The ninth Forecastle Festival and the first HullabaLOU festival will be held two weeks apart this year. Forecastle is July 9th-11th and HullabaLOU is July 23-25th.

Just looking at the websites and the promotional materials, it’s clear that the two aren’t fighting for the same audience. It’s unlikely that any music fans will stress over whether to spend their concert dollars seeing the Flaming Lips or Bon Jovi. (If you are a crossover Lips/Jovi fan, what else is in your collection?)

There are a few HullabaLOU acts that likely appeal to the Forecastle crowd, but Forecastle founder J.K. McKnight told WFPL today that competition between the two festivals will be minimal.

“I think it’s a different audience. We knew about the lineup about two months or so beforehand,” he says. “When I heard Bon Jovi was on I just kind of shrugged and went back to work. But you know it’s hopefully good for the economy here and puts Louisville on the map in a way it never has been before.”

So if there are two festivals with two different audiences in the same month…what will that mean for Louisville? McKnight wants Forecastle to be a regional highlight of summer festivals, and this year’s lineup is a step in that direction. The crowd will likely be younger than the HullabaLOU audience, and it will be interesting to see who draws attendees from the farthest away.

It will also be interesting to watch these two festivals grow. McKnight says he wants Forecastle to stay at Waterfront Park, and he has ambitious plans for using all of the facilities he can on the riverfront. As Forecastle grows, so will its reputation, and McKnight could achieve his goal of making Forecastle another major summer event, in line with new and growing festivals like Pitchfork and Sasquatch or established kings like Bonnaroo and Coachella.

But how will HullabaLOU grow? Could it become the Bonnaroo for older people? (That’s not a bad thing). Could it be an alternative to the New Orleans Jazzfest?

All of the other festivals I mentioned have a definite feel to them. It’s built by their reputation (Pitchfork=ultra hip, Bonnaroo=kind of hippie, but less so now) or their geography (Sasquatch=northwest). Forecastle’s “music, art, activism” reputation has developed over the last few years, but what specific characteristics might Forecastle and HullabaLOU take on? What reputation will they get from Louisville?

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