Posted in: Downtown, Louisville attractions, Louisville Information, Louisville Neighborhoods, What to do in Louisville, Author: Younger Group (July 11, 2012)
If you are planning to attend the Forecastle Festival by the River this weekend, you might be surprised at its early history. Now one of the top 15 festivals in the country, the festival that attracts thousands of visitors from 25 states and 271 countries started out as a free summer outdoor festival in Tyler Park in 2002. Costing only $500 to produce, the event honored the local music community and drew a few hundred fans. This solid start foreshadowed the great event that will take place from July 13-15th at Waterfront Park.
The festival name “forecastle” refers to the upper deck of a sailing ship, specifically, the area “before the mast” where ordinary sailors live. When you look at the Forecastle website, you will note that it is nautically themed and promises great adventure.
This year’s festival marks the 10th anniversary of Forecastle and promises a fun-filled three days of live music on multiple stages (on the Waterfront, theBelle of Louisville and at Club116), groundbreaking art, fun at Waterfront Park, afterparties, and much more. As you plan your weekend, here are some handy references:
Check out the Forecastle website for the best overview.
Follow Forecastle on Facebook for the latest news and updates on performers and events.
Take a look at the “ultimate checklist” to plan your schedule and know the rules.
For an introduction to Forecastle, especially for out-of-towners, read a Beginner’s Guide.
You can read the interesting history of the festival below, based on an account from the Forecastle Festival website. Want to know more about Louisville? I’m Mollie Younger from the Younger Group where We Know Louisville. Give me a call and get started today!
In each subsequent year, the festival grew and became more popular.
2003 – After the first festival, organizer Bob McKnight was so thrilled at how the festival turned out that the next year, he collaborated with Sculptor Mike Ratterman to recruit 30 artists to join the effort. A dozen environmentalist and social –conscious groups joined in, as they saw the festival as a great forum for educate those in attendance. Forecastle took shape at the Music, Art, and Activism® festival it is today. Attendance tripled!
2004 – JK Knight regionalized the festival by bringing artists, musicians, and journalists from the region and beyond. He brought together 18 bands, 30 artists, and 25 non-profits who drew an even bigger audience. Realizing he was on to something, he applied for Federal Trademark to protect his concept of Music, Art, and Activism®
2005 – The festival moved to Cherokee Park, the first festival held there in over 10 years. The park was divided into three sections, with a national act invited to perform on one of the stages. McKnight raised over $60,000 to underwrite the festival, which attracted the largest group of musicians, artist, and activists in the state. The activism was limited to environmental ism and outdoor lifestyle activities. As the cost to produce the festival increased by 10x, corporate sponsors such as Red Bull North America and Patagonia joined forces with local businesses to cover them. The festival attracted over 5,000, more than even better financed events in the area and became a model for festival planning.
2006 – Forecastle moved to the Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center, expanded to a two day format and attracted top acts including the female trio Sleater Kinney. When the group announced they were disbanding, ticket sales for festival soared nationwide and articles about the festival appeared in Billboard, The New York Times, MTV, VH1, CNN, and more. Forecastle was named as “One of the Top 101 things to do in America” by Spin Magazine.”
2007 – Buoyed by success, Forecastle acquired national sponsors and again moved to a bigger venue at The Riverfront Belvedere. Artists, musicians, and environmentalist from 10 regional cites were invited to contribute equally. The result was shows on the East and West stage, a regional art exhibition, and 50 environmental organizations, plus speakers, educational panels, an extreme sports park, eco-business expo, and “active lifestyle” event along the river. Forecastle gained national prominence.
2008 – Forecastle expanded to three days, and added a campground, plus a symposium at the Galt Hotel to promote opportunities for performers, artist, and organization leaders to interact, network, meet promoters and leaders, and share skills and concerns.
2009 – Forecastle partnered with master promoters Nederlander Entertainment to combine their respective festival and concert expertise. The successful enterprise pulled in 44,000 attendees from 44 states and six countries. Forecastle was named among the “Top 15 Outdoor Festivals in the Country ” by Outside Magazine, the “Top 10 Events in the State” by the Kentucky Tourism Council, and “The Best Music Festival in Louisville” by the readership of LEO Weekly.
2010 – The festival moved to Waterfront Park, where it attracted 100 bands and 30,000 attendees. Forecastle also pledged its support to the 1% for the Planet, a group committed to creating a healthy planet.
2011 - Forecastle partnered with AC Entertainment, promoters of over 750 concerts each. The first joint effort was set for this year, but in 2011, the partners hosted “Half Way to Forecastle” to give Louisville a taste of the future.
2012 – The best is yet to come as the mix of festival and concert promoters are brings in bands such as My Morning Talk, Girl Talk, Bassnector, and more, artists from the American Poster Institute, and booths and activities presented by environmental non-profit or outdoor recreational groups, plus many attractions such as Kentucky Bourbon Lodge and Louisville Village carnival.
Come to Forecastle and help Louisville once again make history by making the festival the biggest and best ever.