If you already picked your favorite moment from this year’s Bourbon and Beyond festival, you might want to hold off. It’s only the third day of the and there is still plenty of music, food, and bourbon to enjoy.
The past two days have been full of amazing moments and acts, and Saturday will not disappoint with musical performances from headliners including The Black Keys, The Black Crowes, The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show and more.
As for food and drinks, Kentucky chef Sara Bradley, who competed on the 16th season of “Top Chef,” will do a demonstration, hosted by Ed Lee, at 1:30 p.m. in the Monogram Culinary Stage and The Firkin Podcast LIVE will have a bourbon conversation at 5:45 p.m. in the Kentucky Venues Bourbon Stage.
The Courier Journal will bring you all the latest updates and insights from the third day of the festival, starting with Drayton Farley at 11:55 a.m. in the SelvaRey Oak Stage and finishing with The Black Keys at 9:15 p.m. on the T-Mobile Barrel Stage.
10 p.m.: Rain? What rain?
“Rain, what rain” said Derek Meyer. “It’s The Black Keys, we’re staying.”
Meyer had the right attitude. Soon after we spoke to him, the rain that fell periodically throughout the evening of Saturday stopped. Across the Highland Festival Grounds, the rain ponchos came off and the band played on.
9:30 p.m.: Black Keys take the stage in the rain
A steady rain fell Saturday at Bourbon & Beyond as The Black Keys took the stage.
“OK, we’re going to keep this moving right along,” The Black Keys told a rain-soaked crowd. Well, maybe not soaked, but certainly soggy.
Angie McDermott was volunteering and came back with her high school friend, Jude Weber. When McDermott was leaving her house, she grabbed ponchos at the last minute and said she looked “like a pumpkin,” but was glad she had them when the rain started Saturday.They said they were not leaving because of the rain. They said they experienced the 2018 Bourbon and Beyond which had much more rain.
9:10 p.m.: Man wins Bourbon & Beyond tickets through radio contest
Greg Metzger won passes to Bourbon & Beyond through Alt 105.1 radio.“I am having an awesome time. The most awesome time,” Metzger said.Not even slight raindrops during The Avett Brothers set could dampen Metzger’s spirits. He’ll be back next weekend for Louder Than Life.
And he said, “I’ll still be awesome.”
9:05 p.m.: Friends from West Virginia say the vibe ‘is very interesting’
Alexa Adams (left) and Olivia Miller (right), friends from West Virginia are here for their first Bourbon and Beyond. Adams was wrapped up in a blanket toward the end of the evening because she was “a little bit” cold after getting a sunburn. They came to see several artists including Hozier, Luke Grimes and The Black Keys.“I love it,” Adams said. “It’s very interesting. I’ve never been to any type of music festival so it’s been really fun.”
9 p.m.: ‘Just happy to be here’
Erin and Tommy Druen, from Georgetown, were enjoying The Avett Brothers Saturday night and were excited to see headliners The Black Keys. On Sunday, they are excited for Blondie and Bruno Mars.Tommy Druen is “prefering tonight over last night” and Erin Druen is “just happy to be here. Can’t wait till next year. [We’re] excited to see what the lineup is.”
8:35 p.m.: This fan has seen The Avett Brothers 35 times
A large crowd covered the back lawn at The Highlands Festival Grounds after sunset.“We came for the entire festival,” said Brenna Howard, who traveled from Atlanta, Georgia. “But we’re here mainly for the Avett Brothers. We have seen them 35 times.”
8:10 p.m.: Three days, three nights at Bourbon and Beyond
Three friends and three days (and nights) of Bourbon & Beyond. As they waited for The Avett Brothers, one of Saturday’s headliners, Debbie Eberentz, Marty Kinney and Lesley Kinney remarked on pacing themselves for the four-day music and bourbon festival.”It’s day three and I am holding on,” said Lesley Kinney. “I am starting to feel and look a bit like Mad Max.”Debbie Eberentz, who lives in Dallas, Texas but formerly lived in Louisville, seemed glad to be back in the Bluegrass State.I love Louisville and love Bourbon and Beyond,” she said.
7:30 p.m.: A rainbow and the Black Crowes
As The Black Crowes took the stage Saturday night, a rainbow appeared.“Talk about perfect timing,” said Chris Robinson, lead singer of the rock band from Atlanta, Georgia. “That rainbow came out right as we started to play.”
