A Guide To Louisville Music Festivals in 2019

For its size, Louisville and the surrounding area deliver a decent number of music festivals each year. Local and national producers and production companies are investing their dollars in music festivals of various genres to bring out hoards of music lovers — from those in crop tops with bejeweled belly buttons to those with dad bods hauling wagons full of toddlers. From spring to fall, if you’re looking to get outside more and enjoy listening and supporting a creative music scene, here’s a list to get you started.

Forest Fest

Saturday, May 18
10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Jefferson Memorial Forest
12304 Holsclaw Road, Fairdale, Kentucky
Began in 2005
Genre: Traditional and progressive styles of bluegrass and Americana from local and national artists
2019 Artists: Michael Cleveland, Becky Buller, Amythyst Kiah, Relic, Grizzly Goat, Ida Clare
More Info: Search Facebook 

Abbey Road on The River

Thursday, May 23-27
Times vary
Big Four Station Park, Jeffersonville, Indiana
Began in 2005
Genre: Music honoring the spirit of The Beatles from national artists
2019 Artists: Peter & Jeremy, The Buckinghams, The Grass Roots, The Cowsills
More Info: arotr.com

Kentucky Reggae Festival

Saturday, May 25-26
2 p.m.-11 p.m.
Louisville Water Tower Park, 3005 River Road
Began in 2003
Genre: Reggae/Caribbean national bands
2019 Artists: PMA, Universal Xpression, King Jazzy, Roots Vibration, New Kingston, The Quasi Kings, The Ark Band, The Cliftones, Mighty Mystic and the Hard Roots Movement, DJ Mixa
More Info: kentuckyreggaefestival.com

Kentuckiana Pride Festival

Friday, June 14-15
Times vary
Big Four Lawn, Waterfront Park
Began in 2000
Genre: National/local singer-songwriter/rap/punk/ and various others in support of LGBTA+
2019 Artists: Daya, First Ladies of Disco, Mykki Blanco, Cakes Da Killa, Dusty Ray Bottoms, Brody Ray, Myylo, Cover Me Badd, Bridge 19, GRLwood, Jess Lamb, Sheri Streeter, Marjorie Lee, Siri Imani (of Triiibe), Lung, Delafaye more
More Info: kypride.com/festival/

Blues Brews & BBQ Fest

Friday, June 21-22
5 p.m.-11pm, 4 p.m.-11 p.m.
Louisville Water Tower Park, 3005 River Road
Began in 1998
Genre: New Orleans and Memphis style blues
2019 Artists:  The Saints, Big Poppa Stampley, Toronzo Cannon and The Chicago Way, The Revelators, King Bee and The Stingers, Laurie Jane and The 45s and more
More Info: louisvillebluesandbbqfestival.com

Poorcastle Festival

Friday, July 5-7
1 p.m.-11 p.m.
Breslin Park, 1388 Lexington Road
Began in 2012
Genre: Highlighting local music from rock/hip-hop/indie/funk and various others
2019 Artists:  Jaxon Lee Swain, Peter Wesley, Twenty First Century Fox, Phourist & The Photons, ATOMO, The Cut Family Foundation, Lung, Typhoid Beach, Comforter, Barrel & Biscuit  and more
More Info: poorcastle.com

Forecastle Festival

Friday, July 12-14
Times vary
Waterfront Park, 401 River Road
Began in 2002
Genre: Current national/regional headlining artists plus local artists and local DJ cove
2019 Artists:  The Killers, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, The Avett Brothers, Portugal. The Man, Maggie Rogers, Tyler Childers, Judah & The Lion, Nelly, Chvrches, Moon Taxi, First Aid Kit, Dawes, Lettuce, Lucius and more
More Info: forecastlefest.com

GonzoFest

Saturday, July 20
Noon-8 p.m.
Louisville Free Public Library, 301 York St.
Began in 2010
Genre: A literary and music festival honoring the legacy of Louisville born writer Hunter S. Thompson featuring local bands/artists
2019 Artists: TBA
More Info: gonzofestlouisville.com

