The Inaugural Railbird Festival sparkles with moving performances by Hozier along with Tyler Childers, Gary Clark Jr., St. Paul And The Broken Bones and many others.

Situated on the rolling hills of the historic Keeneland Racecourse, The Railbird Festival launched its inaugural festival with high expectations and ended with Rave reviews.  Billed as a celebration of music, bourbon, and equine experiences the Railbird festival offered a little something for everyone.  A diverse, yet stellar musical lineup featuring Hozier, Tyler Childers, The Raconteurs, Mavis Staples and Gary Clark Jr. plus so much more along with Bourbon, bourbon and more bourbon by some of the most respected distilleries in the world including Four Roses, Blanton’s, Buffalo Trace, Old Forester, Pinhook and Weller. With the festival being on the grounds of the historic Keeneland Racecourse, the heart of the Bluegrass state equine experiences in the morning and live wagering on racetracks from across the country in the afternoon were afforded as well as ample and unique food selections were available for all festival-goers.

On what seemed like a slightly hotter and sunnier day on the Commonwealth, the highly anticipated second day of the festival kicked off under picturesque blue Kentucky skies.  While the buzz starting the day was still around the incredible set by Mavis Staples along with Old Crow Medicine Show and The Raconteurs all eyes were pointed to the main stage performances of Hozier, Tyler Childers, Gary Clark Jr., and St. Paul and the Broken Bones occurring later in the day.

As the afternoon sun finally disappeared over the horizon all eyes were focused on the main, Limestone stage as Hozier is set to take the stage with the closing performance of the inaugural Railbird Festival.  Touring in support of their newest album, Wasteland, Baby, Hozier was greeted by a huge road from the large, sprawling crowd as the guys launched into “Would That I” followed by “Dinner & Diatribes” and “Nina Cried Power”, all from the aforementioned new album.   For the next hour-plus, Hozier dazzled with Lexington with a wonderful performance which was heightened by a visually stunning lighting show.  Hozier closed out the outstanding weekend at the Railbird festival full of food, bourbon, and music with their gigantic hit “Take me to Church” with a gigantic exclamation point.

One of the awesome things about festivals is the number of artists performing each day and the chance to hear some of your favorite songs from these artists. 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.

Performing as the main support this afternoon over at the Elkhorn stage was Tyler Childers. I’m not sure there is a hotter country artist around right now and a chance to perform in his own back yard was not lost on anyone.  Tyler is touring in support of his newest album, Country Squire which debuted at #1 on the Billboard top 20 country albums last week.  Before Tyler started his performance, he was given a key to the city of Lexington which was humbly accepted before he rocked the Railbird Festival crowd.

A bit earlier Blues-rock guitarist Gary Clark Jr. and his band casually took to the Limestone stage, laying down one of the most intense and soulful performances of the entire weekend.  Gary Clark Jr. is touring in support of his latest album This Land opened his set with a blazing performance of “Bright Lights” from the 2012 Blak and Blu album before focusing on his new release with “I Walk Alone” and “What About us”. Gary Clark Jr ended his scorching set, treating fans with a blistering rendition of the Beatles “Come Together”.

In the middle of the day, Birmingham, Alabama soul/R&B masters St. Paul and the Broken Bones rocked Lexington like only they can.  Featuring the vocal styling of frontman Paul Janeway, St Paul and the Broken Bones rolled onto the Limestone stage with guns blazing opening with “All I Ever
Wonder” along with “Apollo” and their giant hit “Call Me” giving the Railbird festival fans all they could ask for, and MORE!

Much earlier in the day, on the smaller Burl Stage local rockers Johnny Conqueroo drew an overflow crowd of enthusiastic festival-goers who were not disappointed.  With a set infused with Vintage blues and psychedelic rock, Johnny Conqueroo was a definite highlight of the afternoon.

Last, but definitely not least of the outstanding performances of the day was South Carolina Indie Rock/Americana rockers Susto. Touring in support of their 2019 release, Ever Since I lost My mind, Susto gave those lucky enough to experience their set something to remember.    

Other performances throughout the day belonged to Yola, DNA, Futurebirds, Kelsey Waldon, Jade Bird, I’m With Her, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, Fruit Bats, The Wooks, Lucinda Williams and the Blackfoot Gypsies.   

All in all, The Railbird Festival was a rousing success!  What was estimated at around 20,000 festival-goers took advantage of all that is Kentucky with perfect summer weather, plentiful Bourbon, Equine Experiences and of course world-class music featuring 34 bands across 3 stages over the two-day festival.   The question is …. Who’s ready for next year!

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Gary Clark Jr. 
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St. Paul And The Broken Bones
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Tyler Childers
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Railbird Festival
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Event Date: 11-AUG-2019