7 p.m.: A bachelor party celebration at Bourbon & Beyond
John Silva, from Texas, Steven Silva, from Orlando, and Dan Silva from Mary Esther, Florida, came to Bourbon & Beyond to celebrate Steven Silva’s bachelor party before he gets married in October. They came to see Hozier, The Killers, Bastille, and The Black Keys.“The nice thing is no matter whose out there, we’re walking around, drinking whiskey, and there’s good music in the background,” John said.
6:45 p.m.: Let’s hear it for Kelly!
Austin, Texas rock band Spoon made its first appearance at Bourbon and Beyond in Louisville on Saturday. Lead singer Britt Daniel made a point of calling out a female fan in the front row
“What’s your name, you know all the words,” Daniel called out to the crowd.
“Kelly,” yelled back the woman in the front row.
“All right let’s hear it for Kelly, said Daniel, and the crowd erupted in cheers.
6:15 p.m.: ‘Amazing, inclusive and freeing’ vibes at Bourbon & Beyond
Mariah Phillips, from Lexington, and Jens Knuf, from Germany, bought tickets to Bourbon & Beyond because they were excited to see Brandi Carlile, who headlined Thursday night. They said this is their second time coming to the festival, but the first time together.
Knuf said they have seen Carlile more than 10 times now. Phillips said the festival “has been amazing, inclusive and just freeing.”
5:05 p.m.: First Aid Kit takes the stage at Bourbon & Beyond
As clouds rolled in at the Highlands Festival Grounds Friday afternoon, First Aid Kit, a sister duo from Sweden, took the stage.“It’s been eight years since we’ve been to Kentucky,” said Klara Söderberg. ”And that’s too long.”
In the crowd, Jennifer O’Brien said she is excited for First Aid Kit and Bruno Mars, who is Sunday’s headliner.“The drinks and the food have been great, but the music has definitely been the highlight,” she said of her first Bourbon & Beyond. “The music is awesome.”
5 p.m.: Look at that pancake flip!
Celebrity chef Ed Lee shows why he’s a master of the kitchen while flipping a kimchi pancake during the Korean BBQ Throwdown with Chef Danny Lee and Joe Kwon of Avett Brothers at Bourbon & Beyond.
4:45 p.m.: We sat down with the ‘King of Bourbon,’ Fred Minnick
Fred Minnick is the indisputable Kentucky King of Bourbon and he’s been a part of Bourbon & Beyond since it started in 2017.
“It’s been an amazing creation and people have fallen in love with this festival,” Minnick said. “It’s what Kentucky has always deserved, to show off our incredible bourbon community and great musicians.”
He said bringing in an artist the caliber of Bruno Mars, who headlines Sunday, gets the attention of other managers.
“The people who manage those high-level acts see what’s happening here in Kentucky at this festival and they want to be part of this in the future,” he said.
Speaking of surprising musicians who have shown up on the Bourbon & Beyond lineup, on Friday “Mr. Las Vegas” Wayne Newton performed and then took part in a bourbon tasting of Pappy Van Winkle 23-year.
If you are attending the music festival on Sunday, be sure to stop by a special bourbon event hosted by Minnick highlighting the best bourbon of the four-day event.
4:15 p.m.: What celebrity chefs Amanda Freitag and Chris Santos think about Bourbon & Beyond
Celebrity chefs Amanda Freitag and Chris Santos, who are both doing cooking demonstrations at Bourbon & Beyond, said they love the festival.
“For me, the music is the thing,” Santos said. “Last night seeing The Killers was amazing and I can’t wait to see Blondie tomorrow night. But getting to be on stage with great chefs [like Freitag] … it’s just a magical experience.”
“It is,” she added. “It’s the food, the music, the bourbon. We all get together and experiences of a lifetime are made right here.”
4 p.m.: We catch up with Willie Jones after his set at Bourbon & Beyond
You may recognize him from his McDonald’s commercial and his appearance on Season 2 of “The X Factor.” Country music artist Willie Jones performed early Saturday at Bourbon & Beyond. It was his first visit to Louisville and based on his experience today, he says he’d like to return.
“It’s a great feeling, I don’t care if it’s just one person out there, we’re all connected and having a good time,” Jones said. “But praise God there was more than one person. It was a great crowd.”
“Music is something that connects people,” he went on to say.
We asked him about his success in the recent McDonald’s commercial. “Shoutout to McDonald’s. You gotta get [yourself] a frozen drink. Which flavor are you chilling with?”
