When you step through the west entrance at the Forecastle Festival, you’re immediately greeted by a lifeguard showcasing his best dancing skills.
But Mike Foster is no ordinary lifeguard. He’s Forecastle’s Head Party Guard, and he’s here to get you hyped.
Since 2012, Foster has been Forecastle’s Party Guard — a job he says it takes a special person to do.
“We’re kind of greeters, but we’re also entertainers, hype people,” Foster said. “We’re just trying to play at about 150 percent volume so we can get people maybe at 40 percent up to 60. Everybody has probably had a long work week, and we want them to let loose.”
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Foster may get the crowd hyped upon arrival, but it’s the blend of music, art and activism that make for a worthwhile experience at the festival, now in its 17th year.
Music is at the forefront of the festival, and with the likes of Chris Stapleton, Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse headlining and dozens more ready to put on their own shows, festival-goers are sure to find the right kind of music for their tastes.
But what else is there to do at the festival?
One of the most popular destinations inside the festival grounds is the air-conditioned Bourbon Lodge, which houses distillery vendors from throughout the state.
Making your bourbon selection can be a difficult one, but just as hard is attempting to figure out how you want your drink made. By the end of the weekend, an interactive piece of art made from First Build could create a consensus for the best way to drink bourbon.
Do you like your bourbon neat, on the rocks, with friends, at work? Simply pick up the appropriate stamp made from First Build and stamp the barrels in the corner of the lodge.
Outside the Bourbon Lodge, toward the west entrance, you’ll spot Kentucky Landing. Musicians from the Bluegrass state will be performing at the Port Stage alongside a group of Kentucky-based retailers, including Lexington’s Kentucky for Kentucky.
“We love to spread the Kentucky love so it’s just an opportunity to spread our message a little wider and to show off some of the best things about our state,” Kentucky for Kentucky’s Anna Bard said. “One of the great things is Kentucky music.”
Art can be found throughout the festival grounds, such as near the Mast Stage, where Jacob Duncan is working on a weekend-long mural for Pabst Blue Ribbon. An artist for Louisville-based Often Seen Rarely Spoken, Duncan is working for PBR to get people to gravitate over to its booth, grab a beer and “get immersed in live art and live music.”
He said Forecastle is a “powerhouse for all things creative and interesting.
“Forecastle has been a huge collaboration of not only live music, but local art all over the country, mixed with activism and getting people talking about social issues,” he said.
Forecastle Festival will continue Saturday and Sunday at Louisville’s Waterfront Park.
Mike Stunson: @Mike_Stunson