Free fireworks return to Waterfront Park for the Fourth of July.
Free fireworks return to Waterfront Park for the Fourth of July.

Save for a few neighborhood festivals and backyard cookouts, Louisville was rather quiet last Fourth of July since budget cuts canceled the annual Waterfront Independence Festival.

Thanks to the mayor, the Louisville Orchestra, Waterfront Development Corp., and Thorntons Oil, the festival is back on and features a new twist and a new name — the first-ever “Louisville Orchestra Waterfront 4th” is scheduled for Saturday, July 4, on Waterfront Park’s Great Lawn. Events include a performance by the Teddy Abrams-led orchestra with special guests Ben Sollee and hip-hop/classical fusion group 1200.

“No one in this community can deny the excitement Teddy Abrams brings to music in Louisville, and we are thrilled he has found a home here on the Fourth,” said David Karem, president of Waterfront Development Corp., in a press release. “Thanks again to Thorntons and all of our generous sponsors who make it possible to enjoy this free celebration. The entire Waterfront neighborhood will be alive with activity on the Fourth.”

Teddy Abrams will lead a performance by the Louisville Orchestra. | Photo by Frankie Steele
Teddy Abrams will lead a performance by the Louisville Orchestra. | Photo by Frankie Steele

Abrams said he’s looking forward to reaching a broader audience by partnering with the festival.

“This is our chance to share our musical vision with the entire Louisville community,” he said. “I want to show the extraordinary diversity of music that an orchestra can play — Beethoven, local hip-hop, Bernstein, folk and much more — and celebrate the day with all the virtuosity and power of this extraordinary orchestra.”

The free event will begin at 5 p.m. and feature a Catfish Louie Kids Area, upscale festival food, a Leinenkugal Summer Shandy Beer Garden and an Old Forester Red, White & Blue Bourbon Bar. The fireworks will begin at 10 p.m.

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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."