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Forecastle 2018: where music, art, and activism converge

side view of crowd with arms in air cheering at music festival
Photo by Austin Johnson/ Ace Weekly

Forecastle 2018: where music, art, and activism converge

By Megan McCardwell

The 2018 Forecastle Music Festival at Waterfront Park in Louisville, KY is a three-day festival that includes art, activism, bourbon, and a wide mix of music from artists like Chris Stapleton, T-Pain, Arcade Fire, Father John Misty, Louis the Child, Modest Mouse and more.

Forecastle was founded in 2002 by Louisville native JK McKnight. Over the years it has grown from a small, community event to one of the nation’s most anticipated summer festivals.

Forecastle opened at 2 pm on Friday, July 13. (Photo by Megan McCardwell/ Ace weekly)

Tens of thousands of music lovers and fans from all backgrounds travel to Louisville’s 85-acre Waterfront Park for a plethora of jazz, hip-hop, indie-rock, classical, folk and bluegrass music. Ashley Capps, CEO and Founder of AC Entertainment (Forecastle’s producer), said they estimated around 75,000 tickets will be purchased EACH day for the three-day festival. Now that’s a crowd.

Music is the forefront of the festival, but festival-goers can also enjoy other things like art, community involvement, and bourbon.

Local artist painting a mural at Forecastle 2018. (Photo by Megan McCardwell/ Ace Weekly)

Art and community involvement  can be found throughout the festival grounds. Adjacent to the Mast Stage, local artists could be seen painting a large mural outside the Forecastle Foundation tent.

Inside the tent, festival-goers could “Sip n’ Support” by sipping a cocktail, water, or coffee and visiting information stations that told you everything you needed to know about the Foundation and how you could help protect the world’s “natural awesome.” There were also giant chalkboards inscribed with the question “How will you be naturally awesome today?” for people to write-in their own answers.

According to their website, the Forecastle Foundation has a mission to “protect and connect the world’s most biologically diverse and highly-threatened hot spots around the world.” It operates year-round, and has donated a total of over $400,000 over the past 7 years to local and global conservation projects.

When throwing a festival in the state of Kentucky, bourbon has to be on the entertainment lineup. For six years, Forecastle has partnered with the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to offer an exclusive and truly immersive experience — The Forecastle Bourbon Lodge.

The Forecastle Bourbon Lodge. (Photo by Megan McCardwell/ Ace Weekly)

The air-conditioned lodge is the festival’s one-stop-shop for the finest bourbons in the Bluegrass State. Festival goers were able to purchase memberships to the Bourbon Lodge in addition to their Forecastle passes. The membership gave fans access to the Lodge in addition to 15 tickets to be used to purchase food or drinks inside, and a commemorative Bourbon Lodge steel mug that granted re-entry to the Lodge throughout the weekend.

Whether it’s music, bourbon, art, or activism, Forecastle Festival has something for everyone. It’s a place where people come together. So, if you can stand the heat and want to see what all the hype is about, I highly suggest you purchase a ticket to Forecastle 2019.

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