Forecastle music festival recap

Nestled on the riverfront of Louisville, Kentucky, Forecastle attracted a variety of music lovers with its diverse lineup, from pop singer-songwriter Sam Smith, to ILoveMakonnen of “Tuesday” fame to Louisville’s own modern rock band My Morning Jacket.

“It’s good to be home,” Jim James of My Morning Jacket said to a crowd of Forecastle Festival goers Saturday in the middle of the band’s Saturday headliner set.

Standing next to me in the crowd was Louisville’s Emily Hall, who said she has waited more than half her life to see My Morning Jacket.

“I’ve been listening to them since I was ten,” Hall said before the set began. “So it’s going to be great.”

Hall also said she suspected the crowd mostly consisted of Louisvillians because MMJ is such a hometown favorite.

And one could tell the band was home just from the epic performance – the set ended after a one-hour encore, making MMJ’s Bonnaroo set seem like a half-hearted practice run (and it was by no means sub-par).

Festival-goers were prompted to leave the venue by officials during Sam Smith’s performance due to bad weather Friday. While Smith performed his hit “Lay Me Down,” high winds caused equipment to blow around the stage area.

No damage was reported by Forecastle, but the venue opened an hour late Saturday as the festival crew prepared the venue.

Up until Sam Smith’s set, Houndmouth, Cold War Kids and Kieza were among the artists that performed.

Leading up to MMJ Saturday, ILoveMakonnen and Cherub were the sets to catch for a midday dance party. The real place to get down at Forecastle, however, is after the festival venue closes and the late night shows begin.

The Floozies late-night performance brought the festival spirit to a smaller venue, and played a set featuring remixes of Hey Arnold! tunes and Space Jam that would make any true 90’s kid explode with nostalgia.

MMJ was not the only Louisville original to rock socks off at Forecastle. White Reaper delivered a Sunday performance soaked in the spirit of punk rock, complete with crowd surfers, a stage full of rowdy pals and a skeleton puppet.

Diarrhea Planet followed White Reaper, a garage-rock six piece that is three quarters guitar, opening with the theme from Jurassic Park before proceeding to shred in the spirit of singer-guitarist Jordan Smith’s thigh tattoo.

The most anticipated moment of my Forecastle was seeing Modest Mouse. As I watched from the second row, the band members switched instruments nearly every song, the two drummers played off one another and the third percussionist and everything I loved about the Firefly performance came to life once again.

After briefly stepping into the trap with RL Grime, the sun set as Widespread Panic closed out the festival with seemingly endless jams and a crowd full of LED-clad people.

Teeming with the true down-home spirit of Kentucky (and bourbon aplenty), the three-day festival was a unique experience on my festival tour, as the dynamic of city festivals is very different. However, it was not missing the vibe of a traditional camping festival, and I will be glad to hop aboard again in the future. 

Megan Osborne can be contacted at [email protected].