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 Saturday Forecastle performances below (and be sure to peep our Friday picks as well)!
#10: WEST LOUISVILLE SHOWCASE
Saturday | Port Stage | 6:25pm
Featuring artists who collectively represent the nine neighborhoods that make up Louisville’s West End, the West Louisville Showcase is being called Forecastle’s premiere black arts experience. Look for spoken word, hip hop, r&b, soul, jazz, gospel, and traditional African drumming from 1200, Chanson Calhoun, DJ Always, DJ OutHere, Lance Newman, Metez, River City Drumcorps, and A.M.P.E.D.
LISTEN | Chanson Calhoun – “Sunny Side Up”
WATCH | 1200 – “City Song”
#9: WESTSIDE GUNN + CONWAY
Saturday | Ocean Stage | 2:15pm
Westside Gunn and his brother Conway hold the distinction of being the first rappers from Buffalo, NY to ink a major label record deal- and one with none other than Eminem, to boot. After rising to acclaim with a series of EPs, albums, and mixtapes since 2012, the pair, who make music together but not exclusively, have been cultivating a scene, forging a sound, and drumming up acclaim for their old school hip hop sensibilities.
LISTEN | “Empire”
WATCH | “Air Holez” (Official Music Video)
#8: MORGAN SAINT
Saturday | Ocean Stage | 5:00pm
We’re a sucker for a stylish, electro-drenched, thoroughly modern pop song, especially when, like Morgan Saint, it’s approached with an artsy, image-heavy, moody sheen. Though her debut EP, 17 HERO, dropped just last year, Saint is already a promising rising force and blog fixture in the indie pop world, and perhaps one of the best under the radar finds at all of Forecastle this year. Don’t sleep on her set!
LISTEN | “YOU”
WATCH | “Thru Your Phone” (Official Music Video)
Saturday | Ocean Stage | 3:30pm
What began as a mysterious local production and a remix project a couple years back, indie/electro/r&b duo Biyo (pronounced like bio) have been dropping futuristic-sounding original singles since mid-2016, coming out of the shadows with some seriously cool tunes. Going only by their first names, the band have amassed millions of streams and love throughout the blogosphere for their sexy, r&b and pop drenched style.
LISTEN | “Fantasies”
WATCH | “Moments” (Official Music Video)
#6: CHRIS STAPLETON
Saturday | Mast Stage | 10:00pm
Born and raised in Kentucky, breakout country star Chris Stapleton moved to Nashville a number of years ago, fronting bluegrass group The SteelDrivers for a stint and finding success as a songwriter, before being met with massive acclaim for his Grammy winning 2015 solo debut, Traveller. The few years since have been a whirlwind, and Stapleton’s now a well-deserved star, and beacon of the genre.
LISTEN | “Broken Halos”
WATCH | “Fire Away” (Official Music Video)
#5: MARGO PRICE
Saturday | Boom Stage | 5:30pm
Nashvillians have been obsessing over Margo Price for a number of years now, but since breaking out with her 2016 solo debut Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, Price has become an ever-rising star on the national stage too. Last year’s followup, All American Made, further cemented what we’ve known for awhile: Margo is one of the most talented, raw, and profound country artists of our generation.
LISTEN | “Hands of Time”
WATCH | “A Little Pain” (Official Music Video)
Saturday | Mast Stage | 4:15pm
Though they orbit around the punk and emo sphere, Boston based rockers PVRIS adopt a sound more akin to dark, brooding, alternative electropop. Fronted by the incomparable, transcendent Lynn Gunn, the band found a swift following thanks to their 2014 debut, White Noise, and last year’s followup, and have been touring the world, supporting massive artists, and honing their unbelievable live presence since.
LISTEN | “My House”
WATCH | “Heaven” (Official Music Video)
#3: THE WAR ON DRUGS
Saturday | Boom Stage | 9:15pm
Helmed by the creative talent of Adam Granduciel, Philadelphia’s The War On Drugs formed in ’05, and released their debut a decade ago, before finding broader critical and commercial success with 2014 third effort Lost in the Dream. Like former band member turned solo artist Kurt Vile, they’re an indispensable fixture in the modern indie scene, with a sound that lands a bit more in the earnest, heartland rock realm.
LISTEN | “Red Eyes”
WATCH | “Pain” (Official Music Video)
#2: JENNY LEWIS
Saturday | Boom Stage | 7:15pm
Newly a resident of Nashville, Jenny Lewis dropped her stellar third album The Voyager back in 2014, shortly after she last played Forecastle. With new music in the works, it feels fitting that the beloved indie rocker and former Rilo Kiley frontwoman would return to the fest this summer, and we’re eagerly awaiting more of her breezy, earnest, and pleasantly timeless material to be played live.
LISTEN | “Acid Tongue”
WATCH | “Just One of the Guys” (Official Music Video)
#1: JIMMY EAT WORLD
Saturday | Mast Stage | 5:45pm
A seminal act of the ’90s emo scene, who helped usher in a full-on mainstream genre explosion in the early ’00s with their commercial breakout, Bleed American, Arizona’s Jimmy Eat World seem to have comfortably settled into legacy status, appearing at festivals outside of their typical punk-adjacent scene at an increasing clip. There’s a reason they have a cult following- look beyond their hits, and you’ll find one of the most substantive and resonant rock bands of all time, and one with an unbelievable live show to boot.
LISTEN | “Sure and Certain”
WATCH | “The Middle” (Official Music Video)