What makes an amazing music festival? A beautiful location, an awesome lineup, and of course, good company. Every year, Forecastle delivers a truly amazing festival. Held right on the beautiful Louisville riverfront, this is Forecastle’s 16th year wowing audiences.
Every year is a little different, which is part of why I love Forecastle so much. This year, one of the biggest changes was the new and improved Party Cove. It’s back, and better than ever. This year they removed the Port Stage to make room for a charming little ferris wheel and swinging ship. While they had to do a little rearranging to fit them in, they fit in perfectly. They did, however, add a new local stage to the Kentucky Landing area, and did way more programming on the Party Cove stage this year. So all in all, five stages total this year!
This year it was like the the lineup was tailored just for me. Most of the bands I was excited to see, I have seen before: Modest Mouse, The War on Drugs, Lucero, Father John Misty, Jason Isbell, Jenny Lewis. While some people may view that as a negative, I am one of those people who will see my favorite bands over and over again. Plus, I’ve only seen ONE of those artists play a festival set before, and festival sets are always a different energy.
The artists this year were decorated with Grammy’s. Chris Stapleton, Arcade Fire, Jason Isbell, Father John Misty, The War on Drugs, and T Pain all have that treasured golden gramophone, or a few. But despite their sound issues, Modest Mouse was one of my favorite acts during the weekend. Every song took me back to a different point in my life. No one really cared about the sound issues, it wasn’t about the music, it never really is with Modest Mouse – it’s about the feeling you get when you hear it.
My only regret was I wish I could have seen more of Courtney Barnett’s set. But, there was a lot of overlap this year, so we could only see bits and pieces of each band. I think all the overlap this year was due to the removal of the Port Stage. While I appreciate the local stage, it did crowd the rest of the schedule a bit.
This was one of the hottest Forecastle’s on record, lingering in the mid 90s all weekend. Forecastle is always prepared though, it IS Kentucky in July after all. Free water stations, frozen bandanas, and of course, the wonderfully air-conditioned Bourbon Lodge. The Bourbon Lodge is worth the money every year. This year, they added some fun new additions to it – like the speakeasy-style Four Roses Lounge. There was no clear signage for the entrance, which was located behind the Gonzo Bar. Instead there was a small rubber lizard outside the door, and signs around the festival saying “follow the lizard” and other cryptic clues. This was one of our favorite spots all weekend. We kept calling it the ‘blast freezer’ all weekend, because it was always a refreshing 65. Perfect for a quick cool down.
I fall more in love with Louisville every time I visit. The architecture, the food, the bourbon, and I absolutely adore a walkable city. We stayed at the beautiful Brown Hotel, where we were able to walk to and from the festival with ease. Not to mention, Louisville throws one hell of a music festival. I can already confidently say we will be there next year.