Forecastle attendee
A Forecastle attendee raises his beer to the band. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

At 17, Forecastle Festival is bigger, wiser and a bit more organized, but that doesn’t mean he’s not ready to party. And what a party it’ll be this weekend, July 12-14, as more than 50 acts take the various stages throughout three days at Waterfront Park.

We’re certain most Forecastle fanatics already have their daily logs committed to memory — whether that does or does not include headliners The Killers on Friday, Anderson .Paak on Saturday and The Avett Brothers on Sunday — so we wanted to highlight a few of the other experiences you can check out when not crammed into the front row of the Mast Stage.

Naturally, we’d like to start with bourbon.

The 16,000-square-foot Forecastle Bourbon Lodge returns for its seventh year, bringing you shade, air-conditioning and lots and lots of whiskey. This year, the tasting experiences are being presented by The Bourbon Review crew, and the Rarities Bar will be stocked by Justins’ House of Bourbon in Lexington.

Party Cove
Night lights at Party Cove | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

The tent will include ticketed sampling stations featuring everyone from Four Roses and Michter’s to Old Forester, Bulleit, Heaven Hill and more. Plus, several master distillers will be hosting tasting events throughout each day, so you can learn from and sip alongside the experts.

If you don’t drink your bourbon straight, you can always partake in a cocktail or even whip up your own creation at the mixology station inside the Lodge as well.

There’s also the Sierra Nevada Trip in the Woods Bar that’ll offer up barrel-aged brews and more. And don’t forget about the Hunter S. Thompson-inspired Gonzo Bar, which also will be serving up brown spirits galore.

If you’re curious as to which hard-to-find bourbons are crashing the party, we’ll throw out a couple of names: Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (2016, 2013), Woodford Double Double Oaked, Four Roses 130th Anniversary Small Batch, Heaven Hill 27-Year, and vintage bourbons from the 1970s (Old Crow, Old Taylor, Old Forester, etc.), among many others.

Bourbon Lodge memberships currently are available online for $30 and include a commemorative mug, re-entry into the Lodge throughout the weekend, and 15 tickets worth $1 each to be used to purchase food and drink inside.

If you’re not 21, then we’re guessing you’ll spend a lot of time at the Party Cove, where Red Bull-fueled dance parties are nonstop. Please remember to rehydrate from time to time and just say no to anyone named Molly.

Also returning this year is the Sea Dragon carnival ride and the Ferris Wheel — two fun options when you need some wind in your face and a break from the bourbon, beer, music or raving.

A scene from Forecastle 2018
It’s predicted to be another hot weekend, with temps in the 90s. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

The Kentucky Craft Beer Bar will be serving up locally brewed beverages as well, and local vendors like Kentucky for Kentucky, Regalo Gifts and Revelry Gallery will be selling their wares in the Kentucky Landing area, too.

Of course, there is so much more to Forecastle — including all the food and drink stations staffed by local nonprofits — so we encourage you to mosey around and take a look at everything before settling in one spot. And stay tuned to Insider Louisville for a gallery depicting all the Forecastle fun in the sun.

Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."