Arts and Culture

It’s Forecastle Day 1. The dancing lifeguards that greet festival-goers are still bursting with energy, people have yet to start soaking in the Waterfront Park fountains, and no one has developed a sunburn quite yet.

But as most people know, Forecastle hasn’t always been a multi-day event that draws big-name headliners like this year’s LCD Soundsystem and Weezer.

According to festival founder JK McKnight, the original Forecastle was just a group of about 50 people and it was more of a “musician camaraderie event.”

“But yeah, you know it’s been a grind,” McKnight says. “It hasn’t been something we try to take from zero to 100 over a year. It’s really been incremental steps all along the way.”

And those incremental steps helped the festival reach its biggest attendance ever last year with about 65,000 attendees.

McKnight says the festival will continue working at that deliberate pace, despite the fact that in October, global concert promoter Live Nation purchased AC Entertainment — a co-producer of Forecastle. AC Entertainment also founded Bonnaroo, and the Live Nation purchase helped that festival develop new infrastructure.

“But we have all the infrastructure we kind of need down here at Waterfront,” McKnight says. “I was just doing a tour and we were looking at the new development of Waterfront Park and it’s just amazing. I do believe this is one of the best parks in the country.”

The festival runs through Sunday and a full lineup of acts can be found here.

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.