We attended the much-anticipated Bourbon & Beyond festival in Louisville over the weekend. It did not disappoint!
J purchased tickets for my birthday in May, so we’ve been excited for months. My excitement dwindled a bit when I saw the forecast: the weather was in the 90s the entire weekend. Not exactly outdoor musical festival weather (at least not in my mind). But we decided to make the best of it. My only complaint regarding the festival is that they would not allow reentry – if we went to the festivities early, we’d have to commit to staying all day. I knew I wouldn’t make it, especially considering drink prices. The gates opened at 10:30 Saturday morning but we took our sweet time. Because of the weather, we missed out on a lot of the fun: the festival included bourbon demonstrations, other shows, and celebrity chefs. Innovative concept, but the weather did not cooperate!
We met a friend for brunch and settled at first on Finn’s Southern Kitchen. The restaurant closed at 3:00 but we made it by 1:45. By 2:45, we still did not have our food (I ordered eggs; how long does that take?), and, after speaking with the bartender (the only employee we could find), our server brought out a basket of biscuits, but not ETA on food. Time to go. The inside of the restaurant is gorgeous and fun but the service left much to be desired. Needless to say, we decided to eat elsewhere.
After a very late lunch at Flannigan’s, we headed to Champion’s Park for some music. Our friend dropped us off around 4:30 and we had no issue getting in the gate. However, we were in line for 30 minutes to get a Miller Lite. Priorities, I guess? We walked around for a bit in the blazing hot sun, checked out some of the tents, and I made the executive decision to leave so we could go to a bar and watch the UK Football game.
We holed up at a bar in the Highlands for the game, and, if you follow college football, you know it did not end well. Such a disappointing end to the day, and the losing streak to the Florida Gators continues. Maybe next year?
Schedule courtesy of Bourbon & Beyond.
We stayed with our friend Saturday night and woke up early(ish) to walk the next morning. We then went to brunch at 211 Clover Lane. The food was delicious! After brunch, we went to a bar in order to watch the Browns play, then checked into Aloft Louisville East. It was the perfect place for the night – the rooms are small, but we wouldn’t be there much!
After a nap, we took a Lyft down to Hilltop Tavern for a quick bite and a few cheap beers. We finally arrived to the festival around 7:00, just in time for the sun to start setting (thank goodness). It was a much calmer atmosphere and the weather was beautiful. We ordered a couple of drinks and managed to watch Paul Rodgers and Joe Bonamassa before the seeing the queen Stevie Nicks. All of the bands started right on schedule… that’s the first time I’ve ever known that to happen! She was amazing, of course, playing several of her biggest hits and maintaining her diva-like behavior. It’s hard to believe that she’ll be 70 next year! I’ve been a Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks fan for as long as I can remember, and seeing her was a dream come true! The experience did not disappoint.
I was worried about the traffic after the concert, but the security team did an amazing job. They had a designated Uber/Lyft/cab area and let everyone know when their ride arrived. I’ve never seen that before and we were both impressed. We actually made it back to the hotel before 11:00.
Apologies for the grainy iPhone pics – cameras were obviously not allowed in!
The bourbon tent. Sadly it was too hot for me to drink bourbon!
I’m not an all-day outdoor music fan (I’m high-maintenance, okay?) but I’ve attended a few festivals, and this was the best so far. The crowd was well-mannered, the acts started on time, and it was clean and safe. There was attention to detail everywhere you turned: there was a phone-charging station, multiple bathrooms (porta potties, but, you know), lots of water and cocktail stations, and, each table and tent were decorated with pumpkins and mums – something I definitely appreciated. It’s the little things, you know? The drink prices were a little steep (that’s to be expected), and I’m sure the food prices were, too, but otherwise it was a great time. Hard to believe this was the inaugural event!
Depending on the acts, I can see us attending next year! Did you go to Bourbon & Beyond? What’s your favorite music festival?