Festival Heartstrings

Kentucky Wake Me Up: Forecastle Festival 2015

Before telling you about our first time attending Forecastle Festival (as well as our first time in Louisville, and in the state of Kentucky), there’s one thing you need to know — Harvest’s (a local farm-to-table eatery) recipe for an early morning “Kentucky Wake Me Up,” (also known as Kentucky Coffee):

1. A shot of bourbon

2. A squirt of honey syrup

3. A splash of chocolate bitters

4. Black coffee

5. Cream (optional)

6. Add Forecastle Festival, stir and enjoy!

Quite refreshing, indeed! In fact, you might want to make one right now,  to fully immerse yourself in the Forecastle/Kentucky experience that’s waiting for you in what follows below.

Founder and Louisville native, JK McKnight began Forecastle as a small community event at Tyler Park. McKnight remains the festival’s Captain (alongside AC Entertainment (Bonnaroo)), and creator behind The Forecastle Foundation — the festival’s activism arm.  Forecastle’s maxim – Rebuilding our world’s natural awesome. With attendance doubling from 2012 to 2014 and continuing to grow at Waterfront Park in 2015, Forecastle has landed Louisville a firm spot on the music festival map. Forecastle includes 3 stages — the Boom Stage, Mast Stage and WPFK Port Stage — all with the backdrop of the Ohio River. One of the festival’s most unusual components is the freeway, which runs right through the festival. Though unusual, the noise of trucks passing over you is surprisingly low-key and its presence is much needed when taking refuge underneath it during the mid-summer Kentucky heat.

Forecastle’s atmosphere is similar to its lineup — eclectic. 2015’s artists included Modest Mouse, Widespread Panic, Sam Smith, Shovels & Rope, The Steeldrivers, Noah Gunderson, Portugal, The Man, The Lone Bellow, Field Report, and many more. 2015’s grounds included water stations, an array of food, a bourbon lounge, lifeguards (for the bourbon), a smoker’s tent, unusually clean portajohns, the Forecastle Foundation charity tent with raffles, fundraising and a chalkboard requesting answers to “How to be more awesome…,” and vendors with poster prints, Kentucky t-shirts, and last, but certainly not least, vagina stickers.

We recommend Forecastle as a festival for friends, especially large groups of them. Every inch of the festival appeals to a different personality and its varied lineup promises excitement for each member of your group.

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