Forecastle Festival Fast Approaching!

Louisville’s annual Forecastle Festival, cited by Rolling Stone as “one of the coolest festivals in America,” sets sail again July 15-17, 2016. Staged at the 85-acre Waterfront Park along the Ohio River, the festival will feature acts on four stages throughout the park’s pastoral setting. This year’s headliners include The Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes, Ryan Adams, Death Cab For Cutie, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, and many more (full lineup here).

Founded in 2002 by Louisville native JK McKnight and produced by AC Entertainment, founders and producers of Bonnaroo, Forecastle is a more user-friendly version of the Manchester, TN megafest. How so? First of all, there is no camping. Yes, I said NO CAMPING. With ample parking downtown and plenty of hotels to choose from, there is no need to sweat it out in a rancid tent. Also, there’s Louisville.

One of the country’s most beautiful small cities, Louisville offers a plethora of amenities to enjoy. For example, it would be an excellent time to visit the Muhammed Ali Center and pay respects to The Greatest. If it’s records you’re after (and of course it is), you’ve got an array of shops to choose from, such as Better Days (two locations), Matt Anthony’s, Guestroom, Underground Sounds, The Great Escape, and more. When the vinyl hunt leaves you famished, Louisville is a culinary hotbed with offerings in all price ranges. Also, there’s bourbon.

You don’t have to travel far to taste some of Kentucky’s finest spirits. In fact, you don’t have to leave the Forecastle grounds, as they have the ever-popular Bourbon Lodge on site. Basically, a circus-tent-sized enclosure with representatives of the state’s finest distilleries offering their wares, it is a bourbon lover’s bestest Christmas-morning dream. Bourbon to the left of me, bourbon to the right of me…well, you get the picture.

When you need some food to go with your drink, the festival offers a tantalizing and extremely varied array of food tents, stalls, and trucks. Whatever you’re craving, chances are they’ve got it. Once you’re full, you can stroll around the Kentucky Landing area where an array of artists, small letter-press shops, and curio dealers will vie for your disposable income.

Mostly, though, Forecastle is about music. With four stages running throughout the day, you’re bound to find something that hits your musical sweet spot. And with all those musicians in one location, impromptu collaborations are always a possibility. For the night owls, there are additional late-night shows available for an additional fee. But also, there is that comfy hotel room with its offer of a hot shower and cool air-conditioning after a long day bourbon-drizzled music absorption.

For ticket info and more, check the Forecastle site and make your plans to motor west (or east, or north, or south, depending on your location).

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