Willie also teased that he’s working on some new music and new shows, including an appearance at Stagecoach in 2024.
3:35 p.m.: ‘Boozy AF, Delicious AF, Tasty AF’ at Bourbon & Beyond
On Saturday afternoon, Lindsay Palsha, from Denver, Colorado, stopped by the “Boozy AF, Delicious AF, Easy AF” presentation at the Monogram Culinary Stage. There, chefs Amanda Freitag and Chris Santos were serving up Parmesan fritters.
Palsha, who went to college in Kentucky, said the sample “was delicious,” but it would’ve been great to pair it with a Negroni like Freitag suggested.
3:20 p.m.: Check out the Flight School or the Bulleit Arcade
There are numerous things to do if you need a break from the live music or cooking demonstrations. The second part of the campus at Bourbon & Beyond features tons of tents with activities, including The George Dickel Flight School, The Bulleit Arcade, and more
3 p.m.: First time at a Heaven’s Door Barrel Select program
Curtis Brent, from Louisville, participated in the Heaven’s Door Barrel Select program at Saturday’s Bourbon & Beyond festival. He wanted to participate because Heaven’s Door, a collection of handcrafted American Whiskeys co-created with Bob Dylan, is new bourbon and he had never tried it. He came with his fiancé (and designated driver, as she said) Jamie Reynolds.
2:05 p.m.: Kentucky chef talks turn on Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’
We stopped by the food demonstration from Kentucky native and “Top Chef” contestant Sara Bradley, who showed the audience how to make her Hot Damn, Hot Brown Grilled Cheese on the Monogram Culinary Stage alongside celebrity chef Ed Lee.
“I kind of like love the competition of it. I love like really meticulously planning things. I am highly competitive. You can ask my siblings who are over here hanging out,” Bradley said about her two times competing on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” “And I also feel like it’s like chef summer camp.”
1:15 p.m.: ‘Almost 10 years in the making’ to see The Avett Brothers
Lydia Yates from Lexington came with her best friend Amelia Barracca from Bowling Green. This is their first Bourbon and Beyond and they are excited to see The Avett Brothers.“I showed (Barracca) the band (The Avett Brothers) almost 10 years ago and we’ve been wanting to see a concert of them together since then,” Yates said. “So it’s been like almost 10 years in the making and we cannot be more excited.”The Avett Brothers are performing at 7:55 p.m. on the Selvarey Oak Stage.
12:30 p.m. Hot Damn, Hot Brown Grilled Cheese
Hungry? Don’t miss this food demonstration from Kentucky native and “Top Chef” contestant Sara Bradley, who will be showing the audience how to make her Hot Damn, Hot Brown Grilled Cheese at 1:30 p.m. The panel is hosted by Louisville’s own celebrity chef Ed Lee, so make sure you swing by the Monogram Culinary Stage for a peek.
11:45 a.m.: Gates are open at Bourbon & Beyond!
The gates are open for day three of Bourbon & Beyond. Be sure to catch Drayton Farley, the first performer of the day, from 11:55 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. on the Oak Stage followed by Willie Jones (see below!) on the Barrel Stage from 12:30-1 p.m.
10:45 a.m.: Heading to Bourbon & Beyond? Catch Luke Grimes, of ‘Yellowstone’ fame
“Yellowstone” actor and country music star Luke Grimes is taking time off from riding the range to perform at the festival. With “Yellowstone,” which also stars Kevin Costner, on hold for the foreseeable future, the 39-year-old Dayton, Ohio native has plenty of time to devote to his music career. (For what it’s worth for “Yellowstone” fans, a sequel series is slated to air in December 2023.)
This summer, Grimes is on tour, performing at fairs and festivals around the country. He’ll appear at Bourbon & Beyond today at 1:40 p.m. at the T-Mobile Barrel Stage.
10 a.m.: ‘I’m lovin’ it’ and Willie Jones at Bourbon & Beyond
The “swaggy country” sound of Willie Jones is exactly what fast food giant McDonald’s wanted to sell its summer-themed frozen drinks. Now the former “X Factor” contestant brings his upbeat country sound to the T-Mobile Barrel Stage Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Wear your comfy boots to the concert, Jone’s new album is definitely “Something To Dance To.”
9 a.m.: What is the weather forecast for Saturday at Bourbon & Beyond?
