By Tate Luckey

For the first time in 20 years except a two-year COVID-19 hiatus, Forecastle Festival will not be held in 2023, the organization announced Friday.

“Forecastle Festival will be taking a pause in 2023. It’s incredible to see what this festival has become and how the Louisville community has grown around it over the past 20 years,” their press release states.

“There are some things that we want to work on and improve for the future, so we’re going to take some time to strategize and determine the best path forward for the festival.⁣”

After launching in 2002, the Foundation has donated over $700,000 dollars to local and global conservation projects. The 2022 festival had an estimated economic impact of 9.1 million dollars in the Lousiville area, according to Louisville Tourism.

“Louisville Tourism supports and respects the difficult decision announced by festival organizers and knows it was not one made lightly. Louisville is very supportive of our homegrown festivals and the Forecastle Festival can certainly be credited with putting our city on the musical map, positioning us to reach a national audience. Not only does this impact our music scene, but it is a significant economic loss as well. We look forward to welcoming them back in the future and appreciate their contributions in elevating Louisville’s musical brand,” Cleo Battle, president and CEO said in a statement.

So why put the show on pause?

While Forecastle Festival hasn’t announced a formal reason for the pause, several students and fans alike have contributed their theories regarding the apparent cancelation.

“I don’t know if they have the current infrastructure to support the artists, you know? The whole point is that it’s at the Waterfront,” a U of L junior Allison Niemeier said.

Senior Nick House agreed, arguing that there’s a level of consistency you can expect at other fests. “It’s not necessarily the same [for Forecastle], in terms of artists, planning, theme.”

“I think they completely forgot about the whole point of Forecastle. When you appeal to a primarily younger audience, the revenue they expect to bring in is going to be very small. I was a bit confused about why they took away Party Cove, too. I didn’t attend any other fests this past year, but I probably will with Forecastle being canceled,” senior Miranda Frazier said.

Junior Taylor Price had a similar thought- “If you look at other festivals like Bourbon and Beyond or Louder than Life, they’re having artists like Slipknot, Chris Stapleton, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, – my best guess is that they want more legacy acts that transcend generations to bring in a bigger audience, and likely need more funding.”

Last year’s lineup included headliners like Tyler the Creator, Phoebe Bridgers, and Louisville native Jack Harlow; turnout was just shy of 75,000 throughout the weekend.

If you’d like to read some interviews with some of last year’s artists, you can check out The Louisville Cardinal’s interviews with KIRBY, Dayglow, and Louisville’s own The Homies.

File Photo // Matt Stone (Courier Journal) //