Louisville Summer Events: Festivals, Concerts & More! : GoToLouisville.com Official Travel Source

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25+ Festivals & Events to Plan for this Summer in Louisville

Bourbon, music, art, beer, and pride collide this summer in Louisville with dozens of concerts, festivals and events planned in Bourbon City. Here are some of the area's biggest and most anticipated events for summer 2024.

Downs After Dark | May 18 and June 15

One of Louisville’s longest-running traditions extends their hours just a few times a year for what Churchill Downs has coined Downs After Dark. With gates opening at 5pm and the last horse race not starting until 11:10pm, racing fans will have a chance to see Churchill Downs in a whole new light. Live music, festive attire, and of course, classic cocktails add to the excitement, with general admission tickets starting at $20.

Kentucky Shakespeare Festival | May 29-August 11 | FREE

Taking place in Old Louisville’s scenic Central Park, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival continues its decades-long tradition of providing free live-action performances of some of Shakespeare’s greatest works. This year’s entertainment kicks off after Memorial Day weekend, with shows beginning nightly at 8pm. Guests are encouraged to arrive as early as 6pm to get a bite at local food trucks and to ensure seating is available. Guests are also welcome to bring their blankets and chairs, as well as dogs, as long as they are leashed. The 2024 season includes performances of Romeo & Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, and The Tempest.

Abbey Road on the River | May 23-27

This annual Beatles tribute takes place just across the river from Louisville at Big Four Station Park in Jeffersonville, IN. The Memorial Day weekend festival will feature some of the best Beatles cover bands rocking out in tribute to the iconic British boy band. Headliners include Jan & Dean's Beach Party, The Fab Four, The English Channel, and Classicstone. Free admission for guests age 20 and under when accompanied by a matching adult ticket.

GAZEBO Festival | May 25 & 26

Jack Harlow announces GAZEBO Festival, a music festival he will co-headline with multiple GRAMMY Award winner, SZA, on May 25 & 26 at Louisville’s Waterfront Park. The line-up also includes James Blake (DJ Set), Omar Apollo, PinkPantheress, Vince Staples and more. The two-day event will feature 26 acts on two stages and highlight some of Louisville’s local food and culture. The Waterfront Park location uniquely marries the energy of downtown Louisville with more than 85 acres of green space on the Ohio River.

Portland Festival | May 31 & June 1
For 50 years, the oldest and largest neighborhood festival in the city has taken over the historic Portland neighborhood. The two-day festival includes a parade, live music, a block-long kids zone, shopping opportunities and much more.

Louisville GreekFest | June 7 & 8

Celebrate Grecian hospitality and culture with Louisville's Greek community at the annual Louisville Greek Fest. Food vendors will be offering popular Greek items like gyros, souvlaki sandwiches, tiropitas, along with an assortment of pastries and desserts. Live music and traditional Greek dancing will also be performed by a number of local groups. Weather permitting, the event will be held outside of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in the Lyndon neighborhood off of Ormsby Lane.

Lionel Richie and Earth, Wind, & Fire: Sing A Song All Night Long | June 12

Lionel Richie is coming to the KFC Yum! Center this June with very special guests, and one of the best-selling bands of all time, Earth, Wind & Fire. The 2024 shows follow a highly successful 2023 sold-out 20-date run which made its way through North America with stops in Chicago, Boston, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and more.

Kentuckiana Pride Parade & Festival | June 15

Held at Louisville’s Waterfront Park, the Kentuckiana Pride Parade & Festival has been a tradition in downtown Louisville for more than 20 years. Start the day with the annual Pride parade down East Market Street in the popular NuLu neighborhood as it marches 1.5 miles toward the Ohio River and the iconic Big Four Bridge. This year's headliners include Icona Pop, Chappell Roan, and Robin S. More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the event, one of the largest LGBTQ+ events in the state.

Summer Beer Festivals

Though Louisville is known as Bourbon City, many are unaware of the city's hoppin' local beer scene. Get a taste of Kentucky-made beers at the Kentucky Craft Bash (June 29), which highlights over 50 breweries from around the state. The J-town Beer Festival (July) is a neighborhood beer fest bringing together beer, music, and food to support local area businesses. The Summer Beer Fest at the Frazier (July) is taking over Louisville's Main Street and will feature over 200 beers on tap outside of the city's Frazier History Museum. Old Lou Brew (August 23) is set in Central Park in the Old Louisville neighborhood, which is home to one of the largest collections of Victorian-era mansions in the country. And you'll be sure to have a wild time at Brew at the Zoo (August), an annual fundraiser for the Louisville Zoo. Steins on Main (Sept. 14) is back for its second year and will take place off of historic Main Street in downtown Louisville.

Waterfront Park Fourth of July | July 4 | FREE

Celebrate Independence Day on the banks of the Ohio River at Louisville's Waterfront Park. This annual holiday event includes music by the Louisville Orchestra, fireworks, and food vendors. This family-fun event will be free and take place from 5-10pm.

Summer Blast Fireworks at Kentucky Kingdom | July 6, 13, 20, 27

Kentucky Kingdom is bringing back its weekend firework show lighting up the sky every Saturday in July. Spend your summer Saturdays experiencing the 15-minute choreographed performance with music and pyrotechnics shooting over 350 feet in the air, starting around 10pm.

