Forecastle Fest makes its return to Louisville in a big way




Kentucky’s very own music, art, and activism festival returned to Louisville Waterfront park for an exciting three-day bash filled with more than 50 acts taking the stage Memorial Day weekend. Since its start in 2002, Forecastle has grown from a community event to a household name among summer music festivals, hosting touring musicians of all varieties and genres. It attracts attendees from all across the country with its wide range of artists from the top of the bill to the bottom. This year was no exception. The schedule was packed and there was never a dull moment.


Attendees from across the country make their way through the festival grounds.

Getting down to the waterfront was a breeze with a wide selection of parking across public city lots with just a short walk to all the action. The festival grounds are situated on the Ohio River on the Northside of downtown Louisville. It made for great views of the Louisville skyline and the bridge-lined Ohio River. A lot of summer festivals these days claim a city, but are actually miles off the beaten path, so it was nice to be right in the heart of the city with all it has to offer. 


A look at the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge from inside the festival.

Speaking of Louisville, there’s a local musician named Jack Harlow that you may have heard of, who closed things down on the opening night of the festival. In what had to of been the most iconic moment of the whole weekend, and one of the many great moments in Harlow’s rise to fame, the Grammy award-winner began his set on top of the stage. When I say on top of the stage, I mean the very top, upwards of 75 feet in the air. With the majority of the festival crowd primarily there to see their hometown hero, you better believe they were making some noise. With thousands of Harlow faithful looking to the sky, Jack opened with the very fitting new track, “Talk of The Town.” It was a memorable moment that helped cap off the first day  at Forecastle’s “Mast Stage.”


Jack Harlow appears on top of the stage to start his set on May 27.

The Mast Stage was one of three stages that hosted a whole schedule of artists each day. The format of the schedule was easy to follow and kept the day moving. Throughout the whole three-day weekend, there was never a lull. The “Mast” and “Boom” stages would alternate without overlapping, while the “Ocean” stage would fill in the gaps with an impressive lineup of primarily electronic artists and DJs each day. Household names in the electronic world like Porter Robinson, Lane 8, and Alison Wonderland all took the stage. All the while, rap, R&B, pop,  alternative, indie and every genre in between were showcased in full force on the other end of the waterfront. No matter what vibe you were searching for, Forecastle had you covered. 


Dayglow delivers an energetic set at the “Boom” stage on May 29.

In case you needed a break from the action, there was a nice selection of local food and beverage vendors to keep you going throughout the weekend. With everything from pizza, tacos, barbeque, seafood, sandwiches and noodles, again Forecastle had you covered with whatever vibe you were feeling at any given time. One unique addition that I was surprised to see was a whole pop up dedicated to the viral canned water company, Liquid Death. When I say pop up, I mean a literal house. It is an interesting world we live in, especially in 2022. It’s eye opening to see the extra mile a brand will go in order to make something “instagrammable.”


Liquid Death’s pop up stays busy throughout the weekend.

The weekend was a huge success full of electrifying performances and no shortage of summer festival feels. Some of the noteworthy sets that caught my attention were Louisville’s hometown sensation, Jack Harlow, Nashville indie-pop trio, COIN, the ever likable and nostalgic bop master Dayglow, the ever-talented British singer-songwriter, beabadoobee and lastly the festival headline veterans, Tame Impala. With all that went down in Derby City this weekend, Forecastle will surely be the talk of the town.


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Photos and Words By: Andrew Herner


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