Forecastle Festival Capt. J.K. McKnight and Official Branding Artist Jeff Gaither discuss art's role in the event

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Along with activism, art was added to the Forecastle Festival in 2003. "Louisville has such a prominent art community, in many ways I think it's larger than the music community here. I'm friends with a lot of people there so why not invite them into the fold?" said Forecastle Festival Captain J.K. McKnight, explaining why he gave art such a central role in the celebration. This year's Forecastle Festival will be July 10-12 at the Riverfront Belvedere. Lifelong Louisville resident Jeff Gaither is the event's Official Branding Artist. "Basically anything that's related to Forecastle art-wise, I'm the one that did it," Gaither said. He'll be at the festival's merchandise and information center, signing autographs. Gaither has designed the festival's posters, ads and t-shirts since McKnight first approached him in the event's early years. "I guess he'd seen my previous work somewhere," Gaither said. The idea to use ships was McKnight's idea (forecastle refers to the part of a ship where the crew members gather), but otherwise Gaither has a lot of latitude in his designs. "Over the years I've come up with the complete look of Forecastle, with the ships, where it progresses from being a ship in the water to where it actually is an air balloon. And I've got my ideas for next year where it's going to be up and beyond that," Gaither said. "I just do the poster and then he [McKnight] sends me the information for the band line up," Gaither said. "He'll come over when I've already got the poster 99 percent done and he'll make just a few minor changes." Gaither's other clients have included Guns N' Roses, Van Halen and the Guitar Hero 3 video game, as well as local entities like The Leo, Wild and Wooly Video and the Saint James Court Art Show (select the links to see his work). Other art at the Forecastle Festival includes an exhibition by Brad White and The Sustainable Living Roadshow, who travel in non-petroleum-based renewable fuel vehicles and set up learning villages, featuring workshops, speakers and entertainment. Tickets for the Forecastle Festival are on sale at Ticketmaster's Web site, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and select independent record stores (including Louisville's own ear X-tacy). Single-day passes cost $40.00 with three-day passes available at $100.00. Kick-off party, after-parties and VIP-package options also are available, as well as campground accommodations and on-site hotel rooms overlooking the festival site and the Ohio River. For more info: Read McKnight's thoughts on this year's Forecastle Festival at "Forecastle Festival founder, captain J.K. McKnight shares expectations for three-day event" and immerse yourself in the event at Louisville.com's special Forecastle Festival section. (Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Gaither)
About Zach Everson
Travel news/travel buzz editor at MapQuest. Previously, I was a freelance writer, contributing to The Wall Street Journal, Air Canada's enRoute, Eater, USA Today, Condé Nast Traveller, BlackBook, Curbed, Gridskipper, Deadspin, and Fox News. I also was the founding editor of Eater Louisville and the director of content and editorial strategy for Louisville.com.
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