This weekend, July 13-15, 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 tens 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 Sunday Forecastle performances below (and be sure to peep our Friday and Saturday picks as well)!
#10: MAIDEN RADIO HOUR
Sunday | Port Stage | 5:45pm
Louisville’s Maiden Radio is the result of a collaboration between talented artists Joan Shelley, Cheyenne Mike, and Julia Purcell. Adopting a traditional Appalachian and Kentucky bluegrass sound, their harmony-dense style timeless, and their “radio hour,” features Tyrone Cotton, Tyler Lance Walker Gill, Sean Johnson, The Other Years, Joe Manning, Daniel Martin Moore, John Pedigo, Walker Shepherd, and Ben Sollee.
LISTEN | “Wolvering”
WATCH | “Sweet Sunny South”
#9: OH WONDER
Sunday | Boom Stage | 4:45pm
Made up of Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West, London indie pop duo Oh Wonder rose to acclaim with their buzzy, self-titled debut in 2015. After a string of well-received hits, blog and radio love, TV and festival appearances, and increasingly high-profile dates, the band are amassing even more praise for their electro and r&b-laced sophomore effort Ultralife, and their accnompying live show is marvelous.
LISTEN | “Without You”
WATCH | “Ultralife” (Official Music Video)
Sunday | Ocean Stage | 4:30pm
Though unmistakably new, Khruangbin find their instrumental influences in musical traditions that span many decades, cultures, and styles, building on a love of Thai funk and fleshing that out with surf, psychedelia, soul, and more. Now with two LPs to their name, the most recent, especially, serving as a broad and gloriously entangled mesh of styles and heritage, the Texas trio are unique and essential.
LISTEN | “White Gloves”
WATCH | “Friday Morning” (Official Music Video)
#7: SAINT JHN
Sunday | Ocean Stage | 2:45pm
After finding success writing for big names like Usher, Hoodie Allen, and Joey Bada$$, Brooklyn based rapper and singer SAINt JHN stepped out on his own earlier this year with debut full-length Collection One, the culmination of a string of tracks that lit up the blogosphere. With a honed, stylish, and thoroughly modern sound, we expect big things from this up and comer, so see him now while he’s on the rise.
LISTEN | “Roses”
WATCH | “3 Below” (Official Music Video)
#6: VIC MENSA
Sunday | Ocean Stage | 8:15pm
Though he’s only 25, Chicago rapper Vic Mensa has had an unbelievably exciting run, coming up brushing shoulders with the likes of Chance the Rapper, Gorillaz, and Kanye West, and touring with Justin Bieber, before breaking out with his first full-length, The Autobiography, just last year. Perhaps the most exciting hip hop artist on the bill this year, Sunday’s set promises to be an epic affair.
LISTEN | “Reverse” ft. G-Eazy
WATCH | “Down On My Luck” (Official Music Video)
#5: RON GALLO
Sunday | Boom Stage | 1:45pm
Though he cut his teeth with Philadelphia group Toy Soldiers, local rocker Ron Gallo has been both cultivating an impressive solo career since relocating to Music City a few years back. After an exploratory first record, RONNY, Gallo found what has become his defining style, voice, and attitude with 2017’s absolutely phenomenal HEAVY META, and followed it up with satirical, meta EP, Really Nice Guys, this year.
LISTEN | “Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me”
WATCH | “Really Nice Guys” (Official Music Video)
#4: JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT
Sunday | Mast Stage | 7:15pm
Alabama bred, Nashville based Americana singer Jason Isbell first rose to prominence with Drive-By Tuckers, but, for the last decade, has carved out an unbelievably profound, prolific, and progressive career both solo and with his backing band The 400 Unit, finding mass acclaim beginning with 2013 fourth album Southeastern, and continuing with 2015’s Something More Than Free and last year’s The Nashville Sound.
LISTEN | “Cover Me Up”
WATCH | “If We Were Vampires” (Official Music Video)
#3: WHITE REAPER
Sunday | Mast Stage | 3:30pm
Hometown garage punks White Reaper broke out in a big way with their sophomore full-length, White Reaper Does It Again, in 2015, and have been rising in presence ever since. With their fuzzy, energetic, genre-straddling sound, the band teeter between punk rock bite and indie rock swagger, and with their latest, last year’s The World’s Best American Band, White Reaper reach for bigger, bolder, more anthemic and arena-primed heights.
LISTEN | “Make Me Wanna Die”
WATCH | “Judy French” (Official Music Video)
#2: COURTNEY BARNETT
Sunday | Boom Stage | 8:30pm
Melbourne, Australia’s Courtney Barnett had one of the best indie rock debuts of all time with 2015’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, and wowed us once again this year with Tell Me How You Really Feel. Destined to be a modern legend, Barnett’s cool, earnest style and unique persona make for an excellent live show- we’re just bummed she and collaborator Kurt Vile were scheduled two days apart.
LISTEN | “Pedestrian At Best”
WATCH | “Need a Little Time” (Official Music Video)
#1: ARCADE FIRE
Sunday | Mast Stage | 9:10pm
Though not quite as plugged into the conversation as they were during indie rock’s height last decade, Canadian indie icons Arcade Fire are still one of the greatest rock acts of all time, continuing to take risks and push musical boundaries with each passing release. Their catalogue is unreal, and their live show is every bit the engaging, transcendent, career-spanning experience you want it to be, making their Forecastle return not just our most-anticipated performance of Sunday, but perhaps of the entire weekend.
LISTEN | “Everything Now”
WATCH | “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” (Official Music Video)