Forecastle Festival pumps millions into Louisville's economy
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Because of financial reasons, the 4th of July celebration at Waterfront Park is off this weekend. But two weeks from tomorrow (Friday) the park will be filled with thousands of people for what has become an annual summer event in Louisville.
Final preparations are underway for the Forecastle Festival to be held for three days, July 18 through July 20.
Founder JK McKnight tells WDRB News that he expects more than the 60,000 people who attended last year.
"Hopefully we will have 75,000 people here the weekend of Forecastle," he says, "I think we broke the record last year of the largest ticketed event in Waterfront Park history, so hopefully we can up that a notch."
The first Forecastle was in 2002, a one-day neighborhood event held in Tyler Park.
"I would say that there was probably less than 50 people there that year," says McKnight.
McKnight says the festival remains true to its original goal of celebrating music, art, and environmental activism.
"I think we have a great urban festival model we've built here," he says.
And McKnight believes there is still room to grow since the festival takes up only about 15 acres of the park's total of 85 acres.
"There is tons of room to grow," he says, "but growth is really not the focus, the focus is making it the best festival based on quality rather than quantity."
A recent economic development study showed that last year's festival pumped more than $14 million into the local economy.
"There's dozens and dozens of businesses impacted by this event," adds McKnight, "and we have people coming in town from 1,843 cities at this point and 49 states."
McKnight says 70 percent of those who attend Forecastle come from outside the metro area.