Put These Las Vegas Music Festivals and Concerts on Your Fall Calendar ASAP

Las Vegas is gearing up for major music events.

Photo courtesy of Emily Wilson

You don't have to drive down to SoCal to enjoy a good music festival this year. Las Vegas is making up for lost time during the pandemic with a wave of major music events to round out the rest of 2021. Between festivals, galas, and all-new residencies (plus one saying goodbye), all genres are covered. Important note: More and more entertainment venues are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations to enter. So give yourself plenty of time and get jabbed. Not only does it allow you to have fun without a mask, but it's the right thing to do in cutting down on variants and eliminating the pandemic once and for all.

downtown rocks
Downtown Rocks | Photo courtesy of Black Raven Films

Saturday, July 17–Saturday, November 6
Downtown Rocks is a weekend series of free open-air concerts at the Fremont Street Experience, where fans can see national acts surrounded by the lights, neon, and energy of nearby casinos and attractions. And who doesn't love something for free? This year's lineup has been relatively tame compared to recent years (a symptom of emerging from the pandemic), but is rounding out the rest of 2021 with 3 Doors Down & Seether (performing on different stages September 5), Generation Radio, featuring members of Rascal Flatts, Journey, and Chicago (September 25), Barenaked Ladies (October 9), George Thorogood (November 6), and Motley Crue's Vince Neil (November 24, the night before Thanksgiving).
Cost: Free

Saturday, September 4
Off the Strip
After a three-year absence, the Sin City Hearts festival returns to Las Vegas. The event by global promoter Desert Hearts takes place under the stars in the outdoor A-Lot at AREA15 with up-and-coming electronic musicians like Mikey Lion, Lee Renolds, Marbs, and Porky with a few special guests. Doors open at 9 pm. VIP tables with bottle service are available.
Cost: General admission is $20 for ages 21+ and $25 for ages 18-20.

Photo courtesy of Lost in Dreams

Saturday, September 4–Sunday, September 5
Dress to impress and bring your glow sticks. The first-ever Lost in Dreams festival in Las Vegas is presented by Insomniac, the brains behind the upcoming Electric Daisy Carnival. So think of this as a smaller-scale preview of what's to come. Gryffin, Seven Lions, Dabin, and more than 40 other EDM artists perform over two days on three different stages at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. Expect a focus on future bass and dubstep with elaborate effects and immersive art installations. The music gets underway at 5 pm each night.
Cost: Tickets begin at $110.

Thursday, September 9–Sunday, September 12
This truly is a bender with four straight days of blues performed on stages throughout the Westgate resort near the Strip. More than 45 acts (including Buddy Guy, Tab Benoit, and Delbert McClinton in his final U.S. performance before retirement) are taking part, playing 22 sets a day with an emphasis on convenient, intimate spaces. Yet the festival is about more than music. Guests are encouraged to upgrade their experience with hotel room and drink packages.
Cost: Most packages are sold out, but $45 tickets are still available for the Hart Party fundraiser in the International Theater.

Friday, September 17–Saturday, September 18
The Strip
Here's what happens when a music fest goes mainstream. The iHeartRadio Music Festival celebrates your favorite hitmakers with a lineup that ranges from pop and R&B to country and classic rock… almost like you're changing radio channels. The mainstage at the T-Mobile Arena hosts performances by Dua Lipa, Coldplay, Florida Georgia Line, Khalid, Weezer, Journey, Lil Baby, Maroon 5, and others with Ryan Seacrest as the master of ceremonies. In an interesting twist, the Daytime Stage will be at AREA15 this year with younger, rising stars like Olivia Rodrigo, Saweetie, and Addison Rae (plus catered food by Vegas' own Cut and Taste for VIP ticket holders).
Cost: Tickets begin at $81.75.

Photo courtesy of Life is Beautiful

Friday, September 17–Sunday, September 19
The Life is Beautiful festival takes over 18 blocks of Downtown Las Vegas east of the Fremont Street Experience for three straight days. A deep and diverse lineup is headlined by Billie Eilish, Green Day, Tame Impala, and Megan Thee Stallion with performances on multiple stages. Life is Beautiful also has food and drinks (with an emphasis on local and regional vendors), comedy, educational speakers, and a compelling art program with large-scale murals and installations often left behind when the festival is over.
Cost: Tickets, beginning at $330 for a three-day pass, are sold out, but Life is Beautiful has an online waitlist and ticket exchange for verified transactions.

Friday, September 24–Sunday, September 26
An event that started as a small get-together at a Santa Monica bowling alley has grown dramatically over the years and is now a full-blown weekend festival in Las Vegas. The top performers play throughout the day at the Las Vegas Events Center, but the fun continues with after-parties, pool parties, and general, random mischief throughout the Downtown area—and yes, a two-day bowling tournament where colorful outfits are encouraged. The headliners this year include the Circle Jerks, Devo, and the Descendants (replacing NOFX, who dropped out after saying stupid stuff during a pervious version of the event).
Cost: Single-day tickets, beginning at $70, are sold out, so try your luck on the resale market or just hit the after-parties, which make good use of smaller venues like Backstage Bar & Billiards, Fremont Country Club, and Sonic Rodeo.

