About a month ago a friend leaned over to me at a bar with something pulled up on his phone.
It was a festival lineup. Skeptically, I read through. I hadn’t been super impressed with a lot of the festival lineups this year so my hopes were not high.
Dude, what festival is this?!”
My eyes shot to the top of the lineup. “Bourbon & Beyond”. A festival I hadn’t heard of before, hmm. I clicked around their page only to discover it’s in one of my favorite cities, Louisville, KY. The land of bourbon… and good festivals, apparently.
I immediately reached out to them, desperate to cover this festival. And man the festival gods must really love me, because they said yes. So I am here to tell you all why I am SO excited for this festival by laying out the who, what, where, when, and more with the ultimate guide to Bourbon & Beyond 2019.
Now in its third year, Bourbon & Beyond is a three-day music festival in Louisville, KY. Hailed as the “World’s Largest Bourbon Festival”, they combine some of my favorite things: live music, bourbon, and new experiences.
In the home of bourbon, of course! The Highland Festival Grounds at the Kentucky Expo Center, right in the heart of Louisville, KY.
Bourbon & Beyond 2019 takes place appropriately during National Bourbon Heritage Month, September 20-22. And let me tell you, I am looking forward to a festival with temperate weather! While I love Louisville, the heat can be a little brutal in the summer. Louisville in late September is usually in the high 50s to low 80s. *sigh of relief*
Gates open daily at 11am.
The lineup is what initially got me SO excited for this festival. In my opinion, it’s one of the best I’ve seen this year. Some of my favorites include The Flaming Lips, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Live, Jenny Lewis, Grace Potter, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Foo Fighters, Kurt Vile, Margo Price, and White Reaper. Just to name a few.
Additionally, the festival has a stage dedicated to American roots music, bluegrass. “The Bluegrass Situation Stage” will feature emerging artists, including a few local acts. Bluegrass and bourbon, can you imagine anything more American?
WHAT TO EXPECT
First of all, expect a lot of bourbon. Like, a lot. I mean they are the “World’s Largest Bourbon Festival” after all.
There will be 25+ distilleries represented by nine bourbon bars on site, including the Boone County Distilling Back Porch, the Jack Daniel’s No. 7 Sports Bar, and the Kroger Big Bourbon Bar.
But maybe bourbon isn’t your thing. No judgment! (Ok maybe like a liiiiitle judgment.) The Tiki Barrel Bar will make bourbon and rum cocktails alll weekend long. The Tito’s Handmade Vodka Airstream Bar is available to vodka lovers out there, whipping up cocktails like Tito’s Moscow Mules. Maybe you don’t like liquor at all. No worries! They also have the Lagunita’s Craft Beer Bar for beer lovers, and even The Angry Tree Bar for cider lovers like me!
Now let’s talk food. Can you think of anything more Kentucky than a bourbon/BBQ pairing? Me neither. Luckily you can experience exactly that at Jailhouse BBQ, presented by Larceny Distillery in partnership with Bosshog Barbeque. Here you can get Kentucky-style smoked whole hog BBQ, pork, or chicken expertly paired with Larceny bourbon. YUM.
There are also ticketed culinary events like the three-course meal at the B&B Supper Club at Sevice by chef Anthony Lamas, which might be your only chance to eat skirt steak all weekend. There’s also the Expect the Unexpected Supper Club, which asks renowned chefs to cook outside of their comfort zone. Chefs will tackle signature stations like the El Toro taco truck and Iron Quarter pizza oven while imparting their signature style and flair.
The festival also hosts Mash Stage Demos where chefs, master distillers, and bartenders will show off their skills.
HOW TO GET TICKETS
Buy your tickets online here!
If you purchase your tickets online before September 1, your wristbands will be shipped to you before the festival. Otherwise, you will pick up your wristband at the on-site box office with your confirmation e-mail and your driver’s license.
VIP wristbands are RFID-enabled and should be registered online before you arrive. You will receive instructions on how to register it through e-mail.
Bourbon & Beyond is an all ages event. Patrons ages 5 and up require a ticket for entry.
WHAT IT COSTS
• Friday single day pass – $115
• Saturday single day pass – $99.50
• Sunday single day pass – $99.50
• Weekend passes – $229.50
• Friday single day Mint VIP pass – SOLD OUT
• Saturday single day Mint VIP pass – $285
• Sunday single day Mint VIP pass – $249.50
• Weekend Mint VIP pass – $650
• Beyond VIP – $1,599.50
There are also hotel and VIP packages which include two VIP passes and four nights in select hotels, two Bourbon & Beyond t-shirts, and re-entry to and from the festival all weekend. Find out more about this offer, here!
Payment plans are available through July 26, 2019.
Fun fact: Every ticket purchase supports zero hunger, zero waste! As part of this innovative partnership and Kroger’s commitment to zero hunger, zero waste, 25 cents from each ticket purchase will be donated directly to Dare To Care Food Bank.
WHAT DOES VIP GET YOU?
Bourbon & Beyond has two levels of VIP: Mint VIP and Beyond VIP.
• Access to the mint garden, an exclusive hang area for VIPs only
• Front-of-stage viewing of the Oak and Barrel stages
• Access to the mint tent – a shaded hang space with dedicated bars and comfortable furniture
• Live audio/video streams of the Barrel and Oak stages
• A dedicated merchandise stand for convenient shopping
• Premium food and beverage offerings (for additional purchase)
• Private locker rentals
• Air-conditioned, flushable restrooms
• Dedicated entrance lanes into the festival
• A commemorative VIP-only laminate & RFID wristband
The Beyond VIP experience gets you everything the Mint VIP experience gets you, plus:
• A shaded viewing deck
• All-inclusive premium drinks at dedicated bars within the beyond VIP hang area
• Complimentary hors d’oeuvres during lunch and dinner hours curated by Anthony Lamas of Seviche
• Massage station
• Complimentary lockers with cell-phone chargers
• Complimentary WiFi access
• Concierge staff
• A shaded hang area with dedicated bars and comfortable furniture
• A dedicated merchandise stand for shorter shopping lines
All VIP wristbands are RFID-enabled and should be registered online before you arrive. You will receive instructions on how to register it through e-mail.
WHERE TO STAY
Bourbon & Beyond allows on-site camping! But there are also many hotels and Airbnb‘s nearby.
• Car or Tent Camping – $145 for four nights (Thursday through Sunday)
More information about camping at Bourbon & Beyond can be found here.
• Sleep Inn Louisville Airport & Expo – 0.7 miles
• Ramada by Wyndham Louisville Expo Center – 0.8 miles
• Home2 Suites by Hilton Louisville Airport Expo Center – 0.8 miles
• Super 8 by Wyndham Louisville/Expo Center – 1 mile
• Four Points by Sheraton Louisville Airport – 1 mile
• Holiday Inn Louisville Airport – Fair/Expo – 1 mile
• Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport – 1.5 miles
WHAT TO BRING
One notable thing I noticed on the restricted items listed is the bag policy. Purses, totes, fanny packs, and backpacks of any kind are not allowed in. However, clear bags under 12″x12″ are allowed, as are clear or mesh drawstring bags, and clutch purses under 4.5″x6.5″.