Founded in 2002 by Louisville native JK McKnight, Forecastle Festival started as a small local music festival and has since spawned into a nationally recognized 3-day event. Taking place in Louisville, Kentucky’s Waterfront Park overlooking the Ohio River, Forecastle has hosted a slew of major music acts in years past including Jack White, Outkast, Beck, The Black Keys, Bassnectar, My Morning Jacket, The Flaming Lips, The Avett Brothers, and more. This year’s festival will take place July 17-19 and feature performances by Sam Smith, Widespread Panic, Modest Mouse, Cage The Elephant, and the return of hometown heroes My Morning Jacket. Forecastle Festival continues to be one of our favorite events on the festival circuit so we wanted to share a few reasons why we think you should Get On Board and experience it with us.
Green Power Partner
It takes a massive amount of electricity to power a music festival the size of Forecastle, but starting this year the festival will partner with Clean Energy provider Arcadia Power to run on 100 percent pollution-free electricity. Forecastle Festival will make sure that for every kWh of electricity used, a kWh is produced and put on the grid by a pollution-free, renewable source such as wind or solar. “Forecastle Festival was built on the premise of environmental responsibility and for years we’ve worked to be as sustainable as possible through conservation, recycling, composting and the use biodiesel fuel,” says Forecastle Founder, JK McKnight. “The partnership is a huge leap forward, positioning us as one of the most sustainable, ecologically-focused events in the nation.”
Every year an entire section of the festival grounds is dedicated solely to the great Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Kentucky Landing will feature locally based craft, food, and beer vendors, along with the API Poster Show highlighting artists from around the region. 10 talented concert poster artists, 5 local food trucks, and 5 regional brews will be available all weekend.
The band name isn’t half as sick as their guitar shredding. Nashville’s Diarrhea Planet is one act performing at Forecastle Festival that no one should miss. The six-piece will play Sunday at 4:30 on the WFPK Port Stage, an intimate setting which means you can almost guarantee the band will be spilling out into the crowd to share a cold beer and surf above everyone’s head. Trust us, this is one party you don’t want to skip out on.
The Gonzo Bar
Exclusive to Forecastle, The Gonzo Bar is an interactive bar experience commemorating the legacy of Gonzo journalist and Kentucky bourbon aficionado, Hunter S. Thompson. Founder of the Gonzo journalism movement, the Louisville native is best known for his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The Gonzo Bar will offer a variety of bourbons and specialty cocktails inspired by the iconic writer. You never know what wild things you might find inside.
Easily one of the biggest names to emerge out of the recent explosion of trap style electronic dance music, it should come as no surprise that RL Grime is the highest billed DJ/Producer on Forecastle’s 2015 lineup. His most recent LP ‘Void’ brought high praises from the on-line community and has propelled the New York based producer to a world-wide known name. RL Grime will close the Ocean Stage on Sunday evening at 8:00PM and will no doubt draw a hyped energy packed crowd.
Kentucky Bourbon Lodge
The Bourbon will be flowing at Forecastle Festival inside The Bourbon Lodge, especially since 95% of the world’s Bourbon is produced in Kentucky. The lodge is so expansive that some may even consider it a Bourbon festival inside a music festival. Over 10 distillers will be on-site offering up their unique blends of Kentucky Bourbon. The Bourbon Cares Charity Program will pair Forecastle performers like My Morning Jacket, Houndmouth, and Shovels & Rope with Bourbon brands to feature special single-barrel selections, available only in the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge. Weekend memberships can be purchased here for $25 and comes with a long list of amenities including $15 worth of tickets, a Bourbon Garden, mixology station, air-conditioned restrooms, and a BBQ culinary experience. Learn more about the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge on the festival website.
An Americana quartet formed in New Albany, Indiana just across the river from Louisville, KY, Houndmouth are currently one of the hottest groups to emerge from the area. Their enthusiastic live show which features vocals from each member has won the hearts of festival patrons all over the US. Their hard work and recent success has paid off as they’ve been given a prime slot at Forecastle Festival this year, closing the Boom Stage Friday night at 8:30PM. Expect a large and passionate crowd for these hometown musicians as they return to Louisville to play their biggest show yet.
Lets face it, southerners tend to be friendly and courteous, and Forecastle Festival is no exception. Forecastle patrons are a beautiful blend of folks from every background imaginable. They’ve all converged on Louisville for two reasons; to have a good time and listen to great music. Good vibes reign at Waterfront Park when Forecastle Festival is underway, and not just because of the abundance of Bourbon. Ok, maybe the Bourbon does play a small part.
Forecastle Late Night
Just because Louisville’s Waterfront Park has to close every night, doesn’t mean the music has to stop. Friday and Saturday night attendees will spill out into Downtown Louisville’s intimate venues for a special series of Late Night shows that include acts not present on the main festival’s lineup. Friday night performers include SNBRN, Lord Huron, Talib Kweli, and San Fermin while Saturday night features Jamie xx, White Reaper, King Tuff, and The Floozies. Grab tickets here before they sell out.
Breakout English vocalist Sam Smith has quickly risen to mega pop-star status, selling out large venues all over the world after his album ‘In The Lonely Hour’ debuted in 2014. The talented singer racked up countless awards last year, including six Grammy nominations, four of which he won. Back in May, Smith announced he was having vocal cord surgery, an operation that forced him to stay silent for three weeks and cancel six weeks of tour dates. Forecastle Festival will be his first live appearance since recovering from surgery and has the potential to be a very special performance as he makes his triumphant return to the stage.
Sure, music festivals can be an incredible experience, but poor logistical planning by organizers can sometimes create frustrating inconveniences. That’s not the case at Forecastle Festival. I can’t praise AC Entertainment enough for their continued hard work that makes Forecastle run like a well oiled machine. Everything about the festival is convenient. Fans can travel the festival grounds, bouncing from stage to stage, in under a few minutes. Lines are incredibly rare when attempting to use the restroom, grab a bite to eat, or purchase a cold beverage. Attending Forecastle Festival can potentially leave you spoiled as you head to your next festival and again face those daunting lines.
My Morning Jacket
When you think Louisville and popular musical groups that have emerged from the Kentucky city, My Morning Jacket should be the first name that comes to mind. When the band played Forecastle in 2012 to celebrate the festival’s 10th anniversary, over 35,000 people were treated to an incredibly special set that ran into the early hours of Sunday morning. Jim James and his band performed a career spanning set that lasted three hours and featured 22 songs including covers of The Band, Elton John, and George Michaels. Lets also not forget the hundreds of fresh bananas that were launched from the stage and into the screaming crowd. Will we see more bananas this year? Who knows. But one thing is for sure, My Morning Jacket always brings something special when performing in their hometown of Louisville, KY at Forecastle Festival.
Tickets to Forecastle Festival 2015, July 17-19 in Louisville, KY are on-sale now and can be purchased on the festival website here. Keep your eyes peeled to our Facebook page as we’ll be running a last minute ticket giveaway this week.