Louder Than Life is happening.
That’s the official word from the Danny Wimmer Presents camp, who announced last week that the outdoor Louisville hard rock festival is currently scheduled for Sept. 23-26 at the Highland Festival Grounds at the Kentucky Exposition Center. A lineup has yet to be released.
Last year, DWP canceled all three of its fall Louisville festivals — Louder Than Life, Bourbon & Beyond and Hometown Rising — because of the pandemic. This year, the company plans to cut its usually thick schedule of festivals across the nation down to four: Welcome To Rockville in Daytona Beach, Florida; Aftershock in Sacramento, California; the Inkcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival in Mansfield, Ohio; and Louder Than Life in Louisville.
“Taking our festivals down last year was one of the most painful experiences our company has ever lived through,” Danny Wimmer, founder of Danny Wimmer Presents, said in a press release. “And it wasn’t just painful for us, it was hard on the bands, fans, partners, cities and vendors. It has become clear to us that we will not be able to have our festivals this spring, and for a variety of reasons, it is not possible to produce all of our annual festivals in the window of fall 2021.”
“But how?” “What about COV—” Yes, we heard all the panic alarms too.
Currently, the safety measures that will be implemented at Louder Than Life are unclear, but the Q&A page of Louder Than Life’s website, states, “We are committed to the health and safety of all patrons and staff. Enhanced safety measures will be in place based on the latest guidance from city, county and state government health officials and will follow social distancing protocols and industry best practices.”
“Patrons and staff will be required to follow all safety precautions for admittance. All safety measures will be published prior to our events, posted at all entrances and enforced throughout our events.”
Danny Wimmer Presents declined to comment for this story. The city health department also did not respond to a request for comment. The Louisville Mayor’s Office referred comment to the Kentucky State Fair Board, which did not respond by press time.
In a world still fighting a brutal and aggressive pandemic, the announcement of Louder than Life came as surprising news. At the same time, the announcement felt oddly comforting. With vaccines going into more and more arms, the possibility of seeing live music doesn’t feel as far off, but with the fluid nature of the coronavirus, our willingness to stand in a crowd of breathers might challenge that. We’re in strange waters.
Scaling back the number of festivals may indicate that DWP intends to take safety concerns seriously, putting serious cash toward providing the best experience for its patrons as possible. The company’s festivals are known for their quality experiences at all ticket levels.
Last year, all of the DWP festivals had to be canceled because of the pandemic. Now, with more information about the disease and the spread, the limits of what events are possible are being tested. Just this past weekend with the Super Bowl hosting 22,000 fans in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers home at Raymond James Stadium, the drive toward returning to larger events is taking place. But, COVID has demonstrated little concern with our drives and desires. It remains to be seen if the Super Bowl will instead be a super-spreader event prompting more limits on large events or if safety protocols actually performed as they should.
Certainly, the Danny Wimmer Presents festivals are keeping an eye on these early events and making plans for their own. One of the already announced DWP events has decided on a reduced capacity and likely others will follow suit, as necessary.
Though concern about COVID remains high, it is a bright light to know that these glimmers of hope are still popping up and that DWP continues to see its investment in Louisville as an important piece of its festival production landscape.
At this time, no band announcements have been made and details remain few. As soon as we find out, you can be sure that LEO will report that information.