On day 3 of the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, I was in for a treat. Kicking off on the Port Stage is a relatively new band by the name of The Wild Feathers. This five-piece band based in Nashville have a very energetic set, and got the day started off right. Influenced by the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Band, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, and even The Rolling Stones, they have melded a very unique sound of their own. With an alternative-country sound, these guys still had plenty of rocking to do. Bounding across the stage, they were waking up the day’s crowd in a big way.
The second set I caught was the progressive bluegrass band, Greensky Bluegrass, playing on the Boom Stage. Playing all traditional bluegrass instruments, these guys weaved some wonderful and fun bluegrass tunes. Some of them even played the old-fashioned way, micing up their instruments instead of plugging them into an amp.
Back on the Mast Stage, I caught Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I had heard a lot of good things about this band, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer energy and fun that they brought to the stage. Blending folk rock, hard rock, pop-rock vocals and some southern rock for good measure, they played like the end of the world was coming, and that they were the soundtrack to the apocalypse! Grace was exhuding charisma, and rocked out like nobody was watching on stage. The men in the audience were swooning to her good looks and voice, while the women partied out because, well, why not?
Finally, the last set I got to catch had started. Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters had taken the Mast Stage. Opening up with a unique rendition of “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You“, the crowd went wild. Early on into the set, Robert had proved to us all at Forecastle that he still had his Led Zeppelin wail! “In the Mood” and “Tin Pan Valley” created a swaying motion between the members of the crowd, which was fitting with the seaworthy metaphor and imagery of the Forecastle Festival. As they paid wonderful tribute to Howlin’ Wolf by covering “Spoonful“, the sea of festival-goers continued their waxing and waning like the tide. A haunting, and incredibly different arrangement of “Black Dog” brought the crowd up again, filling them with energy, while the band fed off of it. After a couple more songs, the show ended with “What Is and What Should Never Be” just as the rain was starting.
On my way off the festival grounds at Waterfront Park in Louisville, I got to thinking as the rain began to pound my sun-beaten, travel-worn body. Forecastle Festival was not only a fun, and successful event, but it was certainly a well rounded and thoroughly enjoyable experience. Although not as big as Bonnaroo or other festivals, it is still growing each year, drawing a variety of bands, new and old. I look forward to see what they have planned next year. J.K. McKnight and Holly Weyler have put together a wonderful event for the city of Louisville, and I’m not alone in thinking that things will be bigger and even better next year!