RiSE Festival
RiSE Festival | Photo courtesy of Brandon Imbriale

Friday, October 1-Saturday, October 2
Depending on how you look at it, the RiSE Festival is about lifting your dreams and positive energy to the heavens—or letting them go up in flames. The event (with a choice of two days) takes place on the Jean Dry Lake Bed in a remote part of the Mojave Desert south of Las Vegas. Guests will eat, drink, and inscribe messages onto their own self-assembled lanterns, which are released into the sky after dark—all while listening to the live music of Meridian, Magic Giant, JP Saxe, DJ Ascension, and Emmit Fenn. The sight of thousands of lanterns drifting overhead is a worthy payoff and don't worry, each one is recovered by event organizers to minimize the environmental impact.
Cost: Tickets begin at $99.

Saturday, October 2
MGM Grand
Everything about Shaq is big—including his charity fundraisers. The MGM Grand Garden Arena is hosting the first-ever edition of The Event to benefit the Shaquille O'Neal Foundation and its mission to help underserved youth. Las Vegas' own Imagine Dragons will join Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson, and Snoop Dogg among the featured performers. The Event starts at 8:45 pm.
Cost: Tickets begin at $125

Reggae Rise Up | Photo courtesy of Jessica Bernstein

Saturday, October 9-Sunday, October 10
Two days of reggae music in a town with legalized weed? Not a bad idea, but keep in mind—you're technically not allowed to consume in public (even at music festivals). Regardless of how you view the matter, Reggae Rise Up still has a potent lineup of acts at the Las Vegas Events Center, headlined by Dirty Heads and Slightly Stoopid. Check out bands on two stages while visiting more than 40 vendors with food, art, and activities to round out the experience.
Cost: Single-day general admission starts at $55.

Thursday, October 14-Sunday, October 31
Park MGM
Lady Gaga's high-profile residency at the Park Theater is one of the things we missed most during the pandemic. She finally returns for nine dates in her stripped down "Jazz & Piano" format. The set list will draw heavily from classic standards and material from "Love For Sale," a new album with longtime collaborator Tony Bennett.
Cost: Tickets begin at $90

Saturday, October 16
The Clark County Government Center Amphitheater hosts the Downtown Brew Festival, where you can sample more than 200 beers from at least 60 different local and regional breweries. The centralized lawn area has a backyard vibe with performances from local bands and food on sale from Eureka, Slater's 50/50, Cousins Maine Lobster, and others. Vegans will prefer the plant-based Mexican food of Tacotarian. But really, you're here to drink. So don't miss out on the largest beer festival of the year in Southern Nevada.
Cost: Tickets begin at $40 (and include unlimited beer samples).

Saturday, October 16
Downtown Arts District
If you want a crash course in the Las Vegas neighborhood dining scene, Vegas UnStripped is a great place to start. Local music acts take the stage while some of Sin City's best chefs serve food and drink samples. The event took a break last year during the pandemic, but is coming back bigger than ever with a few surprises in store. There's usually a friendly competitive spirit among the chefs, so expect some fun, clever dishes to show off their collective talent and ingenuity.
Cost: Early bird tickets begin at $95.

Friday, October 22–Sunday, October 24
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The Electric Daisy Carnival is one of the largest electronic dance music festivals in the United States, drawing more than 140,000 people a night to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. You'll see names like Tiesto, the Chainsmokers, and Kygo among the 200-plus DJs performing on at least eight different stages. But what really makes EDC special is the futuristic environment of neon lights, art cars, carnival rides, and endless imagery that might as well be from another planet. Traffic outside the stadium is notoriously congested, so feel free to book accommodations at Camp EDC, which comes with its own DJ lineup and swimming pool. The festival traditionally takes place in the spring, but was bumped back a few times and is finally happening during a fall weekend for the first time.
Cost: Three-day passes start at $379, but sold out months ago, so either check the resale market or put your name down on the virtual waitlist. Download the Explore DTLV app and earn a chance to win free EDC tickets by drinking Red Bull at participating Downtown Las Vegas venues (through September 30).

Saturday, October 23
The Cosmopolitan
Whiskey and music is a combination destined to work perfectly in Las Vegas. Enter The WhiskeyX, a new one-day festival at the Cosmopolitan's rooftop Boulevard Pool. Which is the true headliner: a hearty selection of rye, bourbon, Scotch, and other forms of whiskey to sample, or the music of Fitz and the Tantrums with St. Paul and the Broken Bones? You decide. Along the way, you'll enjoy food and cocktails from the Cosmopolitan's best bars and restaurants plus a live taping of the Adam Carolla podcast and neon-soaked views of the Las Vegas Strip. The event starts at 7 pm.
Cost: Tickets begin at $75.

