The 3rd Inaugural Bourbon and Beyond Festival gets off to a rocket-like start with blazing performances by The Foo Fighters, John Fogerty, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, The Record Company, Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real and many others.

Much has already been written about last year’s Bourbon and Beyond Festival around the cancellation of the 2nd day of the festival and the complete cancellation of the Louder Than Life Festival the following weekend. Danny Wimmer Productions and the City of Louisville promised that both festivals would come bigger and stronger in 2019 and set about planning for this to occur.  New festival grounds, labeled the Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo Center, an expanded festival schedule (from 2 days to 3 days) and an unparalleled line-up proved they were following up on their promise in a big way.

Bourbon and Beyond, The World’s Largest Bourbon Festival featured headliners The Foo Fighters, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, Zac Brown Band along with Daryl Hall & John Oates, John Fogerty, ZZ Top & several More. Additionally, the weekend offered One-Of-A-Kind Bourbon and Culinary Experiences with Master Bourbon Distillers and Celebrity Chefs in the new festival location that was both convenient and perfectly matched the atmosphere of the weekend.

As the blazing afternoon sun finally disappeared, bringing some relief to the 1,000’s of sun-baked festival-goers everyone crammed around Barrel stage to take part in the “Rock Show” that was about to begin. A huge roar from the crowd greeted the Foo Fighters to Louisville and the Bourbon and Beyond Festival and Dave and the guys wasted no time getting the party started launching immediately into “The Pretender,” “Learn to Fly,” and “Run”. It was so hot on stage and the guys came out so hard that Dave Grohl took a minute after “Learn to Fly” to completely douse himself in water to cool off a little. Over the course of their time on stage (just over 2 hours), The Foo Fighters rattled off so many crowd favorites that it’s a wonder anyone had a voice left as everyone seemed to be singing and dancing right along with The Foos.

The Foo Fighters are a concertgoers dream band, pouring out energy, generally having a blast on stage and they always seem to do something unexpected during their shows, further enhancing the overall experience. “Because it’s a special occasion,” Grohl told the enormous crowd, “I’m gonna bring out somebody that’s gonna play guitar with us on this one. Revel, will you please come out here? One of my favorite guitar players of all time.” (Revel Young is Scott Ian and wife Pearl’s 8-year-old son) as Revel started opening chords of the Foo’s final song of the evening ”Everlong” closing out a phenomenal opening day of the festival.

Providing the main support this evening was the legendary John Fogerty. Smiling from ear to ear as he walked on to the Main Oak Stage, Louisville greeted John Fogerty with a warm and rousing cheer.  It’s hard to believe that Fogerty, one of the founding members of Creedence Clearwater Revival, is celebrating his “50 Year Trip”. His music as a member of Creedence as well as during his solo career is familiar, comfortable and intertwined within the fabric of American life – It’s akin to Rock and Roll church. The stories John shared, his actual Woodstock guitar and his comfortable stage presence – It was like sitting around listening to great stories and driving rock and roll from a favorite uncle, Uncle John!

During his time on stage, John rolled out one hit after another opening with a trio of Credence hits “Born on the Bayou,” Green River” and “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”.  John Fogerty’s memorable Bourbon and Beyond performance closed with more legendary Creedence hits “Fortunate Son,“ “Bad Moon Rising,” and finally “Proud Mary” drawing a loud cheer from the appreciative festival-goers.

Festivals are marvelous beasts! Large crowds and finicky weather conditions are the ever-present challenges festival-goers must navigate but the payback/reward is usually much bigger. The opportunity to see more than one of your favorite artists performing your favorite songs or to discover new artists are clear festival highlights. During the day there are always epic moments from some performances that will resonate for days and weeks after the festival is over, here were just a few of these moments from the opening day.

In the late afternoon and in the heat of the day Nathaniel Rateliff & Night Sweats sauntered on stage and unloaded his entire arsenal on Louisville – It was like we went to a rock concert and a revival broke out!  The Preservation Hall Jazz Band (who performed earlier in the day on the Oak Stage) joined Nathaniel Rateliff for the final two songs of his set “I Need Never Get Old” and “S.O.B.”, delivering an unforgettable magical moment.  

Earlier in the day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts delivers a classic Rock N’ Roll set as only she can do.  Their set included “Crimson & Clover,” “Cherry Bomb,” “Do You Wanna Touch Me” and the rock anthem “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll”.  Joan Jett closed out her set as she usually does with a Sly and the Family Stone cover of “Everyday People” that was raw, emotional and poignant for the current times we find ourselves in.

Much earlier in the day, The Record Company delivered a diverse and hard-rocking set that had a little something for everyone and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, joined on stage by a guest guitarist (you have to check out the pictures) simply laid down the law!

Other performances throughout the day belonged to Pearl, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Blackberry Smoke, Mipso, *Live*, The Flaming Lips Amythist Kiah, The Po Ramblin’ Boys, and Greensky Bluegrass.   

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Foo Fighters
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John Fogerty
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Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
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Joan Jett & The Black Hearts
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The Record Company
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Bourbon and Beyond
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Event Date: 20-SEP-2019