HomeWorld NewsLive blog: Bourbon and Beyond music festival returns in Louisville – Courier Journal
Live blog: Bourbon and Beyond music festival returns in Louisville – Courier Journal
September 14, 2023
It’s back! Bourbon & Beyond, the world’s largest bourbon and music festival, is taking over the Highland Festival Grounds at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville now through Sunday.
The celebration of great music and whiskey is known for offering dozens of specialty bars and exciting musical performances across four days. This year, more than 65 musical acts in total will perform at the festival, including headliners Bruno Mars, The Killers, Brandi Carlile (who returns after an incredible set in 2022), and The Black Keys. Recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Duran Duran plus Billy Strings, The Black Crowes, Blondie, The Avett Brothers, Train, Hozier, Jon Batiste, Brittany Howard and more will also play Bourbon & Beyond 2023.
Besides four days of music from more than 65 musical acts in Americana, roots, blues, country and rock n roll, the festival offers a range of culinary programming from some of the country’s top chefs and a wide palette of bourbon tastings and workshops celebrating the rich culture of Kentucky.
And we’ll be there all weekend. Follow along with our live updates to see all the action and happenings at Bourbon & Beyond.
2 p.m.: Make sure you look for the correct entrance gate, music fans
Are you a General Admission ticket holder or do you have a VIP pass? Before you make the trek to the wrong entrance gate, be sure you are headed toward the correct gate. There are signs pointing you in the right direction for both but it is easy to start walking with the crowd and end up at the wrong gate.
1:45 p.m.: Thousands funnel into festival grounds
Thousands of music and bourbon fans are already crowding the Highland Festival Grounds, ready to take in all the festival has to offer. Around 1:45 p.m., the entrance gates were line-free and the parking lot still had plenty of empty space.
Last year, Bourbon & Beyond broke an attendance record of 140,000 and the festival and its sister festival, Louder Than Life, which begins next week, brought in $43 million. This year the festival hopes to break even more records.
1:05 p.m.: First bands of the four-day festival take the stage
Crowds are streaming into the Highland Festival Grounds and the first few acts have taken the stage. Fans watched Stephen Wilson Jr. on the Barrel Stage Thursday early afternoon. Crowds are expected to swell as it gets later in the day ahead of headliner Brandi Carlile.
12 p.m.: The gates are open at Bourbon & Beyond
It’s here! The gates are finally open at Bourbon & Beyond! First up is Vivi Rincon on the Selvary Oak Stage followed by Stephen Wilson, Jr. at 12:15 p.m. on the T-Mobile Barrel Stage.
10:45 a.m.: Road closures around Highland Festival Grounds
Heading to Bourbon & Beyond today? You might need a heads-up about some road closures in the area.
Gate 1 of the Kentucky Exposition Center, where parking is located, is closed, so people going to the festivals will need to use Preston Highway to enter through Gate 6 or Crittenden Drive to access Gate 2 and Gate 4.
Phillips Lane from Preston Highway to Freedom Way has been closed since Sept. 4. There are a few interstate ramp closures that might impact your drive, too:
Insterstate ramp closures: Sept. 14-17 from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Interstate 264 Eastbound ramp to Phillips Lane / Kentucky Exposition Center Gate 1
Interstate 264 Westbound ramp to Phillips Lane / Kentucky Exposition Center Gate 1
Interstate 65 Northbound ramp to Phillips Lane / Kentucky Exposition Center Gate 1
Interstate 65 Southbound ramp to Phillips Lane / Kentucky Exposition Center Gate 1
9:30 a.m.: Sunny skies are expected at Bourbon & Beyond Thursday
Prepare for sunny weather! Brian Schoettmer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Louisville, said that “at least the first half of the festivals are going to be dry.” Thursday calls for sun, with a high of 83 degrees. Thursday night will be mostly clear, with a low of around 53 degrees.
2:10-2:55 p.m.: The Firkin Podcast LIVE: Every Drink Tells a Story(hosted by Chris Blandford & Brian Probus)
3:35-4:30 p.m.: A Seat at the Table: Grand Traditions with Fresh Perspectives (moderated by Jamar Mack, Kentucky Original Black Bourbon Enthusiasts.) Panelists: Melissa Rift, Master Taster, Old Forester; Richie Michaels, Uncle Nearest; Tracey & Scott Jacobs, Inclusion Brands; Rob Dietrich, Blackened American Whiskey
5:10-5:50 p.m.: It’s a Family Affair: Generations of Whiskey (moderated by Chris Blandford.) Panelists: Eddie Russell, master distiller, Wild Turkey; Bruce Russell, associate blender and national ambassador, Wild Turkey
6-6:30 p.m.: McTavish Spirits Bottle release with actor Graham McTavish (hosted by Chris Blandford)
Where can I park Thursday at Bourbon & Beyond?
General parking will be available at the Kentucky Expo Center for a daily fee of $30. Parking is not reserved and your vehicle will be parked based on your arrival time and entrance point into the Kentucky Expo Center parking lots. Visit any of the Entrance Gates at the Kentucky Exposition Center, including Gate 2, Gate 4, and Gate 6. It is suggested to arrive early if you’d like to park on-site.
Parking lots open at 10 a.m. Cash will be accepted.
Reach features reporter Kirby Adams at email@example.com.