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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:
• Bourbon and Bluegrass Jam at Haymarket Whiskey Bar – Every Sunday.
• Thursdays Bourbon & Bluegrass at Blu Italian Grille featuring local favorite, Hickory Vaught.
• 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:
Musique Romantique performed by the Louisville Chorus at the Seelbach during a Valentine’s dinner.
Itchin’ to Pick – a weekend-long bluegrass jam session held at the Galt House.
Kentucky Derby Festival Fest-a-Ville - 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 (headquarters at the Monkey Wrench).
Abbey Road on the River - held Memorial Day weekend at Belvedere Park, this is the largest Beatles tribute festival in America.
Kentucky Reggae Festival – held Memorial Day Weekend at the Louisville Water Tower.
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.
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.
Kentucky State Fair – features free and paid concerts from multiple genres and national acts.
WorldFest – a celebration of world cultures held at the Belvedere over Labor Day weekend.
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.
NuluFest – this street festival is the official after-party of IdeaFestival.
Garvin Gate Blues Festival - largest free neighborhood street music festival in Louisville.
Belknap Fall Festival – great food, live music and local artists at a street festival off of Douglass Loop in the Highlands neighborhood.
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: