You can still expect Louisville acts to be a part the Forecastle Festival after Live Nation bought a controlling share of the festival’s parent company, AC Entertainment.
“Forecastle will still be booked by the same team as it’s always been, so you can expect we’ll continue to have a nice sampling of local and regional artists,” AC Entertainment representative Hannah Houser told LEO.
AC Entertainment, which bought into Forecastle in 2011, “continues to be the creative, driving force behind both day-to-day operations and long-term vision of the company,” according to a statement released by the company, meaning they anticipate no substantial change to Louisville’s biggest music festival.
Even though the festival has dramatically shifted away from its small, locally-focused Tyler Park roots, it has continued to incorporate Louisville-grown bands, with performances by artists such as White Reaper, Houndmouth and James Lindsay. It arranged a Slint reunion and created a collaborative, unique experience with sets including Dr. Dundiff & Friends, something that showed off a large portion of the city’s excellent hip-hop scene to a large audience. Last year, local acts 1200, Joan Shelley, Teddy Abrams & Friends performed at Forecastle.
“There are definitely two major reasons,” Jecorey Arthur, who performers as 1200, said about the importance of Forecastle continuing to book local bands. “It started with local bands, so it’s always nice to connect it back to the origin. It’s also nice to connect it to geographically where it came from. Beyond that, this is probably one of the only opportunities that a lot of artists will get to be on literarily the same stages as nationally-touring artists. When you compare [nationally-touring artists] with some of the [local] artists who have played before — myself or Dr. Dundiff or James Lindsey — we have day jobs. I’m a school teacher. We don’t do music full time, and we’re on stages with people who are living that dream. It’s an inspirational thing for us. To communicate with them — to pick their brains — I think is very important … for local artists to get that platform.”
Forecastle, which started as a small gathering in Tyler Park in 2002, has grown into a national attraction, with an annual attendance that is continuing to grow, with at least 65,000 people attending in 2016. While founder JK McKnight and Holly McKnight are not commenting right now, they forwarded our request for comment to AC Entertainment.
There are no anticipated changes to the structure of AC Entertainment, Ashley Capps — who founded the company 25 years ago — told The Courier Journal yesterday: Live Nation “came to us not wanting us to fit into their world but really wanting AC Entertainment to be more of what AC Entertainment already was,” Capps said. “You’re not going to see Forecastle change as a result of this.”
And, according to Houser, one of the advantages is that they get Live Nation’s connections: “Live Nation has a lot of international and national touring acts that they work with exclusively. It will give us access to the resources and relationships of the largest concert promoter in the world.”
So, if what we’re being told comes to pass, Forecastle could have a wider range of bands to choose from, without squeezing out the handful of local bands it still books.