Louisvilles biggest music festival was just a dream of founder JK McKnight over a decade ago in a small urban park. What started off in a backyard grew to a larger park, to an arts center, then finally blossomed into one of Americas best and well-liked music festivals. This year, again with help from Bonnaroo mastermind Ashley Capps, Forecastle invited back many of its previous big headliners (The Black Keys, Big Boi, The Avett Brothers, and Flaming Lips), breakthrough acts (Killer Mike, Night Beds), and a slew of local artists (The Pass, Freakwater) to concoct a cross-genre, wide-appeal lineup.
In the press conference prior to Friday’s kickoff, Mayor Greg Fischer said to be mayor of this city “you gotta love Forecastle.” And that is true – Forecastle is packed with local flavor beyond just the local talent peppered throughout the lineup – from the giant puppets roving the crowd to local food vendors, as well as the giant Bourbon Lodge, packed with the state’s most beloved elixir.
The music backed by Louisvilles beautiful Waterfront Park makes Forecastle a unique experience with many memorable moments. It was tough to whittle all the acts and sideshows down to a select few, but here are the moments that will have us remembering Forecastle 2013 and chomping at the bit to experience whats in store for next year.
Kurt Vile’s champion set
Saturday afternoon saw the evacuation of some 30,000 people when a storm with high winds flew just south of Louisville. Considering Waterfront Park is an easy two-hour drive from the stage collapse disaster in Indianapolis last summer, organizers played it safe almost to a fault. Luckily, the evacuation only delayed most artists between 45 minutes and an hour from the original scheduled time. Shortly after six in the evening, Kurt Vile commanded his post, and while the disruption catalyzed myriad sound issues, The Violators plowed through like champs. Kurt and the boys balanced selections from all his three major releases, from the stirring and trenchant “A Girl Called Alex”, to the bucolic electric psych folk of “Jesus Fever”, to closing out on the driving, hypnotic, fist-pump-inducing “Freak Train”. Every baked-out-their-gourd festival-goer nodded along with fervor to Vile’s hour-long, cross-catalog set. As well, Vile’s nod to Andrew WK in his new get-up is a great style.