What To Do, Where To Go During Gonzofest

This is part of a package of articles on GonzoFest 2019. For more, click here.

One of the wonderful things about GonzoFest Louisville on Saturday, July 20 is the variety of performances and talks. You’ve got psychobilly rock bands and world music playing with spoken word artists scattered throughout (sometimes reciting their poetry with musical backing) — all happening outside of the Louisville Free Public Library at 301 York St. Inside, writers and reporters who worked alongside Hunter S. Thompson or who were inspired by him will talk about his legacy or their own work, including an appearance from Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi. There is so much going on that you might have trouble figuring out what to do. Here is a schedule of events to help you out. And, if you still haven’t gotten enough Gonzo, the Speed Art Museum is hosting a special exhibit, “Gonzo! The Illustrated Guide to Hunter S. Thompson,” through Nov. 10.



1 p.m.
HPK Threshold
Experimental jazz band

1:45 p.m.
Arielle Biddix
Spoken word artist

2 p.m.
Louisville rock “supergroup”

2:45 p.m.
Rob Avezedo
Spoken word artist

3 p.m.
Casey Powell

3:45 p.m.
Tony Powell
Spoken word artist

4 p.m.
Big Atomic
Jam, funk, rock band

4:45 p.m.
Grant Goodwine and Miranda McDonald
An interview with Goodwine, comic artist, and Louisville freelance journalist McDonald

5 p.m.
Ron Whitehead and The Storm Generation
Whitehead is a cofounder of GonzoFest and an accomplished poet. He’ll perform his latest works with musical backing.

5:45 p.m.
Mayor Greg Fischer
Louisville’s mayor will give this year’s GonzoFest keynote address.

6 p.m.
Vice Tricks
Psychobilly rock band

6:45 p.m.
Ron Whitehead and Heidi Taylor.
Whitehead performs spoken word with Heidi Taylor, another Kentucky poet.

7 p.m.
Zu Zu Ya Ya
Large, world music band



Noon-12:55 p.m.
“Kentucky Journalism from Nixon to Trump”
Louisville media folks and a Thompson expert talk about how political reporting in Kentucky has changed from when Thompson covered the Richard Nixon administration to now, the era of President Donald Trump. You’ll hear from moderator Timothy Denevi, a Thompson historian, the former Courier Journal opinion editor Keith Runyon, Ryland Barton, Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio and Olivia Krauth of Insider Louisville.

1:15-2:10 p.m.
“Literary Journalism and the Birth of Gonzo”
William McKeen, chair of the department of journalism at Boston University, will discuss the media scene preceding and surrounding the Thompson era.

2:30-3:25 p.m.
“Ed McClanahan: A Conversation with the Natural Man”
McClanahan is an author and educator, recently inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame, with a storied career that picked up around the same time as Thompson’s. He’ll read some of his work before sitting down with UofL professor Paul Griner. A Q&A will follow.

3:45-4:40 p.m.
Matt Taibbi
Taibbi, contributing editor for Rolling Stone and political writer, documents the country’s “political and social ills” in a style reminiscent of Gonzo journalism. •