If I had to guess, I’d say most people don’t know what a gem the city of Louisville, Kentucky is. Although most well known for its legendary Bourbon, Louisville is home to a thriving culture of art and food, as well as the Forecastle Festival. Twelve years ago this festival was virtually unknown and just a small gathering for local musicians, but now Rolling Stone is calling it “One of the coolest festivals in America”. Located on Louisville’s relatively small, 85 acre Waterfront Park, Forecastle is its own bustling community filled with music, local art, and information booths emphasizing environmental issues and the beauty of the great outdoors.

      In the past, Forecastle’s lineup has featured huge acts such as My Morning Jacket, Bassnectar, Wilco, The Avett Brothers, and the Flaming Lips. However, it’s never really those shows that make a festival is it? It’s the hidden treasures you stumble across when you least expect. It’s walking in to a tent and learning all about hemp and how it could benefit so many industries. It’s signing your name on a massive banner, knowing you will now forever be a part of the festival. It’s watching a small band kill their performance, and running in to them later at your favorite show. Forecastle offers much more than entertainment. It offers an experience you’ll have to adventure through yourself before you can put words to it.

      Forecastle’s central theme has always been founded around sustainability, and each year money is raised towards their projects. Currently the festival crew is working on two projects- the Guayaki Foundation and the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust. Both have a common mission to preserve ecologically diverse and endangered ecosystems. More information can easily be accessed on Forecastle’s website, and multiple booths will be set up around the grounds to educate all attendees.

        With twelve years in the making, this summer’s festival will not be one to disappoint. Oh, and are you wondering where the festival got its’ unique name? A forecastle is the area on a ship where workers gather after a long, hard day to unwind and simply be together. Founder JK McKnight has taken his vision and created a version of a forecastle on land, so when you’re sitting back enjoying the music remember to enjoy the good company as well.

Written By: Rachel Oldham