J.K. McKnight, the Forecastle Festival's
captain who founded the event dedicated to music, art and activism, expects as many as 20,000 fans to attend it this year -- an increase of 19,900 percent from the inaugural event, held just eight years ago.
"We've sold tickets in 33 states and three countries since March," McKnight said, of the event which began as a gathering of 100 friends in 2002.
This year's Forecastle Festival will be July 10-12 at the Riverfront Belvedere.
Part of the reason McKnight expects the Forecastle Festival to do so well this year is the appearance of blues-rock jam band Widespread Panic
, "They're only doing three shows this whole summer," McKnight said of the group that will be headlining the West Stage on both Saturday and Sunday nights.
McKnight doesn't believe the economy will have much impact on the attendance. "The concert industry isn't really down at all. It's been doing huge numbers for six years," he said. "I think you can tell by the growth of our festival that that's true as well."
He did add, however, the recession is causing concert goers to hold off from buying tickets until the date of the show draws near: a trend that doesn't affect the audience's enjoyment of a concert or festival but does make it harder for producers (or captains) to plan.
The major change this year for this year's Forecastle Festival is the date: in the past it'd been held on the last weekend of July, but the eight annual festival will be on the second weekend of the month instead.
"The last weekend in July, if you study the National Weather Service data, which is what we did extensively after last year's festival,...is just becoming more and more extreme," McKnight said. In addition to great live music, introspective art and activism opportunities, the last three festivals also featured torrential downpours and a heat index as high as 106 degrees.
McKnight said the other reason for the date change was the competition. "The past couple years a lot of other festivals have jumped in that last weekend of July and directly compete with us," he said, citing the Fuji Rock Festival
in Japan as another event drawing from the same talent pool of performers.
The new dates, however, come with an advantage, McKnight said. "It does route nicely between Rothbury
[Festival, July 2-5 in Michigan] and Pitchfork
[Music Festival, July 17-19 in Chicago], which is really nice for us because this year especially we're drawing some of that Rothberry audience and mixing that West Stage audience [fans of national acts] with the East Stage audience, which is always more indie rock, which is kind of our Pitchfork audience. It's nice for us to be in the middle there."
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.