LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - While many events in Louisville, new and old, incorporate bourbon into their fun, from the mint julep at the Derby to the Wild Turkey Wednesday parties on Thanksgiving eve at Air Devil's Inn, few have sought to also combine that experience with top-flight food and high-billed live music.
Enter Bourbon & Beyond. It promises a unique blend of blues, bourbon, celebrity chefs, classic rock and a choice of hotel or camping; thus showing that promoters expect this to be a regional draw, much like their other festival held the past three years, the hard-rock-fueled Louder than Life.
So what can one expect while attending the first-ever Bourbon & Beyond? First, expect the rules at the gate to be closer to a sporting event than a fest like Bonnaroo or Forecastle. No re-entry. No large purses or backpacks. Free water will be available on site.
Otherwise, expectations depend on your price point. Daily tickets start around 80 bucks. A VIP package called the Mint Experience still has $250 tickets available for Sunday. It includes a special entry, private bars with top-shelf liquor and dedicated restrooms and viewing areas.
Other upgrade options include breakfasts (The Chicks & Champs Gospel Brunch with varying styles of fried chicken for $85) and The Supper Club (with chefs Tom Colicchio, Edward Lee and Chris Cosentino) which, sorry guys, is sold out.
There are a dozen or so other foodie-favorite chefs and distillers on site this weekend, talking everything from Cajun cooking to selecting rye for your mash, among the many music and food workshops.
The music acts have been heavily promoted for Bourbon & Beyond, led Saturday by The Steve Miller Band, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, Amos Lee, Band of Horses, blues maestro Kenny Wayne Shepherd and the latest project of the former Black Crowes leader, Chris Robinson Brotherhood.
Sunday will feature more blues from Jonny Lang and Gary Clark Jr., as well NOLA flair from Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, hip-hop hippies G Love & Special Sauce and if you like your musicians to be famous actors, Keifer Sutherland will play you a selection of songs he's pinned while playing guitar. No word on if the pyrotechnics will rival those on former TV show 24 but hopefully Sutherland breaks out the Lost Boy fangs and plays that awesome sax solo from one of the park scenes in the movie.
Sunday night at Bourbon & Beyond will wrap up with Bad Company and Free founder Paul Rogers, the shredding of Joe Bonamassa before Stevie Nicks closes the main stage with what assuredly will be a bourbon-slurred-crowd singalong of Landslide. Only the bravest will return to the park the following weekend for more bourbon, food and mosh pits led by Ozzy Osborne and RATM offshoot Prophets of Rage as the same venue is transformed into Louder than Life.