I woke up Monday morning exhausted and in a funk. My knees ached, mussels were sore, and my mind was still a drift in the mystic music festival sea. Being so close to home, I have attended Forecastle for the past five years, according to my t-shirts. Each year there are always shows that I know are going to be good, shows that surprise me, and shows I will remember looking back. Here are just a few memorable moments from Forecastle.
My Forecastle weekend always starts out in a sprint. We dropped off my son with his grandparents, drove to Louisville, checked in the Residence Inn, and made it in time to catch Liz Vice. She eased me right into the festival mood. Her gospel undertones blended with a R&B style made the heat disappear. The tone of the weekend was set and then we had to evacuate because of a storm. We returned to Waterfront Park looking for excitement. We meet up to reenergize with Baauer. I have to admit, I do not know many Baauer songs, but that did not stop me from dancing right back onto the festival track as he dropped some fat beats. Friday also holds a special place in my festival memories.
Watching Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals at a music festival is a merit badge of festival-hood. To be in the crowd as “Burn One Down” takes over is right of passage for every music festival goer. Up next on that Friday was Glass Animals. Kicking off their American tour at Forecastle, Glass Animals kept the heat pumping in the crowd as the cool night took over. I liked their show, but the Glass Animals don’t strike me as a music festival band. I would much rather enjoy their show in an intimate setting of a venue.
However, the Avett Brothers are a band made for the limelight of the festival night. They ended Friday night with a charm.
The first band I saw on Saturday surprised me. Myzica is a band that claims they are out of Nashville. However, their indie 80’s pop-rock sound is something unexpected. Overcoming some technical difficulties, Myzica mystified the audience with “Love & Desire” and “Wait Just a Minute” started my day in the right state of mind.
I can not wait to get ahold of their album and see them again when they come back to Kentucky. Pokey LaFarge was next on my Saturday schedule. This show was the one I was looking forward to the most. My first time seeing Pokey Lafarge was superb. Pokey’s tangy swing sound was ideal for the midday heat of Saturday. Songs like “City Summer Blues” and “Goodbye, Barcelona” sparked the swaying and singing in his eager audience. Him and his band were one of my favorite shows this year.
Saturday was the best day of the festival. Perfect weather all day and there was no better way to end the night than with Alabama Shakes. Brittany Howard is a sweet powerhouse of energy and emotion when she sings. I sang along to every song. My favorites tunes were, “Don’t Wanna Fight”, “Hang Loose”, and “Gimme All Your Love”. This show was definitely my favorite.
Sunday also held some first time experiences for me as well. This year was the first year I took off the following Monday. Previous year’s I always cut out early on Sunday. Mainly due to exhaustion and the looming feeling of work on Monday morning. Not this year. I started out Sunday on my feet dancing.
The Suffers were another show that surprised me. Their Gulf-coast soul moved my hips and put a smile on everyone’s faces. Songs like “Good Day” and “Make Some Room” will be playing in my kitchen all summer long because lead singer Kam Franklin reminded everyone that food is love. So cook for your special someone tonight and listen to The Suffers. Sunday included a lesson I learned at the Heartless Bastards show. Never walk away from a good show. Because as soon as you step away from your spot, they will play your favorite song. Regardless, the Heartless Bastards put on a great show.
Sunday could not have ended any better way this year. This was my first time staying for Sunday night’s headliner and Ryan Adams put on a marvelous show. His randomness and improvisation on stage made it an unrepeatable performance. The combination of the made up song about the heckler in the crowd and his poking fun at the people in the building across the street having to listen to him on Sunday night made it a memorable performance.
Forecastle has always delivered a unique festival experience. Between the overnight camping marathon festivals and all the single day sprints popping up around the country, this three day extravaganza is a perfect middle of the road festival for newcomers and sun tanned festival pros. Forecastle packs 60 diverse talented acts on four different stages in three days. All within the comfort of Louisville’s Waterfront park. To all the people that help make Forecastle awesome, Thank You. Every year you bring in awesome acts and delicious vendors. This year had some tough challenges to overcome. The tension that has divided so many people around our country melted away inside of Forecastle. As I was standing there Saturday night holding hands with complete strangers. It reminded me that the majority of people are good people. We put away our differences, forgot about race, and political ties. We all gathered for three straight days to celebrate music and art. Thank you for reminding me that there is some humanity left in this world.