TVD Recommends: Forecastle Festival,
July 17-19, 2015

The first wave of artists for the 2015 Forecastle Festival has been announced and, per usual, it is an eclectic and intriguing bill. Forecastle, now in its thirteenth year, happens each July in Louisville, Kentucky’s Waterfront Park, on the banks of the mighty Ohio River. The park is a sweeping 85-acre greenspace with a decorative tributary running through the center, giving you a chance to cool your heels in the water and relax between sets (ponder that, Coachella). The festival’s four stages are spaced with adequate distance to prevent sound bleed, but close enough to easily get from one to the other quickly. But, really, why should you go?

These days, virtually every town with a stoplight has a festival. Seriously, it’s getting out of hand. What once was the purview of a few select cities is now everybody’s Paloozasquatch. Having attended a fair number of these gatherings, I can testify that Forecastle is different. Produced by AC Entertainment, i.e., the folks who stage Bonnaroo, and Forecastle’s founder JK McKnight, it offers many of the same amenities as its big brother (great artists/terrific food/cool vibe) with one major difference: no camping.

While some prefer the immersive, stay-in-a-tent experience, I’m too partial to real beds and hot showers. Downtown Louisville has plenty of parking adjacent to the park and hotels in all price ranges. You come, you see the acts, and a) go back to your room or b) take in one of the after-hours shows. Either way, no bedroll required.

Along with amazing music and a truly varied food lineup, the festival also is home to The Bourbon Lodge. The Bourbon Lodge is a circus-sized tent wherein every major distiller in Kentucky will be seeking to educate you on their product. If you are a bourbon fan, this is your candy store.

Also on the festival site is a midway gathering the finest poster makers from around the country, selling their wares. Believe me, what money the Bourbon Lodge didn’t get, these folks will. And you will part with it gladly, clutching the tube holding your limited-edition letterpress rarity tightly. We’ve covered the last two Forecastle Festivals and you can check those stories here and here.

You can learn more about Forecastle and purchase tickets, which are on sale now, at their site. If you’ve never been to Louisville, it’s a beautiful city with a Southern bohemian vibe and a vibrant food scene. People are friendly and navigation is easy. In your downtime, you can check out one or more of Louisville’s fine record stores like Better Days (two locations), Guestroom, or Matt Anthony’s Record Shop. Perhaps you would like to tour the Muhammed Ali Center (hometown hero) or get a baseball bat made with your name on it at The Louisville Slugger Museum (note: bat not for use in Bourbon Lodge). Mostly, you’ll be anxious to get back to Waterfront Park and catch the next set.

By the way, Louisville is also the hometown for gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. For the last few years, a 12-foot tall Hunter puppet, operated by a team of volunteers, has wandered the grounds. No word on whether he will return this year, but I’d have a spare cigarette holder ready, just in case.

Sam Smith
My Morning Jacket
Widespread Panic
Modest Mouse
Cage the Elephant
Tallest Man On Earth
Portugal. The Man
RL Grime
First Aid Kit
Shovels & Rope
Big K.R.I.T.
The Word
Cold War Kids
The Gaslight Anthem
Sturgill Simpson
St. Paul & the Broken Bones
San Fermin
Over The Rhine
The Lone Bellow
People Under The Stairs
The Barr Brothers
Milo Greene
The SteelDrivers
Field Report
Speedy Ortiz
Son Lux
JEFF The Brotherhood
King Tuff
Noah Gundersen
Twin Peaks
Fly Golden Eagle
Diarrhea Planet
The Revivalists
White Reaper
Twin Limb
Knox Hamilton
Parker Millsap

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