5 Favorites: Forecastle 2013

July 18, 2013 No comments yet

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Do you love music festivals but hate giant crowds?  Are you sick of missing half a set because you are constantly “standing in the line for the bathroom”?

Massive festivals like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Coachella no longer appeal to me – but I don’t ’want to be limited to arena concerts and seated venues.  I like being outside and I’m not a dad.

Luckily Based-God has blessed us with many options for mid-tier music festivals: Hangout Fest, First City Fest, Pitchfork Fest, Newport Folk Fest, Loufest, Laneaway etc…

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At the top of my list is Forecastle Festival. Some writers have dubbed it “Baby Bonaroo” but I showered 3 times and slept in a bed so I don’t know about all that.  The festival has the perfect mix of manageable crowds, convenient stages, an accommodating host city and major musicians that put on a hell of a show.

Here are my top 5 favorite aspects of Forecastle 2013


5. Matt & Kim

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I admittedly don’t know shit about Matt & Kim – they were naked at some point on the internet?  I now know one thing about Matt & Kim – they are damn fun.  Between Jay-Z references and Salt & Peppa covers, I was asking myself “why don’t I listen to them?” They have great stage presence, engage the audience and keep people moving.

4. Robert Plant presents The Sensational Space Shifters

Did I tell you guys I saw Robert Plant? Oh, and he played “What Is And What Never Should Be.” #HumbleBrag Needless to say the crowd was feeling it.  The rain cut the set short…. but I still saw Robert Plant. F**k you rain.

3. Ryan Hemsworth

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Ryan Hemsworth is one of MJF’s favorite DJs.  He seamlessly transitions between musical genres and blessed the Forecastle crowd with both dance music and rap samples. I’m pretty sure Ryan and I have the exact same 90’s R&B collection – ON COMPACT DISC.  It was somewhat down-tempo and perfect for my Sunday morning hangover – before my dose of whiskey.

2. Moon Taxi

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Moon taxi is a legitimate live musical act.   The Nashville band has two guitarists that both know how to handle an axe.  After a brief stint at Big Boi, Moon Taxi was my first full set at Forecastle.  They kicked the weekend off right.  I was swaying and alternating between sips of bourbon and Sierra Nevada – they had 20oz torpedos.  To add to the visuals, the band invited four stuffed animals on stage right as the sun was setting.  It was nice.

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1. Louisville

Louisville is a destination city.  AC Entertainment knew that when they got on board with Forecastle last year for its 10th anniversary (They produce Bonnaroo). The past two years have been considerably bigger than my first experience with Forecastle in 2005.

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The city packs a punch.  I worked in Louisville last year and fell in love– being there during Derby and Forecastle didn’t hurt.  Louisville has a wonderful southern charm in the heart of bourbon country, which makes it an ideal place for outdoor music and drinking.

The Ohio River is a pleasant backdrop to Waterfront Park – A conveniently small four-stage venue with character.  I was able to walk from act to act without missing any set time – No 45 minute treks between stages to catch a band.  I also waited in the beer line for 5 minutes total.

The locals are extremely nice and accommodating. As a Hoosier fan, I share a common Wildcat hatred with many of the festivalgoers.  They wore their Cardinal championship gear with pride –My IU shirt received many HOO HOO HOOSIER chants all weekend.

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The bars are conveniently close.  New Lou, Bardstown Road, 4th Street (If you’re into that sort of thing) all exude energy. The bourbon flows all over town – it even sneaks into their beer (see Bluegrass Brewing Company).

Check out Louisville if you can, and what better weekend to do it than Forecastle.

Note: Headliners were big and lived up to the hype.

  • Old Crowe Medicine Show played Wagon Wheel
  • String Cheese made me miss High School
  • The Black Keys were The Black Keys – rocking, energetic, crisp
  • Jim James covered “Let it Be.”
  • Flaming Lips were as eccentric as ever
  • Forecastle Incident was Kentucky Bluegrass Heaven

I found myself enjoying the smaller stages more, which is evident in my top five. That is not to say you can’t come to Forecastle for the headliners – because I did, and they rocked.