Bourbon and Beyond triumphantly returned to Louisville last weekend for four days of non-stop music, food and bourbon delights. The festival draws over 120,000 people over the four days of the festival.
Saturday did not disappoint with musical performances from headliners including The Black Keys, The Black Crowes, The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show and more.
Bruno Mars, Blondie and Jon Batiste performed on the final day of Bourbon and Beyond to cap off the perfect weekend of music and fun at the Highland Festival Grounds at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
Danielle Ponder took the stage early on Saturday afternoon wearing a sunshine yellow dress. The singer told the crowd she had taken a red eye from LA to perform, but there were no signs of tiredness on that stage. She delighted with her beautiful voice and soulful music.
Michelle Branch sent us back to the early 2000s with her hits “Everywhere” and “Standing Still”.
Old Crow Medicine Show played a beautiful set full of originals and covers, most notably providing a tribune to Jimmy Buffet with “Margaritaville”. The band closed their set out with “Wagon Wheel”.
Over on the Culinary Stage, Amanda Freitag prepared parmesan fritters with ham as well as a chocolate cake to pair with her Boozy AF cocktails. She shared fun Chopped stories with Chris Santos as they cooked together.
Top Chef World All Star’s Runner Up and Kentucky native Sara Bradley made the perfect quintessential dish of a Kentucky Hot Brown ultimate grilled cheese sandwich to pair with the afternoon bourbon selections. Chef Ed Lee was on stage to lend a hand as well with the preparation.
The afternoon was rounded out by indie rockers First Aid Kit and Spoon.
It’s always a pleasure to see the brothers in The Black Crowes perform live. We caught them a few weeks ago on the opening night of the Aerosmith tour in Philadelphia and they sound better than ever. Like a good whiskey, they just get better with age. Their classics, like “She Talks to Angels” and “Remedy” will live forever.
As the sun set, The Avett Brothers brought Americana to the stage.
Light rain fell as The Black Keys started their set, but the fans didn’t seem to mind. It is always a treat to see the Akron natives perform live. We have a soft spot for the rock duo which always brings explosive energy to their festival performances. Dan Auerbach played his catchy licks on the most beautiful guitars as Patrick Carney banged out the rhythm on the drums. It was a real treat to be in the photo pit for “Gold on The Ceiling”. After their set, the band headed over to Zanzibar in Louisville to do a DJ set where they spun vinyl from 1-3am.
Sunday’s forecast called for rain, but thankfully it was nothing but sunshine. The crowd was filled with happy people singing along all day.
Dumpstaphunk with Ivan Neville started the day with some New Orleans soul music. Fans dressed in Saints gear were in the crowd, cheering their hometown band on.
Maggie Rose took the stage in a red band jacket and sang her heart out. Maggie talked about working on new music and played one of the songs off her album that will be released in early 2024.
Louisville native, Super chef Darnell Ferguson made fried chicken and a traditional daiquiri with headliner Bruno Mars’ signature rum, SelvaRey.
Fantastic Negrito brought the funky energy and got so caught up in the moment that he went 10 minutes over his allotted set time.
Aloe Blacc played reggae. “Your Song/The Man” was so much fun. He closed his set with a cover of Avicii’s “Wake Me Up”.
Ryan Bingham has been around the country music scene for a decade, but has risen to fame from being on Yellowstone. He drew a huge crowd and sang while drinking bourbon straight from the bottle. There’s no way we’ll ever be as cool as him.
NOLA energy returned to the stage when Jon Batiste hit the main stage. He had so much fun with his set, even serenading the crowd with the entirety of the “If You’re Happy and You Know It” song, in addition to his own hit “Freedom”.
No one in the crowd could keep still as the dance bug bit them all. Batiste showed off his musical prowess by playing almost every instrument on stage throughout his set at a prodigy level, including the piano melodica, guitar and drums. He smiled the entire time he was on stage and radiated pure joy. Every person in the audience left happy after experiencing his magic.
From the first chords of “One Way Or Another”, Blondie had the crowd hanging off of every note. The band played all its greatest hits, including “Call Me”, “Maria” and “Heart of Glass”. The iconic Debbie Harry strutted her way around the stage and bantered with the audience between songs.
Bruno Mars kicked off his set with the 2016 hit “24K Magic”. The soulful and stylish singer wore navy slacks and a funky orange polka-dotted button up with a hat. Flanked by backup dancers, he crooned his way through his set as he let the crowd know his talent isn’t limited to singing. The man can dance! From start to finish, he had the crowd grooving, closing out the festival with total earworm “Uptown Funk”.
We are already counting the days until the 2024 edition of the festival. DWP has been announced that the 2024 Bourbon & Beyond Festival will take place on September 19-22, 2024. According to the social media accounts for Bourbon & Beyond, early bird passes, hotel bundles and camping will be available to the public starting next Friday, September 22 at Noon – but if you sign up for the Bourbon & Beyond newsletter, you’ll get access to their exclusive pre-sale happening on Thursday.
Story Editing By Amber Patrick