Memorial Day weekend brings festivities to communities all over the country, but Louisville has the distinction of hosting the United States’ largest Beatles’ festival that weekend – Abbey Road on the River.
Hosted in Louisville since 2005, AROTR draws in as many as 40,000 people every year, featuring famous acts like The Beach Boys, alongside numerous Beatles’ tribute bands from all over the world.
While Abbey Road on the River isn’t something that you can go and photograph whenever you want, the area in which it is held is. The Belvedere and Riverfront Plaza host many events throughout the year, including the Forecastle Festival and Thunder Over Louisville. When these events aren’t in session, the area still makes a great spot to come and enjoy the view of the Ohio River.
Originally proposed in 1930, the Belvedere is a staple of downtown Louisville. It took over 30 years to get the project going, however, as the city waited for money to revitalize downtown. In 1969, $13.5 million was secured for the project.
Surrounding Riverfront Plaza and the Belvedere are the Muhammad Ali Center, the Center for Performing Arts and the Galt House, as well as many fountains, statues and an amphitheater-style seating area.
A quick tip for taking photos: Try to look at things in different ways. Below is another photo of the George Rogers Clark statue as above, but taken from a wider angle. Each photo has its own distinct feel and composition.
From a balcony by the amphitheater, you can look down onto the street and view these beautiful facades, left standing after the buildings attached to them crumbled. These facades are part of the reason part of downtown is listed on the National register of Historic Places. The West Main Street Historic District boasts the largest collection of cast iron facades outside of SoHo, NYC.
I took the photo above from street level. Unfortunately, there were a couple of vendors blocking the balcony and a security guard lurking around, preventing me from getting a shot of the facades from above. However, it isn’t always like that. Usually, it would be easy to photograph it without having to go down to the street.
In addition to its beauty, the Belvedere’s events make a great atmosphere for people watching. Abbey Road on the River hosted a wide range of people of all ages – some dressed as hippies, some with their families in tow and many with a drink in hand.
I don’t know if these men were father and son or strangers, but they had definitely bonded over the music playing on the stage by the Muhammad Ali Center.
In a new series from Louisville.com, “Instagram Your Way Through Louisville,” I'm revisiting some of my favorite Louisville spots and hoping to find some new favorites.
Be sure to follow our Instagram account @louisvillecom to keep up with the project, and use the hashtags #DiscoverLou and #BestofLou to highlight the local places you're discovering this summer.
Louisville is a beautiful city, go out and explore it.
Photos: Michelle Eigenheer (Instagram: meeshasaur)