Forecastle is getting bigger and bigger. That means more bands and dire scheduling conflicts. There’s lots of overlap, especially Friday. Good for us though is that it doesn’t take a big trek to get to each stage so you don’t have to factor in walking time like you would at other festivals.
Here’s how I recommend you go about Forecastle to catch the most and best music:
First sets, first conflict: Public vs. Old Baby vs. Benjamin Booker—Three high quality acts will kick off Forecastle. Benjamin Booker is a scratchy voiced, blues guitarist that will begin a tour with Jack White after Forecastle. Old Baby is the first Louisville band to grace the stage and will rock your face off. Public is will be for those who want to tease into the day as they represent a catchy, pop, love song vibe.
Calm before the storm: Soon, you will find the need to go to every stage with no break because Friday evening is loaded with great acts. After the first block of shows, I say you have two hours to meander about the stages and grab food for what will be a great night. You can choose from JJ Grey & Mofro, Mimosa, Against Me!, and more during this block.
Set after set (this is why Friday is the best): St. Lucia >> Gary Clark Jr. >> Local Natives >> Twenty One Pilots >> Spoon >> Outkast. Now that is an absolutely loaded block. Most of these sets overlap in some fashion, so choose your time wisely. There are even other bands to choose from like Willie Watson, Leagues, and The Districts during these times.
Go hard, go late: Both Friday and Saturday have some spectacular late night shows. Friday will see St. Paul & The Broken Bones play with Curtis Harding at Headliners and Mimosa play with Beni Haze on The Belle of Louisville. Other local venues like The New Vintage and Zanzabar will be staying open late with shows of their own to catch the Forecastle buzz. Don’t let the night end at the waterfront.
Soak up a hopeful sun: Start what will be a long Saturday with a diverse collection of Hurray For The Riff Raff (old time country/folk), The Wans (fuzzy, distorted, rock), and Boy & Bear (Australian Mumford-y folk/pop)
Tinge of local: Next you should be checking out two acts with local connections. The best hip hop of the weekend will be found on the WFPK Port Stage at 4 p.m. (sorry Outkast). JaLin Roze, born and raised in Louisville, will take the stage. At a similar time, Spanish Gold, whose drummer I’m sure you know by now is My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan, will play on the Mast Stage.
Guitar, guitar, guitar: My final four acts of Saturday will be all about the strings: Lord Huron with what I’ll call desert folk, Jason Isbell who according to some had the best country album of 2013, Band of Horses that will wow us with their acoustic and electric set up, and of course headliner Jack White with all the rock magic he will throw down.
Another late night: Both late night shows on Saturday will be good times regardless of which you see. It’s definitely hard to choose. On one hand, there’s the trio of Matrimony, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, and The 23 String Band playing at Headliners. Collaborations and surprises are promised. On the other hand, Moon Taxi, a Forecastle favorite, will be playing at Mercury Ballroom with Chancellor Warhol. The members of Moon Taxi are extraordinary showmen and never disappoint.
Ease into the day: As is with Friday and Saturday, Sunday begins with a trio of acts that make for a great way to start the day. Matrimony brings great harmonies and thumping folk pop, both of which will make you think of Fleetwood Mac. The Weeks are a southern rock influenced young band that can excel both acoustically and electrically. Finally, Lucius is a great indie pop led by two women who know their way around a good harmony.
Quartet of folks doing folk: In the middle of early Sunday evening, you should get a heavy dosage of folk from Brett Dennen, Trampled by Turtles, Jenny Lewis, and Nickel Creek. All of them are huge favorites of local radio station WFPK and are sure not to disappoint.
End the fest with the best: As the sun sets on the waterfront for the finals shows of Forecastle, you should catch three acts who have been around the block a few times. Pick yourself up after a long weekend and finish Forecastle with The Replacements (who are on their reunion tour), Ray Lamontage, and Beck. You’ve made it this far. Consider yourself a success.
This is just one festival attendee’s opinion. Make Forecastle what you want as there are tons of attractions seeking your attention. Regardless with good weather (knock and wood) and good friends, Forecastle could be the best it has ever been.
Comment below if I’m missing your favorite act. I’m willing to be convinced.
Photo courtesy of Forecastle Facebook page.