Grateville Dead Fest

Friday, July 26-28
Times vary
Brown-Forman Amphitheater, 1301 River Road
Began in 2015
Genre: A celebration of the Grateful Dead featuring a plethora of psych-rock from local bands
2019 Artists:  TBA
More Info: grateville.com

Derby City Jazz Festival

Saturday, Aug. 10-11
4 p.m.-11 p.m.; 12:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
Iroquois Amphitheater, 1080 Amphitheater Road
Began in 2015
Genre: National/regional/local artists of smooth jazz
2019 Artists: Nick Colionne, Marion Meadows, Joey Sommerville, Regan Whiteside, Cal Harris Jr., Lindsay Webster, Adam Hawley, Lin Roundtree, Sheryl Rouse, Rahsaan Patterson and more
More Info: derbycityjazzfest.com

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Seven Sense Festival

Friday, Aug.16-17
Times vary
Headliners and Distillery Commons
Began in 2013
Genre: Predominately rock from local and regional artists
2019 Artists:  TBA
More Info: sevensensefest.com

WorldFest

Friday, Aug. 30 – Sept. 2
Times vary
Entrance at Fifth and Main streets
Began in 2002
Genre: World music from national/local bands
2019 Artists: TBA
More Info: louisvilleky.gov/government/city-events/worldfest/

Rock the Water Tower

Sunday, Sept. 1
4 p.m.-11 p.m.
Louisville Water Tower Park, 3005 River Road
Began in 1983
Genre: Local/regional rock cover bands
2019 Artists: TBA
More Info: rockthewatertower.com

PeteFest

Friday, Sept. 6-8
Times vary
8401 Dawson Hill Road (Camping options)
Began in 2016
Genre: Predominately local plus national rock/folk/psych bands to raise funds and awareness for mental health advocacy
2019 Artists: Rebirth Brass Band, Joan Shelley, Vessel, GRLwood, Bendigo Fletcher, The Local Honeys, Zach Longoria Project and more
More Info: petefest.com

National Jug Band Jubilee

Saturday, Sept.14
Noon-11pm
Brown-Forman Amphitheater, 1301 River Road
Began in 2004
Genre: Local/regional/national jug bands
2019 Artists: TBA
More Info: jugbandjubilee.com

Hometown Rising

Saturday, Sept. 14-15
Times vary
Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo Center, 937 Philips Lane (camping options)
Began in 2019
Genre: National country music artists
2019 Artists: Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Dwight Yoakam, Trace Adkins, Brett Young, Bret Michaels and more
More Info: hometownrising.com

Bourbon & Beyond

Friday, Sept. 20-22
Times vary
Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo Center, 937 Philips Lane, Louisville (camping options)
Began in 2017
Genre: National rock bands plus bourbon experiences
2019 Artists: Foo Fighters, Robert Plant, Zac Brown Band, ZZ Top, Daryl Hall & John Oates, John Fogerty, The Flaming Lips, Grace Potter, Squeeze, Leon Bridges and more
More Info: bourbonandbeyond.com

Louder Than Life

Friday, Sept. 27-29
Times vary
Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo Center, 937 Philips Lane, Louisville (camping options)
Began in 2014
Genre: National metal and rock bands
2019 Artists: Guns N’ Roses, Slipknot, Staind, Godsmack, Rob Zombie, Ice Cube, Marilyn Manson, Die Antwoord, Dropkick Murphys, Stone Temple Pilots and more
More Info: louderthanlifefestival.com

NuLu Fest

Saturday, Sept. 28
11 a.m.-11 p.m.
700 Block E. Market St.
Began in 2009
Genre: Local bands/artists featured from local record label SonaBLAST! Records
2019 Artists: TBA
More Info: nulubusinessassocation.wildapricot.org

Garvin Gate Blues Fest

Friday, Oct. 11-12
Times vary
500 W. Oak St., Louisville
Began in 1994
Genre: National/local blues bands
2019 Artists: TBA
More Info: garvingatebluesfestival.com

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