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Concerts & 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.

Regularly Scheduled Musical Happenings:

Mayor’s Music and Arts Series – a free lunchtime concert held the First Thursday of every month in the Mayor’s Gallery at Metro Hall.

Waterfront Wednesdays (SEASONAL) – a free concert the last Wednesday of the month (April – October) on the Big Four Lawn at Waterfront Park.

• RYE’s Back Porch Sessions (SEASONAL) – held monthly from May – September at the hip NuLu restaurant, RYE.

• Patio Concert Series at Down One Bourbon Bar (SEASONAL) on Main Street.

Annual Music Festivals and Events:

APRIL

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

GonzoFest – various locations and concerts happening around Louisville in celebration of the life and work of Hunter S. Thompson.

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.

JUNE

Americana World Festival – a multicultural celebration held at the Iroquois Amphitheatre.

VinylFest – a weekend of experiencing and celebrating vinyl record collecting and music at the Crowne Plaza

Kentuckiana Pride Festival – a celebration for the LGBT community and its allies on the Belvedere.

JULY

Waterfront Independence Festival – a Fourth of July party featuring concerts, fireworks and more.

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 the music of New Orleans and Memphis at the Louisville Water Tower.

Kentucky Music Weekend - largest traditional and folk music festival in the region held at Iroquois Amphitheatre.

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.

SEPTEMBER

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.  

Kentucky Bluegrass & Bourbon Experience – live bluegrass, burgoo, barbecue and bourbon: all at the Louisville Water Tower for Labor Day weekend.

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 on the grounds of Champions Park.

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.

DECEMBER

Give a Jam to End Homelessness – local musicians and chefs come together to raise money for the Coalition for the Homeless.

And don’t forget to check these music venues for more upcoming shows:

Headliners Music Hall

Iroquois Amphitheatre

The Kentucky Center

KFC Yum! Center

The Louisville Palace

Mercury Ballroom

The New Vintage

The Rudyard Kipling

Stevie Ray’s Blues Bar

Zanzabar

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