Photo courtesy of BASE Hologram

Tuesday, October 26
Can a Whitney Houston concert be any good without Whitney Houston? You'll get the answer with the debut of a new extended residency at Harrah's. "An Evening with Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Concert" has a live band, backup singers, and dancers—all performing alongside a 3D hologram recreation of Whitney Houston that's already toured the world.
Cost: Tickets begin at $49.

Thursday, October 28–Sunday, October 31
MGM Grand
When Phish plays Las Vegas, it's not just another concert. The iconic jam band has a history of coming in for Halloween and taking on the "costume" of covering a classic album in its entirety, such as the Velvet Underground's "Loaded," David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust," or even Disney's "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House." Undoubtedly, expectations are high for this year's Halloween performance, which wraps up a four-show run at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Cost: Tickets begin at $96

Friday, November 5
Your favorite acts from Americas' Got Talent come together at the Luxor Theater to debut a variety show based on the reality tv competition. Hosted by stand-up comic and Season 12 finalist Preacher Lawson, the initial run of America's Got Talent Las Vegas Live will feature a diverse array of performers, headlined by spoken-word poet and Season 15 winner Bradon Leake. You'll also see vocalist Kodi Lee, knife-throwing duo Deadly Games, the mentalism of The Clairvoyants, and others. Shows run 7pm and 9:30-pm Wednesday-Sunday (following five 8pm preview performances October 28-November 4).
Cost: Tickets begin at $49.

Friday, November 5
Resorts World
The new Theatre at Resorts World kicks off a series of A-list residencies with one of the most successful performers in Las Vegas history. Celine Dion officially opens the 5,000-seat venue with a COVID-19 relief benefit followed by 20 more shows scheduled through February 5 (with more to come). The Canadian powerhouse singer helped design the state-of-the-art theater, which also welcomes residencies by Carrie Underwood (beginning December 1), Katy Perry (December 29), and Luke Bryan (February 11).
Cost: Tickets begin at $125.

Friday, November 12–Sunday, November 14
The Strip
Day N Vegas returns for its second-ever edition, bringing together a deep lineup of rap, hip-hop, and R&B stars for three days of outdoor performances at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds (on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara). Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, and Tyler, The Creator are the headliners with supporting acts like Doja Cat, SZA, and Lil Uzi Vert bringing added relevancy to the event. Doors open at noon with sets running well into the night. Prep for Day N Vegas with an official Spotify playlist.
Cost: Single-day general admission begins at $199.95 (and while tickets are sold out, many are still available on a "premium" online portal or on standby via a waitlist).

photo courtesy of Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas

Wednesday, December 1-Wednesday, December 15
Caesars Palace
The longest-running country music residency in Las Vegas is wrapping things up. The combination of Reba McEntire and duo Brooks & Dunn play their final nine performances inside the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Each show begins at 7:30 pm with over 30 hits between the two acts (who often share the stage together). It's no coincidence the dates happen to take place while the National Finals Rodeo is in town.
Cost: Tickets begin at $89.

Photo by Brian Lowe

The Return of Rock n' Roll Residencies

The Strip
Las Vegas is ready to rock again. Sting finally gets to kick off his "My Songs" residency inside the Colosseum at Caesars Palace (delayed multiple times throughout the pandemic) on October 29 with dates through at least June 4. The Colosseum also hosts residencies by Morrissey (August 28-September 5) and the returning Rod Stewart (October 6-23). Adam Lambert takes a break from being the guest vocalist for Queen to headline his own six-date residency at the Venetian Theatre (October 20-30). The same venue hosts shorter runs by Chicago (September 15-18), Styx (September 24-26), and ZZ Top (October 8-16). Sammy Hagar and Friends bring a Cabo Wabo-style party to The Strat with dates beginning October 29. In a weird move, Journey performs a residency at the Theater at Virgin Hotels (December 1-11), followed by a one-off performance with a symphony December 18 at the Caesars Palace Colosseum. The Encore Theater at the Wynn hosts John Fogerty (October 6-16) and Bryan Adams (November 10-20). Meanwhile, KISS will be making the loudest noise. The band brings its "End of the Road" farewell tour to Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood on December 29 with 12 dates scheduled through February.
Cost: Tickets begin at $59 for Sting, $59 for Morrissey, $49 for Rod Stewart, $39.95 for Adam Lambert, $49.95 for Chicago, $45 for Styx, $49.95 for ZZ Top, $100 for Sammy Hagar, $69 for Journey at Virgin Hotels ($99 at Caesars Palace), $69.50 for John Fogerty, $59.50 for Bryan Adams, and $79 for KISS.

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Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than seven years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. He knows the secret to good parking during Life is Beautiful. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.