By Emma Smith

If you have ever been to a party, the night doesn’t end until you’ve heard Mr. Brightside by the Killers come on. If folk is more your style, maybe Hozier was one of your top artists on Spotify. If you listened to the radio at all in the 2010s, you may feel a certain amount of nostalgia for Bruno Mars.

But what do all these artists have in common? Last year, they all played at Bourbon and Beyond, one of Louisville’s top tourist attractions.

On January 28th, Bourbon and Beyond dropped their lineup for 2024, boasting names such as Tyler Childers (a Kentucky native), Dave Matthews Band, Zach Bryan, and Beck. The lineup this year seemed to focus more on what Kentucky is traditionally known for, but which year’s lineup will draw more people?

When it comes to streams on Spotify, the number of streams for some of the headliners in the 2023 lineup was much higher than the top headliners in the 2024 lineup.

*Neil Diamond (who is headlining this year at Bourbon and Beyond) pulled his music from Spotify, besides a few songs. He didn’t want to remain on the same platform as Joe Rogan after his podcast spread misinformation about COVID-19.

Rising costs don’t help

And how much are Bourbon and Beyond tickets?

In 2023, weekend admission prices ranged from $269.99 for general admission to $1,699 for Angels Envy VIP. This year, weekend GA prices are $319.99, and Angels Envy VIP tickets cost $1739.99.

The people who go to these festivals likely have more expendable income, but before you even walk into the festival there are even more costs.

Parking is a huge drain on your wallet, costing upwards of 100 dollars for the entire weekend. Calling an Uber will also cost you a pretty penny. Food is extremely expensive, costing from $8 on the lower end to upwards of $20. And what about merch? More expensive on-site than online.

The main attraction, of course, Bourbon, is also likely to cut into your wallet. Cocktails range from 15-20 bucks per drink.

Forecastle is a music festival held in Louisville every year, however, in 2023 they canceled it with talks about the future of the festival being up in the air. Since then, there have been no plans for it to come back this year. It may be safe to assume that Forecastle is no more.

Bourbon and Beyond likely saw what was going on with Forecastle and wanted to cater to older people, who can spend more money at their festival. This is why they have chosen country acts this year over bigger pop acts like Hozier and Bruno Mars.

In my opinion, 2023 seems to be the better lineup. It’s hard to top a festival with so many unique and popular acts.

While I do understand the reasons for the lineup changes, I still think that it would be entertaining to see some bigger names in Louisville this September, especially since Forecastle is not happening anymore.

For Bourbon and Beyond to continue to grow in the years to come, they will need to find some way to appeal to younger audiences while still making money.

File Photo // Anthony Riley, The Louisville Cardinal