Forecastle gears up for big weekend


by WHAS11

Posted on July 16, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 16 at 7:35 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Last year's Forecastle Festival drew over 60-thousand revelers over three days.

On Wednesday work was under way on their biggest stage yet which will host headliners  Outkast, Jack White, and Beck along with about 60 other indie music acts.  It's been quite a journey from 2002 when a 21 year-old Saint X alumnus held the first Forecastle in Tyler Park.

J.K McKnight not only organized the event, but played in one of a handful of bands that performed for about 200 people.  But  the festival soon out grew Tyler Park, and Cherokee Park, The Mellwood Arts Center, and the Belvedere before coming before coming to what McKnight hopes will be a permanent home.

I don't think we want to outgrow Waterfront Park  It's a great venue, it has everything we need”, says McKnight.

Including a nautical backdrop to match the event's motif.  Forecastle, named for the part of a ship that houses the crew, reflects the 33-year-old’s love for the water.  But it's not the theme he credits with putting  the festival on the map.

“I knew I had something with that music art activism platform”, McKnight recalled .

Meaning in addition to rocking out with indie bands Forecastle goers experience all types of art work from a chandeliers made from a canoe and bourbon bottles to lawn sculptures.

“It's kind of a combination of existing art and art that happens while people are here and watch unfold”, Holly Weyler said, who handles publicity for the event.

The festival also promotes a green mission to preserve ecosystems around the world through the Forecastle Foundation.

The growth from 200 to 65,000 hasn't been easy.  And until recently every detail fell to McKnight assisted by family and volunteers.  But in recent years they've garnered rave reviews leading to a partnership with a major event producer.

“People that work on Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Coachella, all those big festival, we have those people working here now”, Weyler said.

But even as the local workers, breweries, grocers, and vendors, make room for the some national corporations, McKnight says everyone who's a part of Forecastle gets the big picture.

“Kentucky and Louisville is such part of the DNA of the festival…if you don't buy into that you don't belong here.” Weyler said.