Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world and there’s no doubt about it.
On a nightly basis we are spoiled with an infinite plethora of activities to keep us entertained. From the remarkably produced stand-up comedy, magic, acrobatic, and dance shows on the strip, to the localized art exhibitions, foodie festivals, and indie theater productions.
And then 2020 happened.
Most of the cultural events our city is accustomed to have been cancelled, rescheduled, or postponed indefinitely. While stuck at home reminiscing of better times, I was recently reminded of a piece of forgotten Las Vegas history: Vegoose Festival.
The event took place in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and despite its short existence of 3 years, it featured performances from Daft Punk, Rage Against the Machine, Arcade Fire, Muse, Beck, Dave Matthews, Tom Petty, Fiona Apple, and Iggy Pop.
In true Vegas fashion, the festival incorporated celebrity impersonators, cabaret shows, and a wedding chapel in addition to its musical performances.
Vegoose was put on by AC Entertainment and Superfly Productions – the same folks who produce the esteemed Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee – at the time, Bonnaroo was the top grossing festival in North America.
Vegoose debuted in 2005, it grossed $4.6 million and attracted 72,000 attendees in its first year. By its 2006 installment, attendance declined to 36,000 and revenues dropped to $2.2 million its last year.
Due to the low turnout in its last year, event organizers moved on to focus their energy on launching Outside Lands festival in San Francisco – which is still active after 11 years.
In response to their decision to cancel Vegoose, Jonathan Mayers, president of Superfly Presents said “We’re really studying the model out in Vegas as to what makes sense. I think there is a model out there to do other events in Vegas, it’s just different.”
The formula to produce successful music festivals in Vegas was perfected in 2011 when Insomniac Events brought the Electric Daisy Carnival to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and once again 2 years later after our city saw the debut of Life is Beautiful festival.
Let’s take a look back at the iconic music lineups featured at the now defunct Vegoose Festival.
Vegoose’s 2005 lineup included: Dave Matthews & Friends, Widespread Panic, Jack Johnson, Beck, Phil Lesh & Friends, Arcade Fire, The Flaming Lips, The String Cheese Incident, Primus, Spoon, Talib Kweli, Sleater-Kinney, The Decemberists, Atmosphere, Devendra Banhart + more.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Phil Lesh & Trey Anastasio, Widespread Panic, The Killers, The Mars Volta, The Black Crowes, Fiona Apple, The Raconteurs, Ben Folds, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, The Roots, Cat Power, Band of Horses, Built to Spill, Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, G. Love & Special Sauce + more.
The 2007 lineup placed in Consequence of Sounds’ Top 100 Music Festival Lineups of All Time.
Rage Against the Machine, Daft Punk, Iggy & the Stooge, Muse, The Shins, Cypress Hill, Queens of the Stone Age, Public Enemy, Michael Franti, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Thievery Corporation, M.I.A., Mastodon, Ghostface Killah & The Rhythm Roots, Blonde Redhead, Gogol Bordello, Battles, Lupe Fiasco, Atmosphere + Infected Mushroom.
Daft Punk’s last live performance was in December 2007, watch their entire Vegoose set below.