Saturday’s forecast is mostly sunny, with a high near 79 degrees with light winds around 5 mph in the afternoon. Saturday evening there is a 20% of showers after 2 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low of around 59 degrees.
8:45 a.m.: Road closures around Highland Festival Grounds
Heading to Bourbon & Beyond today? You might need a heads-up about some road closures in the area.
Gate 1 of the Kentucky Exposition Center, where parking is located, is closed, so people going to the festivals will need to use Preston Highway to enter through Gate 6 or Crittenden Drive to access Gate 2 and Gate 4.
Phillips Lane from Preston Highway to Freedom Way has been closed since Sept. 4. There are a few interstate ramp closures that might impact your drive, too:
Insterstate ramp closures now through Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
- Interstate 264 Eastbound ramp to Phillips Lane / Kentucky Exposition Center Gate 1
- Interstate 264 Westbound ramp to Phillips Lane / Kentucky Exposition Center Gate 1
- Interstate 65 Northbound ramp to Phillips Lane / Kentucky Exposition Center Gate 1
- Interstate 65 Southbound ramp to Phillips Lane / Kentucky Exposition Center Gate 1
Whose performing Saturday at Bourbon & Beyond?
Saturday, Sept. 16
T-Mobile Barrel Stage
- Willie Jones: 12:30-1 p.m.
- Luke Grimes: 1:40-2:10 p.m.
- City & Colour: 3-3:40 p.m.
- First Aid Kit: 4:40-5:30 p.m.
- The Black Crowes: 6:45-7:50 p.m.
- The Black Keys: 9:15-10:45 p.m.
Selvarey Oak Stage
- Drayton Farley: 11:55 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.
- Daniel Ponder: 1:05-1:35 p.m.
- Michelle Branch: 2:15-2:55 p.m.
- Old Crow Medicine Show: 3:45-4:35 p.m.
- Spoon: 5:35-6:35 p.m.
- Avett Brothers: 7:55-9:10 p.m.
The Bluegrass Situation Stage
- Armchair Boogie: 12:30-1:15 p.m.
- Sunny War: 1:45-2:50 p.m.
- Lindsay Lou: 3-3:45 p.m.
- Della Mae: 4:15-5:15 p.m.
- Town Mountain: 5:45-6:45
Bourbon & Beyond 2023 Monogram Culinary Stage
- 1:30-2 p.m.: Hot Damn, Hot Brown Grilled Cheese with Sara Bradley(hosted by Ed Lee)
- 2:55-3:25 p.m.: Boozy AF, Delicious AF, Easy AF with Amanda Freitag(hosted by Chris Santos)
- 4:15-4:45 p.m.: A Korean BBQ Throwdown with Chefs Ed and Danny Lee and Joe Kwon(Chefs Ed Lee and Danny Lee with Joe Kwon of Avett Brothers)
Bourbon & Beyond 2023 Kentucky Venues Bourbon Stage
- 2:05-2:50 p.m.: Heaven’s Door Barrel Select (hosted by Matt Wheatley, head distiller and distillery manager, Heaven’s Door.)
- 3:30-4:10 p.m.: The Art of Blending (Bardstown) – BBC’s Discovery Series (hosted by Dan Callaway, vice president of New Product Development, Bardstown Bourbon Company)
- 4:50-5:30 p.m.: The Big Finish: Barreled Again (moderated by Kenny Coleman, Bourbon Pursuit.) Panelists: Brandon O’Daniel, master distiller, Copper & Kings; Owen Martin, Angel’s Envy; Christian Huber, Starlight Distillery; Jessica-Ann Adkins, H&A Barrel Management.)
- 5:45-6:30 p.m.: The Firkin Podcast LIVE: Every Drink Tells a Story (hosted by Chris Blandford & Brian Probus)
Where can I park Saturday at Bourbon & Beyond?
General parking will be available at the Kentucky Expo Center for a daily fee of $30. Parking is not reserved and your vehicle will be parked based on your arrival time and entrance point into the Kentucky Expo Center parking lots. Visit any of the Entrance Gates at the Kentucky Exposition Center, including Gate 2, Gate 4, and Gate 6. It is suggested to arrive early if you’d like to park on-site.
Parking lots open at 10 a.m. Cash will be accepted.
Reach breaking news reporter Ana Alvarez Brinez at abrinez@courier-journal. Reach features reporter Kirby Adams at [email protected].