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The Best Artists and Onlookers of Forecastle Festival

The lines were so short. MUCH AMAZE.

The post-music festival blues are real people and I still have not recovered, but here are my thoughts on the music and more importantly, you, the people, of Louisville’s Forecastle Festival.

Closure. This will surely bring closure.

The Peoples:

The generation gap was on full display at Forecastle this past weekend between stages and across genres.

This is true of any music festival because young and old, we’re not all here to see The Dead Phish jam out; no, we’re here to see the three bands we’re big fans of then wander about aimlessly, observing the rest and pretending to know who Britt Daniel is.

The age gap specifically was most evident where else, but at the electronic stages.

While millenials, (a term that’s caught on quicker than manic pixie dream girl) caught dance performances “under the bridge” by Flume, Kygo, Chrome Sparks, Mimosa, and the douchily named, Claude VonStroke, the vast majority of the older crowd caught… anyone else.

Sun Kil Moon vs. Claude VonStroke; Ray Lamontagne vs. Flume; Band of Horses vs. Kygo–different strokes for different folks.

photo 3 (3)
I saw little to no crowdsurfing at Dwight Yoakam. Shocked.

The accessibility of Forecastle may exacerbate the rather “niche” like atmosphere of the festival more than larger scale, genre-centric fests–your Coachellas, Electric Forests, Newport Folk Fests, on and on and on.

Forecastle and, particularly, its Bonnaroo alum organizers should be praised for both the diversity of its lineup and the absolute ease with which just about anyone with a pulse could attend this festival.

Camping in a mudpit purgatory with no running water for 4 days isn’t for everyone, and neither is dance music; that’s why Forecastle is such a win. Although yes, I saw approximately 23487236782553 Bonnaroo shirts at Forecastle. We get it. You went to Bonnaroo.

Seeing a 70-year old grandmother wearing a “Dwight Yoakam girl” shirt with thumbs on it next to a hula hoop girl dressed as the Little Mermaid makes my heart soar.

Short lines for food, drink, and entrance, short walking distances from stage to stage, somewhat humane porta-potties–these little things make the diversity of Forecastle possible, and thus, explain much of the generation gap I observed throughout the festival.

You may not make the same number of lifelong friends from the foxhole as you would camping at Counterpoint, but you get to see solid music surrounded by relatively clean people.

Now let’s take a look at some of my favorite individuals I had the pleasure of creeping on at 2014’s Forecastle Fest.


There were some protestors outside the gates of Forecastle, one of whom was shouting into a megaphone as several of his grumpy brethren handed out these lovely cards, which I of course snagged.

photo 2 (1)

So they were protesting…. everything!

Cannot wait to get my What Would Jesus Destroy bracelet.

On to the Festival itself.


What can only be described as “Louisville fans” these delightful folk rolled around for an intense makeout session (his shirt was off at one point) during, who else but blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr.’s Friday afternoon set.

A crowd was gathered at a safe distance to watch what can only be described as Bloodhound Gang-esque animalism.


Harley Davidson belt buckle, leopard print shirt, Nike Shox. Winning.


As I went down in the river to pray.

shirt guy

Four Loko sponsored Forecastle, leading to a rash of Four Loko head garb. Unsure whether terrifying anime fairies also sponsored the event–looking into it.


Booty had me like.


Colonial general guy looking sharp.

Photo by Michael Powell

Photo by Michael Powell

The squid of the “under the bridge” stage followed me EVERYWHERE.


The generation/what the hell is this guy doing gap on awkward display. This guy’s dance moves made me wish I had Vine. Kind of. He also had on easily 8+ wristbands, presumably from the various festivals he’s somehow managed to pay for this summer. And attend. Alone.


The Music:

— I just have a few comments on the music of Forecastle as I want to avoid going on and on for days, but the #1 performance has to go to the world’s biggest Cubs fan, Jack White. He was one of only 2 artists to have an encore the entire weekend, he went on an extra 30 minutes and even (gasp!) after curfew.

The above video of “Icky Thump” one of the jams he followed the regular show with, and it was incredible. Being a fan of The Dead Weather and The Raconteurs, and obviously The White Stripes, seeing him solo was even more of a ride than I’d imagined.

— Outkast is fun. So much fun. Shocking right? Having seen Big Boi in a chair and all up on his kryptonite at last year’s festival, adding Andre 3000 to the equation was just FSDKJSGHJGHJHGE. Although the most crowded show of Forecastle, the mood of the crowd kept even the most claustrophobic from going into a panic; it was just so…. light? Yea, light.

The best part–when André 3000 brought some ladies on stage to dance and told all the ladies in the crowd not to wear panties ever again.

I’ll take that into considera—-.

Kygo was my favorite dance performance of the festival, and though he wasn’t the headliner of this genre, I loved his set, love his music, love his chill brand of electronica SO MUCH. It is not dubstep, I swear it to you skeptics, and you should check him out.

— On the other hand, Flume’s set felt so complete, almost as if he were his own bass-tastic orchestra simply playing for an hour. The guy transitions between songs more smoothly than any other DJ I’ve ever seen.

Flume collaborates with excellent artists as well. Flume asked “do you guys like Chet Faker?” to a thunderous yes, followed soon after by Lorde’s Tennis Court, which debuted at Coachella earlier this year.

I had front row for this show, and thank the gods I did.

— Merrill Garbus and the ladies of tUne-yArds are legitimate rockstars, and I did NOT know that. We’ve all heard Water Fountains but outside of that, I had no idea what to expect from the “pop” star’s group. Combining elements of experimental rock, folk, rap, electronica, ukulele-ing, the tUne-yArds set was the most diverse of the festival, and one of the most fun. They are weird as HELL.

The Replacements played their entire set with Billie Joe Armstrong, who even kissed frontman Westerberg during “Can’t Hardly Wait.” It was touching.

— I attended the Moon Taxi late show on Saturday, despite having seen them 4 times prior. Worth. It. These jam rockers are some of the happiest performers I’ve ever seen, and it’s freaking infectious. The Nashville natives will be playing Moontower Festival in Lexington/Midway this coming Saturday. I suggest you attend.

I thought I would be somewhat disinterested, but I was not and neither was a crowd of onlookers that felt like it was wandering by, scrounging up food, but was sucked into this set. Those guys still got it.

Beautiful photo by my friend Alex Holt

Perfect photo by Alex Holt

I saw many other great shows including a surprisingly energetic Band of Horses, Gary Clark Jr. (good at guitar), Twenty-One Pilots (do a lot with 2 guys!), Local Natives (love), Spoon (like), Sharon Jones (souly), Dwight Yoakam (kuntry), Nickel Creek (bluegrassy), Jenny Lewis (cutesy) and of course, the loveable nerd that is Beck, but I may be too sad to reflect anymore.

Yes, I’m too sad. I’m also sad I missed Lucius. Listen to some Lucius.

And go to Forecastle in 2015. You won’t regret it.

Article written by Brennan English

Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. @BrennanKSR