This weekend, July 14-16, marks the return of Louisville’s annual Forecastle Festival, one of our favorite regional musical events. From its humble beginnings in 2002, Forecastle has grown to become a national festival fixture, drawing 10s of thousands of attendees each year to the picturesque downtown Waterfront Park, for three days of music, art, activism, and, of course, Kentucky bourbon. Boasting yet another impressive lineup, this year’s installment, an easy drive for Middle Tennessee residents and a no-brainer for Kentuckians, is one of our most-highly anticipated events of the season, and, per usual, we want to help you prepare with daily rundowns of our can’t-miss acts. Head here for day tickets or weekend passes if you still need ’em, and check out our 10 most-anticipated Friday Forecastle performances below!
#10: TEDDY ABRAMS AND FRIENDS
Friday | Port Stage | 9:00pm
Composer, multi-insturmentlaist, and conductor Teddy Abrams is the youngest Music Director in the Louisville Orchestra’s history. Like last year, he’ll assemble a supergroup of local talent, for a Louisville-centric jam session akin to a smaller version of Bonnaroo’s SuperJam series.
LISTEN | “Float Rumble Rest” ft. Jim James
WATCH | “The Border”
#9: JOHN MORELAND
Friday | Port Stage | 7:15pm
Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, John Moreland cut his teeth in punk and hardcore before drifting to folk and Americana over the last decade, earning acclaim in recent years for his stripped down, earnest sound, and bagging spots supporting the likes of Jason Isbell, Dawes, and more.
LISTEN | “I Need You to Tell Me Who I Am”
WATCH | “It Don’t Suit Me (Like Before)” (Official Music Video)
#8: CAPITAL CITIES
Friday | Boom Stage | 7:00pm
Best known for the breakout success of infectious 2013 single “Safe and Sound,” LA dance pop duo Capital Cities, who co-wrote jingles together before forming the band, just dropped a brand new EP, Swimming Pool Summer, their first new music in years.
LISTEN | “Swimming Pool Summer”
WATCH | “Safe and Sound” (Official Music Video)
#7: CHICANO BATMAN
Friday | Mast Stage | 4:30pm
On the heels of excellent new LP Freedom Is Free, LA’s Chicano Batman continue to generate buzz for their eclectic sound and honed live show, combining elements of psychedelic rock, soul, funk, indie, tropicalia, and more, landing them on the radar of big names like Jack White.
LISTEN | “She Lives On My Block”
WATCH | “Friendship (Is a Small Boat in a Storm)” (Official Music Video)
#6: WAKA FLOCKA FLAME
Friday | Ocean Stage | 6:45pm
A prominent fixture in the Atlanta trap movement that has been dominating contemporary hip hop in recent years, Waka Focka Flame manages to harbor something of a punk spirit and crossover over appeal, making him a favorite of EDM and rap fans alike.
LISTEN | “Workin”
WATCH | “No Hands” ft. Wale & Roscoe Dash (Official Music Video)
#5: JAYE JAYLE
Friday | Port Stage | 5:45pm
Effectively a solo vehicle for Evan Patterson, of Louisville noise rock outfit Young Widows, Jaye Jayle takes on a more psychedelic and nostalgic bent, embodying an intentionally creepy sound and aesthetic. Most recently, he put out a great split EP with Emma Ruth Rundle.
LISTEN | “About Time You Came to Me”
WATCH | “Evil Windows”
#4: TWIN LIMB
Friday | Mast Stage | 3:00pm
Louisville trio Twin Limb, who both opened and backed Jim James at his recent Ryman outing and recently released their debut LP, Haplo, play a dreamy, psych drench style of indie pop that we absolutely can’t get enough of, especially in front of a hometown crowd.
LISTEN | “Red Sun”
WATCH | “Don’t Even Think” (Official Music Video)
#3: REAL ESTATE
Friday | Boom Stage | 5:00pm
Since forming in 2009, Brooklyn based indie rockers Real Estate have become a beloved fixture of the indie scene, and their latest and fourth album, In Mind, is one of the year’s best rock records so far. Don’t let them slip under your radar- they’re a wonderful festival act.
LISTEN | “It’s Real”
WATCH | “Darling” (Official Music Video)
#2: CAGE THE ELEPHANT
Friday | Mast Stage | 7:45pm
Any time you have a chance to see Cage the Elephant, you see Cage the Elephant. Harboring an unbelievable live show, the local alt rockers are unmatched in their intensity. And yes, though they’re Nashville based now, they hail originally from Kentucky.
LISTEN | “Trouble”
WATCH | “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” (Official Music Video)
#1: RUN THE JEWELS
Friday | Boom Stage | 9:00pm
Run the Jewels are the Friday headliners in our hearts (though Odesza will be fun too), bringing their certified supergroup chops, political and social urgency, and bombastic, real deal, alt hip hop stylings and gargantuan live show to Forecastle’s second biggest stage.
LISTEN | “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” ft. Zack de la Rocha
WATCH | “Legend Has It” (Official Music Video)