3 massive music festivals in Louisville have new mud-free home

By Kaitlin Rust | WAVE 3 News

Three music festivals — Bourbon and Beyond, Louder Than Life and the new Hometown Rising — will have a bigger and drier venue for at least the next 10 years.

Danny Wimmer Presents (DWP), the festival production company, signed that deal to avoid a repeat of last year.

DWP was forced to call off day two of Bourbon and Beyond in 2018 and cancel Louder Than Life the following week because Champions Park was deemed unsafe after non-stop rain.

Champions Park flooding
Heavy rain wreaked havoc on Champions Park, forcing the festivals to cancel.

“It’s obviously crushing for the audience,” CEO Danny Hayes said. “People make an investment, come to the show and for the weather to cause us to cancel —  it’s just terrible.”

Thousands were sent packing after the weather turned on the crowd and Champions Park hasn’t really recovered.

That’s why DWP hasn’t been able to come out and fix the damage from last year. They said weather just hasn’t been their friend, but at the new site they say weather won’t be an issue.

Hayes said if the shows were at the Expo Center last year, they would have never been canceled.

Now, the DWP festivals will be held at a new venue called the Highland Festival Ground, made up of various properties along Phillips Lane rented from the Kentucky Expo Center.

RELATED >> Hometown Rising elevates Louisville music festival scene

“There was just no way we could expect an audience to trust us to stay at Champions Park,” Hayes said. “It would cost millions of dollars to put in the structure we would’ve needed to put in to make it sustainable.”

Highland Festival Grounds map
The new festival home is near several hotels, right off I-65.

Back-to-back-to-back festivals now have a place to call home. DWP said this venue will be able to handle the demands of the festivals better.

“It’s built for weather,” Hayes said. “I think parking will be smoother, there are hotels out there. We’re really excited we’ll be able to put on the experience that our fans deserve.”

Hometown Rising will be the first to take place at the new site, September 14 and 15.

DWP site planners will take a look at the area beforehand to see what improvements they can make to the land.

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