Music lovers flock to Waterfront Park for the Forecastle Festival
By Anna Meany–
Each summer brings a hometown concert turned nationally-known music and arts festival to the “possibility city.”
The Cardinal sat down with Holly Weyler, whose official title is first mate, to discuss this year’s lineup, the future of Forecastle and what the entire production means to its host city.
Weyler acts as publicity guru of all things Forecastle and secretary of The Forecastle Foundation, a non-profit organization focusing on education and conservation in the local and global scale.
The festival is held every July in Waterfront Park, offering a variety of rock, alternative, hip-hop, electronic dance music, bluegrass concerts and other booths promoting sustainability, local business love, and artistic creativity.
Forecastle’s origins are humble for the gigantic event it’s grown into. Weyler says maybe 50 friends of JK McKnight (official Captain of the event) gathered at Tyler Park for the free show back in 2002.
But now the show goes on in the heart of Downtown Louisville.
The Forecastle Festival recently unveiled its long-awaited lineup – ranging from local favorites, like A Lion Named Roar and Jim James, to big-name bands, like The Black Keys and Young the Giant. The big reveal brought lots of excitement from previous Forecastle attendees.
Jacob Bell, senior Pre-Med student at U of L, says he’s most excited to see the Alabama Shakes. “You can just tell they grew up listening to some good jams,” adding, “Nothing is like seeing a band for the first time.”
Forecastle hit major headlines last year when celebrity-curators, members of Louisville’s own My Morning Jacket, announced their personal input in the fest’s activities and lineup selection – it was even dubbed one of Rolling Stone’s Coolest Festivals of 2012.
JK McKnight’s brainchild is expected to double in size this year – that means growing from 35,000 patrons to nearly 70,000.
Despite growing to a multi-million dollar event every summer, the fest keeps its Louisville roots within reach. Weyler says its convenient location allows patrons to experience the city’s local restaurants and shops before heading to the Waterfront for their afternoon concerts. Zach Adams, junior sophomore at U of L, says he really enjoyed the booths that highlighted Louisville’s local culture. Most memorable, according to Weyler, was the Bourbon Lodge. What better KY drink to share with visiting travelers!
Totally new this year is a three-part performance by The String Cheese Incident, whose festival- headlining show will accompany a jam-band session, and a late-night performance at the Louisville Palace.
Early birds snagged their tickets at the amazingly low price of $100 for a three-day pass; weekend tickets are now available at the $165 price level, but will soon rise to $180 when the amount at that level sells out.
Weyler promises lots of new treats for Forecastle visitors this year, but kept super hush-hush about what she can and cannot reveal to The Cardinal about this year’s attractions. She did assure that a better, expanded Bourbon Lodge would return to the Waterfront this year.
Adams says he looks forward to many of the energetic shows he knows this fest brings to Waterfront, especially noting The Flaming Lips memorable performance – who are Forecastle veterans, by the way.
Weyler says planning the music and arts fest is a “complicated process” in every aspect, but added, “it’s been a wild ride and it’s far from over.”
Photo by Anna Meany/The Louisville Cardinal