Forecastle Festival Friday 2017 (Day 1)

“Forecastle is a flame that I feel will continue to burn even brighter in the years to come.” – H. Acosta

If you caught Flush’s own Harry Acosta’s piece from last year’s festival, you’d know that Forecastle is Louisville, Kentucky’s annual 3-Day music festival loaded with big headliners, big surprises, and bourbon. For their 15th year, organizers went all out in landing headliners like the newly reformed LCD Soundsystem, 2017’s Hottest Hip Hop act, Run The Jewels, Iconic, enigmatic English songstress, PJ Harvey, Country-Rocker Sturgill Simpson, and American Alt Rock heroes, Weezer.

Besides the big names, you’d be forgiven for thinking this year’s festival was a Nashville music festival with the number of amazing acts from Music City (Sun Seeker, *Repeat Repeat, Jeffrey James, and many more), but bands on the bill hail from as near as Louisville itself (Twin Limb), and as far as England (PJ Harvey). And no matter how close or distant festival-goers walked, drove, or flew in from, they called Waterfront Park home for a little while and during their stay, were treated to a Summer weekend music experience they would not soon forget.

Day 1:

Josh Ostrander, a.k.a., Mondo Cozmo is catching fire in both the U.S. and the U.K., with singles “Shine,” “Automatic,” and “Plastic Soul.” His alt-rock anthems translate well to the stage and that song about hope (or misinterpreted as such) resonated with a packed crowd of all ages. Taking a shine to all the other songs, too, the Friday afternoon crowd proved that this fire isn’t likely to be extinguished anytime soon.


Singing songs that save lives and loves with a gravel voice that reaches the heavens while playing a guitar that digs up a little hell, American singer-songwriter John Moreland performed a beautiful set inducing watery eyes from a visibly moved audience. Even with new album, Big Bad Luv recently released featuring a full band, John keeps this live set stripped down. Still, with an unnamed, talented accompanist on guitar, new songs like “Old Wounds” and older songs like “Oh Julia,” take on new life and hit the mark just the same.


For most, Friday was all about Cage The Elephant & Run The Jewels, and rightly so.

Cage The Elephant, besides being the home state heroes, has become much more of a household name in music. Having amassed a number of modern rock hits (the likes of which have been featured in countless TV shows, films, etc.), the band is known for their electric live performances. The energy that frontman, Matt Shultz puts into each and every set could power all of Downtown Louisville. Tearing through twelve Cage mainstays like “In One Ear,” “Trouble,” and “Come a Little Closer,” along with one choice cover (Wreckless Eric’s classic, “Whole Wide World”) the band lit the stage on fire, without the use of Odesza’s pyrotechnics.


During their rousing set on The Boom Stage, Killer Mike of Run The Jewels shouted out his southern pride and teased ousting El-P from the group. He also had everyone bouncing, dancing, or some mixed semblance of the two, with the duo’s frenetic, hook-laden big beat hip hop. Running through hit tracks “Legend Has It,” “Oh My Darling,” “Run The Jewels” and more, this supergroup of modern rap brought in a mostly younger audience, but some adventurous greying older folks 35 and above could be seen head bobbing and grooving, and even twerking too. This is 2017, after all.

Images courtesy of Harry Acosta Photography.