Since it’s inception a few years back Halfway to Forcastle Festival has been the Whopper Jr. to Forecastle proper’s Whopper, but with the 10th anniversary Forecastle Festival being withheld until summer 2012 this formerly bite-sized, electronically-themed appetizer has been elevated to the main stage, and is set to overwhelm your senses this Friday (July 15th) across three stages and two venues.
Over the past decade Forecastle Festival founder JK McKnight and company have nurtured their event from modest origins to the multi-day musical behemoth of summer 2010 (which featured the likes of the Smashing Pumpkins, The Flaming Lips and Spoon), and for the past three of those years its little brother Halfway has existed alongside as a
“mini-fest designed to celebrate and commemorate the “Halfway” point to the annual Forecastle Festival.” This all changed when JK announced a new partnership with Ashley Capps of AC Entertainment (the people behind Tennessee’s Bonnaroo, Moogfest, Big Ears and over 750 concerts and special events annually), ensuring that future iterations of the festival would be enriched by way of AC’s vast resources and bringing JK into the fold as AC Entertainment’s Director of National Partnerships, but creating an intriguing problem.
“By the time the partnership was solidified and announced, it was February of 2011,” said Holly Weyler of Forecastle Fest, “[and the] full festival takes nearly a full year to organize, so JK and AC decided to hold off on the 10th anniversary of the Forecastle Festival.” Therefore, she continued, “the decision was made to do Halfway to Forecastle over the summer, allowing them to ease into the partnership while keeping the fans satiated over the summer.” Weyler further insisted that the future of the Forecastle Festival would stay true to form (there had been some fear from fans that it would be dismantled or folded into Bonnaroo) and that, “[it’s] a co-promotional agreement, which means that while we now have the expertise of AC Entertainment on our side, Captain JK McKnight is still at the helm of the ship, ensuring that it stays true to his vision.”
Halfway has always been geared towards electronic and dance-party fare and this year’s expanded line-up co-headlined by Outkast’s Bib Boi and buzz-worthy electronic group Pretty Lights continues that trend. “When Pretty Lights wowed Forecastle crowds in 2009 both on the main stage and on the sold-out Belle of Louisville after party, we knew he’d have to return,” said Weyler, adding, “As one of the biggest electronic acts, he brings a diverse and enthusiastic fan base.” But Big Boi and Pretty Lights are only two of a baker’s dozen of featured artists who will fill out Halfway across two stages at Waterfront Park (starting with BottlePOP on the east stage at 5:15pm) and continuing well into Saturday morning via the after-party event at The Ice House on East Main St, which kicks off with Gramatik at 12:30am. One of Forecastle’s primary goals is to expose its attendees to new music and Halfway 2011 continues that tradition with a mixture a of lesser and better known talented acts alike.
When speaking to the organizers of Forecastle its clear that at least part of the event’s impressive staying power can be attributed to the passion of the people behind it. “I’ve seen all the Main stage act perform at least once with the exception of RJD2,” noted Weyler, “But I think the whole line-up is outstanding [and] I think people will love Twin Shadow.” Performing on the west stage at 7:15pm, Twin Shadow is the stage name for George Lewis Jr., a Florida-raised artist born in the Dominican Republic whose unique sound has been described as “steeped in 1980s new wave”, “building from streaks of haunting synth textures”, having “sophisticated melodies”, “R&B intimacy”, and “poetic lyrics”, and “hazily new wave-tinged pop”. Indeed, Pitchfork Media’s Ian Cohen gave Twin Shadow’s recent performance at Coachella 2011 the thumbs up, describing Lewis as, “not just a frontman but a showman, too.”
If you attend Halfway to Forecastle this Friday you should expect killer sounds and you should expect a raucous party, but best of all you should expect much more to come. Interested parties can discover loads of additional info on the Festival, including pricing, direction, the full lineup and additional videos via Forecastle’s website.
But wait, there’s more! Your friends at LouisvilleKY.com, the Pulse of the City, have obtained a pair of free tickets for one of our lucky readers. Get a chance to win the tickets by heading over to our facebook page here, show us some love by “liking” us and leave a comment on the Halfway to Forecastle thread. Thursday afternoon a winner will be selected at random from everyone who posts on the Halfway thread.