This year’s installment of the Forecastle Festival will bring both veterans back to Louisville’s Waterfront Park this weekend, as well as it will usher in first-time acts that are sure to take the event into uncharted waters.
The three-day Forecastle lineup for 2019 breaks neatly into three distinct themes: A funked-out, dance-party undercard on Friday that’s boosted by modern rock at the top of the bill, while Saturday will delve deeper into hip hop and electronic music, before the festival drifts back to its more rustic roots on Sunday.
The twin sirens of Lucius, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, will assuredly bring a full crowd to the second-largest of the stages early on Friday. Many of them will stick around for electro-funk pioneers Chromeo, while those yearning for a higher dose of guitar rebellion will stake out the main stage for the Forecastle return of Cold War Kids and Portugal. the Man, a perfect one-two setup for The Killers’ headlining set.
Other options before The Killers include a legit schedule conflict between Nashville alt-rockers Judah & the Lion on the Boom Stage, a Forecastle first but a return to the Waterfront after playing a prior Derby Festival event, against the airy global-soul of London-based collective Jungle, overtaking the Ocean Stage.
Saturday will see the return of Forecastle staple Moon Taxi, with loud amps and cover-song aces up their sleeves, as well as the yearly appearance of the rockstar conductor of the Louisville Orchestra, Teddy Abrams, supported a revolving door of musician cameos.
The bigger story on Saturday, however, will be the deep hip-hop influence, with Nelly bringing a slate of retro chart toppers, while Playboi Carti should deliver a more contemporary flow. Closing the night with what arguably is Forecastle’s most anticipated set, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals’ full ensemble will go beyond the box of the traditional construct of rhyme and beats. For the uninitiated, think Outkast in overdrive spiraling even deeper into Outer Space.
The final host of acts to perform at Forecastle on Sunday will draw things back to the festival’s wheelhouse of critically acclaimed singer-songwriters and other notables from NuLu-area Spotify playlists, Anderson East, Dawes, and Forecastle frequent-fliers The Avetts closing.
The Ocean Stage will bounce early with the New Orleans genius of Big Freedia and later with the highly technical jam-funk of Lettuce, while Andrew Bird loops together chirps, whistles and other stray sounds into songs on the Boom Stage, ahead of electro-charged indie rockers Chvrches.
Throughout the weekend, a collective of Louisville-area DJs will keep the party going strong away from the stages in the woods of the Waterfront, in the Party Cove, and there’s the WFPK-sponsored curation of rising acts each afternoon and evening on the Port Stage.