Summer music guide


Jonathan Ryan

School’s out—and music festivals are among the most popular summer activities for both high school and college students. For those in Louisville looking to attend a music festival, there are many within reach. Check out some of the best live shows this summer here.


Bonnaroo (Thursday, June 12Sunday, June 15)

Kendrick Lamar performs at Bonnaroo in 2012. Photo by Jon Elbaz on Wikimedia Commons
Kendrick Lamar performs at Bonnaroo in 2012. Photo by Jon Elbaz on Wikimedia Commons

Since its start in 2002, Bonnaroo has established itself as one of the best music festivals in the country. It takes place in Manchester, Tennessee on a 700+ acre farm, so it is certainly within driving distance from Louisville if you’re willing to deal with the miles and miles of bumper to bumper traffic Bonnaroo brings every year. This year’s show features acts like Elton John, Kanye West, Vampire Weekend and Skrillex. It is without a doubt one of the best deals in music festivals getting you by far the most bang for your buck, although you will be living in a hot field in the middle of the summer for four days. Bonnaroo is known nationally for its atmosphere of friendship and general niceness. The festival will also feature a number of stand-up comedians like Craig Robinson and Hannibal Buress. Tickets can be purchased here.


Forecastle Festival (Friday, July 18Sunday, July 20)

Flaming Lips at Forecastle 2010. Photo by C Michael Stewart on Wikimedia Commons

Forecastle takes place each summer at the Louisville Waterfront Park. Since its beginnings as a collection of small artists playing in Tyler Park, it has steadily grown into a popular festival, drawing at least 75,000 people every year. This year will feature over 70 acts including popular artists like Jack White, Outkast and The Replacements. Forecastle normal is made up of mostly indie rock acts, but there are many artists that cater to other genres. Forecastle also features many art installations every year and has many political and social activism events. Tickets can be purchased here.


Lebowski Fest (Friday, July 11Saturday, July 12)


Founded in 2002, the annual Lebowski Fest celebrates the 1998 film The Big Lebowski. The weekend includes live music (from artists like Those Darlins, The Features and Bobby Bare Jr.), a screening of the The Big Lebowski, bowling parties, and costume contests. Everything takes place at the Executive Lawn (911 Phillips Lane, Louisville, Ky. 40209) and a weekend pass is only $50. See the weekend schedule here and buy tickets here.


Waterfront Wednesdays (AprilSeptember)

Photo by C. Michael Stewart
Photo by C. Michael Stewart

91.9 WFPK Waterfront Wednesdays have been a Louisville tradition for 13 years. On the last Wednesday of each summer month, free concerts for all ages are held on the Big Four Lawn at Waterfront Park in Louisville. This summer’s line-up includes Spanish Gold (also performing at Forecastle), The Deloreans and Shovels and Rope.


Paul McCartney, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and The Black Keys: at the KFC Yum! Center

Although not a festival or concert series, the KFC Yum! Center is always sure to have a good lineup. Paul McCartney will be performing on Thursday, June 26. Miley Cyrus will perform her rescheduled show from April on Saturday, August 9. Katy Perry will perform the Saturday after Miley (Saturday, August 16). Last but not least, The Black Keys are coming on Wednesday, Sept. 10. If you’re willing to spend some extra money on tickets to shows like these, you’ll be sure to have a great time at one of Louisville’s finest venues.


Fall festivals to look forward to

Cropped Out: September 2014

Louisville Outskirts Festival: October 2014