We’ve been buzzing about it for months, and, this weekend, July 17-19, it finally returns: Louisville’s annual Forecastle Festival will once again take place in downtown’s Waterfront Park, boasting a stellar lineup of artists like Sam Smith, Modest Mouse, Widespread Panic, My Morning Jacket, Tweedy, The Tallest Man on Earth, The War on Drugs, First Aid Kit, Desaparecidos, Gaslight Anthem, Cold War Kids, ZZ Ward, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Noah Gundersen, The Lone Bellow, Twin Peaks, and many, many more. Weekend passes and single day tickets are still on sale right here, so start planning your weekend trek up north, and get excited for the fest all week long with our preview coverage! First up, we’re running down the TEN Nashville acts who grace this year’s lineup; you probably already know ’em, and you definitely don’t want to miss ’em!
Sunday | Mast Stage | 1:30pm
Definitely bringing Forecastle a proper taste of the Nashville sound, local bluegrass faves The SteelDrivers are regulars at haunts like The Station Inn, with Grammy nominations and Billboard Country charting albums to boast. Their former frontman Chris Stapleton is also on this year’s bill, so maybe if we keep our fingers crossed, a guest appearance might not be entirely out of the question; it is a festival after all!
LISTEN | “Brother John”
WATCH | “I’ll Be There” (Official Music Video)
Saturday | WFPK Port Stage | 1:15pm
Showcasing in a special ASCAP-curated early Saturday block, soulful pop singer Jeffrey James makes his Forecastle debut ahead of a new EP. His layered, percussive, pop accessible sound is sure to find plenty of crossover appeal in this type of setting, so shake off your first night hangover and show up early to support him!
LISTEN | “Falling”
WATCH | “Carry You” (Official Music Video)
Saturday | WFPK Port Stage | 2:30pm
Also part of ASCAP’s Saturday block, Earl Burrows are, without a doubt, one of Nashville’s most promising up and coming acts. Boasting a smart, unabashedly poppy flavor of indie rock with a flair for the retro, the band have consistently impressed us the handful of chances we’ve had to see them live, and we’re eagerly waiting their debut full-length this year!
LISTEN | “Hey Me Israeli”
WATCH | “Delicate Ribbon” (Live)
Saturday | Boom Stage | 4:45pm
Kentucky native and former SteelDrivers frontman Chris Stapleton is enjoying a ton of buzz thanks to his stellar new solo debut, Traveller. An accomplished co-writer for a plethora of other big name artists of all genres, Stapleton’s sound combines the best of classic country with the refreshing, revivalist mentality of a growing number of peers who buck the pop country and bro country trends that rule CMT. Stapleton’s writing is earnest, personal, and timeless, and he’s a welcome, diverse addition to this year’s bill.
LISTEN | “Two Brothers”
WATCH | “Traveller” (Live)
FLY GOLDEN EAGLE
Friday | WFPK Port Stage | 4:45pm
Psychadelic-tinged, soulful rockers Fly Golden Eagle are another local fave we just can’t wait for the rest of the world to catch on to. Having collaborated with the likes of Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and more, the band are always an incredible treat to see live. Their debut album, Swagger, was an unbelievably strong introduction, but it was last year’s Quartz Bijou (and its even more ambitious, 26-song extended counterpart, Quartz) that really showed off Fly Golden Eagle’s full, eclectic range and nostalgic meets modern sensibilities.
LISTEN | “Horse’s Mouth”
WATCH | “Stepping Stone” (Official Music Video)
Saturday | Ocean Stage | 8pm
One of Nashville’s biggest breakout success stories of the past few years, electronic duo Cherub have become something of festival staples, gracing just about every high-profile lineup you can name, and amassing larger and larger crowds at each. Benefiting from their production prowess and multi-instrumental talents, the band have forged a unique mix of pop, EDM, and indie, achieving international acclaim with last year’s Year of Caprese. We’ve seen them live more times than we can count, everywhere from basements to big stages, and can’t recommend their energetic, dance-ready live show enough.
LISTEN | “XOXO”
WATCH | “Doses & Mimosas” (Official Music Video)
Saturday | Boom Stage | 8pm
With the unprecedented, crossover success and buzz surrounding last year’s incredible Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, Sturgill Simpson has become something of the poster child for Nashville’s new country scene. Merging traditional country influences with contemporary, alternative country sensibilities, propelled by his smart, honest lyricism and unparalleled talent for composition, Sturgill has managed to find fans from all genres and walks of life, really exploding over the last year and earning countless festival slots, television appearances and more. Forecastle comes in the midst of a seemingly never-ending summer run, which will also take him to Europe and to even more festivals into the fall.
LISTEN | “Turtles All the Way Down”
WATCH | “Railroad of Sin” (Official Music Video)
JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD
Friday | Boom Stage | 3:15pm
Recently parting ways with Warner Bros. and regaining their independence (fortunately, they own a taste-making local label, Infinity Cat), garage rock duo JEFF the Brotherhood are largely responsible for helping elevate the attention and curate the status of Nashville’s current rock scene. Mixing elements of psychedelic, punk, metal, pop, and classic rock, the prolific real-life brothers most recently released their fantastic eighth full-length, Wasted on the Dream. An insane live force, JEFF are always a must-see, especially in the unpredictable environment of an outdoor fest.
LISTEN | “Black Cherry Pie”
WATCH | “Sixpack” (Official Music Video)
Sunday | WFPK Port Stage | 4:30pm
With a Sunday afternoon slot on Forecastle’s smallest stage, Diarrhea Planet might just be the under the radar act not to miss at this year’s fest (and always the most likely to destroy their surroundings). Boasting an army of guitarists, an arena-ready, pop-tinged, punk sound, an endlessly positive and fun-spirited vibe, and an insane, frenetic live show, this band might just be single-handedly saving rock and roll. They put on, without a doubt, one of the most epic live shows of all time, and you can’t miss it. Really.
LISTEN | “Kids”
WATCH | “Platinum Girls” (Official Music Video)
CAGE THE ELEPHANT
Friday | Mast Stage | 7:30pm
Ok, so while they’re most closely associated with Bowling Green, our pals in Cage the Elephant have more or less adopted Nashville as their second home; don’t worry, we’re proud to share them. Recommending this band is a definite no-brainer; Nashville or not, they’re one of the most insane, rock and roll, high-energy, festival-winning live acts imaginable. Even on a huge stage, they play with the intensity of an intimate, in-your-face room, and no show is complete without stage dives, antics, and a whole lot of adrenaline. We’ve seen them so many times over the past few years, and would still never miss a single second of their show any chance we have to see them. Please show all of the Nashville artists some love, but, if there’s only one thing you take away from this list, whatever you do, definitely don’t skip Cage.
LISTEN | “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”
WATCH | “Come a Little Closer” (Official Music Video)