Bourbon & Beyond

The Big Bourbon Bar will return to Bourbon & Beyond. | Photo by Sara Havens

With a little more than a month to go, organizers of September’s trifecta of Louisville music festivals — Hometown Rising, Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life — are preparing to welcome more than 240,000 people to their new venue space at the Kentucky Fair & Expo Center.

In fact, in a recent interview with Insider Louisville, Danny Wimmer Presents CEO Danny Hayes tells us, “It’s hard to believe the festivals are right around the corner, but we feel ready!”

The first one, Hometown Rising, runs Sept. 14-15 and features some of the top names in the country — from Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Luke Bryan to Little Big Town and Dwight Yoakam.

The following weekend is the three-day Bourbon & Beyond bash from Sept. 20-22 that includes heavy-hitters like Foo Fighters, Hall & Oates, Zac Brown Band, Joan Jett, Robert Plant and many more.

Danny Hayes

Danny Hayes | Photo by Sam Shapiro

And finally, Louder Than Life cranks up the volume from Sept. 27-29 with the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Disturbed, Rob Zombie, Ice Cube and Slipknot.

For those trying to keep track, that’s eight days of music throughout three consecutive weekends.

Last year, as you may recall, both Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life were canceled due to heavy rains that flooded Champions Park. Now, the crew has selected a better — and higher elevated — space, they believe, by using a combination of pavement and open field at the Expo Center.

They’ve even named the field “Highland Festival Grounds” with an emphasis on “high.”

All three festivals also will include camping grounds nearby.

Hayes tells Insider the Danny Wimmer Presents crew is excited about the potential of the new site.

“The great thing about the fairgrounds is that it already has the physical infrastructure to handle all three festivals,” he says. “The simple fact is, had we been at this location last year, we would not have had to cancel. While last year was painful, in the long run, this move turned out to be a good thing.”

Hayes says the State Fair Board and staff at the Expo Center have been incredibly accommodating, which makes such a feat much easier to pull off.

“Their enthusiasm for what we are building here in Louisville is contagious,” he adds.

Because organizers were fielding so many questions about the venue and its setup, they created a short video to give people a glimpse of what they’re planning. Check it out here:


“Most importantly, people should expect grass,” says Hayes. “As you can see in the video, we are not using the same part of the grounds as the State Fair. This will be a completely different look and feel from anything anyone has ever experienced at the Expo Center.”

What people will recognize are the essential elements of the festivals, including local and national food vendors, the Big Bourbon Bar, Jim Beam’s Tiki Barrel Bar, The Speakeasy, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Flight School, and Brown-Forman’s Char House.

Hayes says ticket sales have surpassed their expectations, even though some Bourbon & Beyond tickets were discounted on Groupon.

“Our original projection for the entire series was around 200,000 people over the three weekends,” he explains. “We’re now on track to host 240,000 people.”

As to what he’s most looking forward to next month, Hayes answers simply, “If I said good weather, would that be too obvious?”

Tickets to all three festivals currently are available online. There are VIP options as well as single-day ticket sales.