Bourbon & Beyond Festival 2022 took over Louisville with great tunes, good spirits and awesome food. For the first time the festival extended to four days at the Highland Festival Grounds at the Kentucky Expo Center after a three-year hiatus. The festival broke records as it welcomed over 140,000 people.
The festival is produced by Los Angeles-based Danny Wimmer presents, which also produces Louder Than Life, the rock and metal festival taking over the Highlands Festival Grounds next weekend.
Day 1 – Jack White, Alanis Morrisette, The Revivalists, and lots of Bourbon
With a name like Bourbon & Beyond – the whiskey has to be flowing. Bourbon lovers would not be disappointed with a wonderland of distillery booths from Bulliet to Jack Daniel’s. Many of the master distillers were even on hand to meet fans and lead tastings including Nicole Austin from George Dickel.
Thursday’s culinary and spirit experiences included Louisville’s Fred Minnick, an international bourbon expert, and actors Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley of “Vampire Diaries”, who signed bottles of their Brother’s Bond Bourbon.
There was also a Louisville cocktail competition to determine the signature drink of the city. Expo Bartender SC Baker won using Knob Creek bourbon in a five-ingredient cocktail.
Here’s the winning recipe to make this Louisville drink at home:
– 1.5 parts Knob Creek
– .5 parts Cynar
– .75 parts Dry Curacao
– .75 parts Lime Juice
– .25 parts Cinnamon Syrup
*Shake with ice, strain over fresh ice in a double rock glass, express and garnish with orange peel.
For foodie fans, guests could also register for an intimate dining experience over the weekend with Zelle.
Back over on the music side, Shakey Graves played the first day in the afternoon around 3 pm inside the Zelle large tent dining space with a beautiful giant chandelier hanging up in the middle of the room from the movie Scarface.
Musical highlights of the day included The Revivalists who played an hour long set with frontman David Shaw commanding the stage and even dancing and singing with the fans and the sign language interpreter on her platform.
Alanis Morrisette played all the notable Jagged Little Pill tunes of the 90’s era including “Ironic” and “You Oughta Know” She’s still got it and everyone singing every word of her anthems back to her.
Jack White closed out the night playing hits from all of his bands including The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs and the White Stripes. He ended the first day of the festival with the well-known hit “Seven Nation Army.”
Day 2 – Kings of Leon, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isabell + More
The second day kicked off with some of the best guitar and blues players touring today. Eric Gales and Christine “Kingfish” Ingram ripped through their sets with captivating performances
Jason Isbell played a song that highlights his amazing songwriting abilities. My personal favorite is “24 Frames” but he also did a Drive-by Truckers cover of “Decoration Day.”
Brandi Carlile vocals made me cry once again as she belted out “The Joke.” She also whipped out powerful covers of “Creep” by Radiohead and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real performed an enjoyable set which included a cover of “Every Time He Drinks He Thinks of Her” by Willie Nelson.
Kings of Leon closed out the night with a lengthy setlist of more than 20 songs. Of course they played well-known favorites “Use Somebody” “Radioactive,” “Molly’s Chambers” and ended the night with “Sex On Fire.”
Day 3 – Pearl Jam, Greta Van Fleet, Burger Battles + More
The culinary stage hosted the most entertaining event of the day which was a brother versus brother Burger Battle. It was between the two brothers in Greta Van Fleet Jake (guitarist) and Sam Kiszka (bassist) and the event was hosted by Chris Santos.
Judges included Danny Wagner from Greta Van Fleet along with chefs Amanda Freitag and Tiffani Faison from various shows on the Food Network. Sam ended up winning the burger competition and a coveted golden spatula with his vegetarian burger.
Fans got an early surprise when Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder came on stage and with Josh Klinghoffer (Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist) to join Neil and Liam Finn of Crowded House. They performed two tracks together, “World Where You Live” By Crowded House and “I Got You” by Split Enz (Neil Finn’s former band).
Greta Van Fleet has taken their stage show to a whole new level as they added major pyrotechnics to their set to accompany the dynamic voice of lead singer Josh Kiszka belting out their anthems.
Other musical highlights of the day included solid sets from both from Seattle group Reignwolf, and a soulful performance from Robert Randolph.
The highly anticipated headliner Pearl Jam kicked off the set on a mellow note. The 4 song intro including anthem “Daughter.” After the song Vedder sent a moving message as he laid out a “Defend Roe” shirt on his guitar monitor.
After the fourth song things kicked into high gear. The lights came up and the band stood up and launched into their greatest hits with full force. Fans grooved to the band’s cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain” as they wrapped up their robust set.
Day 4 – Chris Stapleton, The Doobie Brothers, Biscuits + More
The weekend of artists singing their hearts out of their original tunes and covering their favorite artists continued. Yola put on a stellar set and covered Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Needtobreathe covered “American Girl” by Tom Petty and Caamp covered tapped into their inner Black Sabbath with a cover of “War Pigs.”
On the chefy side, chef Justin Sutherland made his first appearance on the culinary stage since his boating accident in July. He made mouth-watering lobster gravy and biscuits with his sous chef Brandon Randolph.
The Doobie Brother hit the stage and played all the Yacht Rock hits their fans know and love such as “China Grove”, “Black Water” and ended the night with “Listen to the Music.”
Country artist Chris Stapleton closed out the weekend. He has been doing a ton of benefit work for flood victims in Eastern Kentucky so it was a special homecoming show. Stapleton is a Kentucky native so it was a fitting ending to the festival.
Dates for Bourbon & Beyond Festival 2023 are already announced for September 14-17 and you can book tickets here.