The Big Stomp | July 26-27
Located on a 90-acre private nature preserve, the annual Big Stomp festival is a multi-day, immersive event filled with activities, live music and mindful programming focused on helping to "stomp" out the stigma surrounding mental health. Last year's headliners included Lettuce, Bahamas, and Heartless Bastards, along with 30+ other musical acts.

Dainty Fest & the World Championship of Dainty | July 29-31 | FREE

One of Louisville's most unique traditions continues into its 54th year with the annual World Championship of Dainty. Held on the last Monday in July in the Schnitzelburg neighborhood, this obscure German street game has become a cherished tradition that draws crowds onto the sidewalk of George Hauck Way to eat bologna sandwiches, listen to ragtime music, and watch contestants swing a whittled broomstick in hopes of being crowned a World Champion. The celebration will kick off the Saturday before with bands, drink specials, games, and raffles at The Merryweather. On Sunday, folks can enjoy a day full of fun at Hauck’s Corner for Open Hauck’s, which will include food, music, a dunk tank, and the bologna sandwich eating contest.

Stadium Rock 80s | August 3

Butchertown will be rocking halfway through summer with the new addition of an 80s rock festival. Headliners Great White, Slaughter, Aldo Nova, Vixen, ENuff Z Nuff, and more will pack Lynn Family Stadium to travel back in time for a day of rock music. Keep an eye open for the 80s look-a-likes, memorabilia, merchandise, and photo opportunities while you're grabbing food or drinks from the stadium concessions.

Heritage Fire Louisville | August 4

Heritage Fire unites live-fire cooking, family farms, and local chefs for an all-inclusive walk-around feast that features thoughtful bites prepared by some of the most critically acclaimed kitchens, with products from locally sourced farms and sponsors. After indulging in each dish, guests will vote for their favorite bite of the day. It’s a friendly competition resulting in a feel-good, delicious time for all. General admission starts at $99 with VIP at $150.

Sky Soul Festival | Aug. 10

Get ready for an enchanting experience as the Sky Soul Festival descends upon Waterfront Park for the first time this August. The highly anticipated event promises a celebration of art, culture, and community, with superstars Anthony Hamilton, Doug E. Fresh, Keke Wyatt and Dru Hill all taking the stage.

Kentucky State Fair | August 15-24

Held annually at the Kentucky Exposition Center, the Kentucky State Fair is a century-plus-old tradition that celebrates Kentucky’s culture, art, agriculture, music and more. Travel the entire Commonwealth and discover what Kentucky has to offer without having to leave the fairground at the Pride of the Counties exhibit or explore Agland, more than an acre of agriculture exhibits highlighting Kentucky’s farm and field heritage.

WorldFest | August 30 - September 2

Louisville’s WorldFest is one of the region’s largest international festivals that celebrates with four days of expanded world food, music, dance, culture and education every Labor Day weekend. Taking place in Downtown Louisville on the Belvedere overlooking the Ohio River, the festival highlights cultures from around the world all without ever leaving the city (WorldFest 2024 info coming soon).

Cirque du Soleil - OVO | Sept. 5-8

Cirque du Soleil has announced its return to Louisville with its newly revisited high-energy and high-acrobatic production OVO. An exciting Cirque du Soleil experience, OVO is a colorful intrusion into a new day in the life of insects; a non-stop riot of energy and movement. Through show-stopping acrobatics highlighting the unique personalities and abilities of selected insect species, OVO explores the beauty of biodiversity in all its contrasts and vibrancy.

Big Four Arts Festival | September 7 & 8

The 7th annual Big Four Bridge Arts Festival will be held on Louisville Waterfront Park’s Big Four Lawn located at the base of the popular Big Four Walking Bridge overlooking the Ohio River. More than 150 juried artists will set up shop during the two-day event featuring artistic styles ranging from painting, jewelry, sculptures, photography and more. Tickets for the event are just $5 and can be purchased at the entrance of the festival.

KY Bourbon Festival | September 13-15

Located just 45 minutes south of downtown Louisville in Bardstown, KY, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival has been celebrating America's native spirit for over 30 years. Both single-day and three-day passes are available for this annual Bourbon Heritage Month festival, which with experiential tastings, dinners, auctions, and the World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay. Bourbon enthusiasts can sip their favorite hard-to-find bourbons or get signature cocktails prepared by pro mixologists. VIP-level experiences are already sold out so be sure to purchase tickets in advance.

Bourbon & Beyond | September 19-22

The World’s Largest Bourbon & Music Festival is returning to the Highland Festival Grounds after a record-breaking 2023 crowd. This star-studded event brings together the best in Classic Rock, Alt Rock, Country, and Bluegrass music with 100 artists across five stages, alongside hands-on bourbon workshops, tastings, and culinary programming with celebrity chefs. This year's festival includes headliners Neil Young, Dave Matthews Band, Zach Bryan, and Tyler Childers.

Louder Than Life | September 21-24

Louder Than Life will wrap up an incredible summer of music in Louisville with a four-day rock festival just south of downtown at the Highland Festival Grounds at the Kentucky Expo Center. Headliners for the festival include Slipknot, Motley Crue, Korn and Slayer. Local food and drink culture will also be incorporated into the festival’s culinary scene with pop-ups from popular Kentucky Bourbon brands and local Louisville restaurants. Weekend General Admission, VIP and Top Shelf passes are currently on sale.

To find all events happening in and around the city be sure to check out our online event calendar and subscribe to our email newsletters for the latest updates on news and events.

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