Most music fests are, well—music fests. They provide food and drink to their audiences, but their primary function is to supply good tunes. As its name suggests, Bourbon & Beyond has a broader focus. The three-day Louisville festival, running September 20, 21, and 22, 2019, offers a top-notch roster of stars—Foo Fighters, Robert Plant, Allison Krauss, Zac Brown Band, Hall & Oates, ZZ Top—but Kentucky whiskey is the real headliner.
The lineup of distilleries offering their wares includes notables from Angel’s Envy to Woodford Reserve, with Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey, Rebel Year, 1792, Knob Creek, and many more in the mix. There will be sessions with experts on topics such as barrel finishes vs. traditional aging, pairing beers with bourbons, how to taste bourbon like a pro, women and whiskey, etc. The point is to help audiences appreciate and celebrate the finely crafted liquid gold.
And, of course, the festival also hosts a number of food pairings with the drinks. Chefs including Amanda Freitag, Anthony Lamas, and Tiffani Thiessen will be on hand serving everything from barbecue to hot chicken to Creole offerings to tex mex, including gluten free and vegan products. There will be culinary demos to show aspiring chefs how to cook with bourbon.
But one can always purchase fine whiskey and good food in Kentucky. Music is the special draw for this event. While the big names should attract crowds, the other acts may be even more worth seeing with performers such as Leon Bridges, Margo Price, Trey Anastasio Band, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul, Samantha Fish, The Flaming Lips. Squeeze, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Jenny Lewis, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real, and more filling the bill. It’s truly an extraordinary program.
Tickets aren’t cheap, from about $100 a day to $200 for a weekend pass. However, considering the number of quality acts, not to mention the other amenities, it seems a fair price for the music and bourbon enthusiast. One should probably come thirsty for the experiences!