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Music Festivals

Experience Louisville’s Signature Sounds at Live Concerts and Music Festivals

In Louisville, we treasure our eclectic musical heritage. As a frontier town and then a thriving river city, Louisville became a way station for some of America’s most original music including the blues, jazz, rock & roll, country, jugband and of course roots and bluegrass.

This musical spirit is alive and well in today’s Louisville where intimate downtown and neighborhood music clubs host concerts almost every night of the week and the summer calendar is literally filled with music festivals celebrating and showcasing everything from homegrown American folk music to the more international flavors of jazz.

If you’re in a more classical mood, Louisville is also home to highly regarded orchestra and ballet companies, as well as musical comedies and more Theatre and Performing Arts.

For live music in Louisville, you can’t beat the venues, shows, and festivals listed below.

Annual Music Festivals and Events:

APRIL

Kentucky Derby Festival Fest-a-Ville - 10-day outdoor music festival of various genres on the Waterfront leading up to the Kentucky Derby

GonzoFest – literary and music festival honoring the legacy of Louisville's native son Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo journalist.

MAY

Abbey Road on the River - held Memorial Day weekend on the banks of the Ohio River just across the bridge in Jeffersonville, this is the largest Beatles tribute festival in America.

Kentucky Reggae Festival – held Memorial Day Weekend at the Louisville Water Tower Park.

Forest Fest - enjoy live bluegrass music in the country's largest municipal urban forest.

JUNE

Kentuckiana Pride Festival – a 2-day celebration for the LGBT community and its allies at the Big Four Bridge Lawn with live music and a parade.

JULY

Waterfront Independence Festival – a Fourth of July party featuring concerts, fireworks and food on the banks of the Ohio River.

Forecastle Festival - Named one of the top 101 things to do in America by SPIN Magazine, this music, arts and activism festival is held at Waterfront Park.

Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival – local BBQ and soul satisying blues at the Louisville Water Tower Park.

AUGUST

Kentucky State Fair – a 10-day celebration of Kentucky pride and agriculture featuring daily free and paid concerts from multiple genres and national acts.

WorldFest – a celebration of world cultures and their food and musical traditions held at the Belvedere over Labor Day weekend.

Derby City Jazz Festival - 2-days of exceptional jazz and bourbon at the historic Churchill Downs racetrack

SEPTEMBER

Hometown Rising -  This Country Music & Bourbon Festival features the best country music talent, bourbon and food. 

PeteFest – Three days of music appreciation located on a stunning nature preserve. It’s mission is to spread the love and appreciation for not only music, but culture, art, and community through local artists and businesses.

Bourbon and Beyond – an all-in-one bourbon, food, and entertainment destination that honors the rich history of bourbon that is so deeply rooted in Kentucky.  

Rock the Water Tower – The hottest bands. A Bourbon Tasting Lounge. Mouth-watering barbecue. And an atmosphere worthy of Louisville’s last big party of the summer!

Louisville Irish Fest- live Irish and Celtic music and Irish dancers at Bellarmine University.

National Jug Band Jubilee - a gathering of the nation's best jug bands bringing America's Happiest Music back to its old Kentucky home, in the city that started it all.

Louisville Music Awards – a celebration of local music held at Headliners Music Hall.

Louder Than Life - the ultimate whiskey, food and rock & roll experience outdoors located at the Highland Festival Grounds at the KY Expo Center.

NuluFest – this street festival is the official after-party of IdeaFestival featuring live bands.

OCTOBER

Garvin Gate Blues Festival - largest free neighborhood street music festival in Louisville's historic Victorian neighborhood.

Belknap Fall Festival – great food, live music and local artists at a street festival off of Douglass Loop in the Highlands neighborhood.

2020 Derby

Kentucky Derby

May 2, 2020
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