding established touring acts on the bill.

During our interview, Tsvet talks about what to expect at the festival hosted at The Dive Bar on September 23rd.

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Get Pumped For Life is Beautiful

Life Became Beautiful

Growing up as a child in the 90s to the early 2000s, I never thought that Las Vegas would ever bring a music scene, let alone a music festival. Although, skeptical about Life is Beautiful, after attending the first year, the experience was better than I could have expected. Never have I ever had food at a music festival that donned the name of a reknown chef. Never have I ever had the ease of finding my way around a music festival because it was well organized. While I wanted to be the scrooge of Life is Beautiful, I actually fell in love with it.This year, Life is Beautiful is scheduled a month early, falling on September 25-27.

Tips To Beat Traffic & Parking

If you are a local, here are a few suggestions to beat the traffic and avoid the horrendous parking situation.

1] Take the Shuttle: Life is Beautiful is providing shuttles from various locations around the Valley. For UNLV students, the most convenient pick up place is the Thomas & Mack black lot, where parking is free after 1 p.m. on Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday.

2] Book a Hotel: If you’re feeling lucky, try downloading the app Hotel Tonight for discounted hotel prices the night of the festival.

3] Crash Downtown With Friends: If you have friends that live in the downtown area, see if you could crash at their place. The festival will be a short walk or bike ride away, and with friends the journey to the festival could be just as fun as being there.

4] Uber and Lyft: The epic battle waged by state regulators on Uber and Lyft has finally ceased. The ride sharing companies have been up and running in Las Vegas since Sept. 15. So festival goers can now download those apps, make use of those coupon codes and party without worry.

5] Get dropped off: Plan ahead and ask a friend who is nice enough to drop you off near the music festival. If you’re lucky they’ll be nice enough to pick you up afterwards. Otherwise, Uber and Lyft are your new best friends.

What To Wear

1] Dress to be seen: Festivals aren’t for wallflowers or the timid. Life is Beautiful is as much about celebration as it is a place for music. Fashionistas of all genders and identities should be able express themselves and be accepted there.

2] Protect Your Toes and Soles: Shoes complete the outfit, but walking noon to dawn can leave your feet pounding. Invest in some sole inserts to make shoes more comfy. Also, if you have a problem with people dancing on your toes, go with closed-toe shoes.

3] Pack light, but smart: The last thing anyone wants is a lost phone or wallet. Bring a comfortable, secure bag that will be easy enough to carry all day. Stick to the essentials, whatever that means for you – but make sure to take all of those old receipts out of your bag first.

4] Dealing with the heat: September in Vegas is still dripping with heat. Add dancing, walking, eating and windstorms to the mix and there is no guarantee you will leave the grounds looking the way you walked in. Remember to bring somethings to freshen up halfway through the day. If you decide to wear makeup, bring the essentials needed to touch up. Lipstick, sunscreen, mascara and some moist towelettes will come in handy.

Top Music Festival Advice

1] Stay hydrated: Common sense, but easy to forget. Hydration does not mean three bottles of Dos Equis. Water and something to replenish your electrolytes will do wonders while hoofing it from stage to stage.

2] Enjoy the music: Put away your cell phone for one musical act that you love. We live in a digital age, but watching the performance is much more memorable than watching it through the screen of your cellphones. Okay, okay – well, maybe take at least one good photo.

3] Eats: Prepare to be well-fed with choices from the best restaurants, food trucks and chefs in town. One could go into a food coma just by looking at everything up for grabs. However, food can be an investment. Expect to start spending $10 to $12 per food item. For those on a tight budget, there will be food trucks with friendlier prices.

4] Positive Vibes: Keep your vibe positive and friendly. Remember you’re there to share in an amazing experience with others. Don’t be that person who starts a fight in the middle of the chill atmosphere to show how badass you think you are. Just be cool and people will be cool.


Published for the Rebel Yell @ the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Top 5 Things to see in Downtown Las Vegas

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#1: The Neon Lights

Being a native of Las Vegas, neon lights always meant “home” to me in a far deeper way than most. After trying his hand at running a one-hour photo shop, my father laid to rest his photography skills for a different kind of art–neon bending.  My father trained in the art of neon bending before I was even born. He recently worked on the new Slotzilla sign that went up on the Fremont Experience. Here’s a little more insight to the world of neon art, featuring Federal Heath Sign Company for a Leatherman’s commercial. Keep a look out for my dad, he’s featured towards the end of the video.

 

#2: People Watching

Sometimes an old timer of Las Vegas can get tired of what DTLV has to offer, but you can never get tired of watching the tourists. It’s interesting to observe how wild people can get with Las Vegas having the stigma of being the “city of sin”. To promote this idea even more, movies like, The Hangover have only made the reputation a more acceptable one. Next time you are on the Fremont Experience, grab a drink, pick a spot and watch. There is nothing more fun than watching people lose all inhibition.

#3: Street Performers

From a guitarist shredding it in a man-bikini to breakdancers pulling in a crowd, you can find a cluster of street performers on The Fremont Experience. One of my favorites are the spray paint artists that can make a landscape with scraps of paper and cans of spray paint in under 5 minutes. During my stroll, one of the artists made a custom Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) paintings as a memorable souvenir.

#4: Hustlers in Costumes

Las Vegas has become the Disneyland for adults. Every character imaginable can be found walking down The Strip and The Fremont Experience. While doing my photo project, I got some great candid photos of Spiderman casually talking to Captain America. You can even find Dora the Explorer, Transformers, half-naked women dressed as nuns, etc.

#5: The Flame-throwing Preying Mantis

A new addition to the downtown area is the Container park. A place, where for the first time, families feel safe bringing their kids. The park is equipped with multiple kiddie slides, small restaurants, and a some small shops. My favorite part of the park is the 15-foot tall preying mantis by the entrance. On occasion, the mantis will spew out fire from its antennae.

The Complete DTLV Adventure

Want to see what other outlandish things I saw on my photo adventure? The ladies dressed up as your no-so-average cops were my favorite candid shot. Check out the compete gallery HERE!

Camera Details

Say hello to my new favorite digital camera: the Fujifilm x20. It has the body of a vintage film camera with the technology of a digital camera. All the photos I took used a special night-time setting with no flash. I believe the more authentic you capture the scene, the better.