Forecastle’s Treasure Lies in the Undercard.
The Forecastle Festival will return to Louisville’s Waterfront Park for its 14th installment the weekend of July 15-17, 2016. In recent years the event has solidified itself as one of the premier mid-level music festivals in the country with jaw-dropping performances by artists of all genres such as Outkast, Beck, Robert Plant, Bassnectar, Run the Jewels, and the Flaming Lips (to name a few personal highlights). With music genres, capacity and event dates similar to many other festivals, Forecastle sets itself apart from the pack each year with a stacked lineup, beautiful grounds, unique after party options, and a vibe that can only come from another AC Entertainment Experience situated next to the Ohio River. Let’s delve into this year’s lineup and note some of the standout acts.
Topping the lineup this year are The Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes, Ryan Adams and Death Cab for Cutie. The folk-rockin’ Avetts always bring a raw, organic energy to the stage and have played Louisville multiple times, including the emotional closing set at Forecastle in 2013. Ryan Adams boast one of the strongest and deepest musical catalogues of any currently touring act, and playing the city many times throughout his storied career no doubt will give him the ability to play a show tailored to this particular event and crowd. Here’s to hoping he pulls out both some old staples, and my new guilty pleasure, a few Taylor Swift songs from his 1989 cover album. Rounding out our headliners are The Alabama Shakes. With only 2 albums to their name, Brittany Howard and Co. have less material to pull from than most top acts, however they know the weight their #3 billing holds, and will undoubtedly pull out all the stops for new fans and those that knew they would be big since their first LP during a (hopefully) beautiful sunset performance.
While headliners always grab your attention first, Forecastle’s real lineup gems lie within it’s stacked undercard. Notably, the folk/regge-genre crossing veteran Ben Harper will bring his best incantation of all his former bands, The Innocent Criminals, to get the crowd grooving. Big Gigantic will bring the saxy-heavy, EDM funk to the Waterfont with a spectacular light show. The silly, ratchet-rapper Danny Brown is sure to put on an incredibly hype hip-hop show to the rap-starved lineup, and with a third LP on the way we’re sure to get some new material.
Interestingly, there are several reoccurring acts on the lineup that have played Forecastle in recent years. Notably, crowd favorites such as Moon Taxi (2012, 2013, 2014), Walk the Moon (2012) and Dr. Dog (2008, 2012) are all veterans of the festival and with new albums just ahead, or currently in rotation, we’re sure to get a unique show from all these bands that have grown with Forecastle. Did anyone catch Taxi covering Wing’s “Live or Let Die” during their after show performance at The Mercury Ballroom in 2014?
Some fresh acts that are not to be missed include the groovy-psych pop of Glass Animals, hot off their stellar first LP Zaba, the quirky synth-heavy male-female duo Sylvan Esso, and Nashville’s psychadelta blues rockers All Them Witches.
Forecastle Festival has always felt like home due to it’s easy commute, accessibility, and a large, close-knit group of friends that annually attends the event. Taking place in late July, the event wraps many fan’s festival season and it is a nice change from the larger camping festivals. With it’s safe, beautiful grounds decorated nautically, it’s breath-taking sunsets over the Ohio River, and it’s “Keep Louisville Weird” mentality, Forecastle Festival is a perfect for fit for a dedicated summer festival-goer, a festival virgin, and families alike. AC Entertainment has nurtured the festival into an event that can only grow and continue to bring new experiences and world-class musical acts to Louisville, Kentucky.