Forecastle Festival at Waterfront Park Set to Be Largest; Features Site-Specific Art

by ekramer on July 9, 2010

Today kicks off the ninth annual Forecastle Festival — and it’s growing. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Organizers of this year’s three-day festival say they expect 30,000 attendees in addition to about 1200 musicians, artists, environmentalists and sponsors. This makes it the largest so far. Headliners include Devo, The Flaming Lips, Widespread Panic and Spoon.

The festival focuses on music, art and activism. And this year the event is also debuting at at a new site — 75 acres of Waterfront Park.

Getting it here was a big goal for founder JK McKnight.

“Waterfront Park’s just an amazing, beautiful piece of real estate down here,” McKnight says. “And it’s really a privilege that we have that here in Louisville. To me it’s the perfect place to set roots finally and grow this thing in the next couple years.”

Another festival milestone is the large-scale, site-specific art it’s featuring, says Mike Ratterman, who has organized artists’ participation in the festival since its inception.

“As the crowd grew, the art really had to grow as well in the nature that the work presents to people — as far what people expect to see at a  festival of this nature and how they interact with the work,” Ratterman says, “so to move to larger installation pieces that have a more environmental theme just seemed a whole lot more appropriate. ”

Three regional artists have created site-specific work that is scattered throughout the 75-acres that make up the festival grounds. One is sculptor Joyce Ogden, whose multiple towers reference rainfall in Kentucky.

Ogden says she loves the idea of incorporating large-scale art into the festival.

“I like the idea of art being integrated into our culture and what we do,” she says, “and I think it’s an interesting kind of union.”

Artists Leticia Bajuyo and Todd Smith also have created work for this year’s festival. (To read more about the artists showing work in the festival click here.) Festival partner Nederlander Entertainment contributed $12,000 for the art projects. The festival also has an audio tour of the artwork (1-888-244-4186).

Last year, Outside Magazine selected it one of its “Top 15 Outdoor Summer Festivals.”

PHOTOS: Work by Leticia Bajuyo (top); work by Joyce Ogden (middle); Joyce Ogden setting up her site-specific work.

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