Map It

Map City Services

Enter an address:
(e.g., 410 S Fifth Street)


Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Waterfront Independence Festival is July 3 & 4

Thursday June 9, 2011

July 3rd & 4th Waterfront Independence Festival presented by Fifth Third Bank

Celebrate our Nation’s holiday and the Waterfront’s 25th Anniversary

with safe family fun!

Louisville, Kentucky - Mayor Greg Fischer, Waterfront Development Corporation President David Karem and Fifth Third Bank CEO Tom Partridge announced plans today for the 2011 Waterfront Independence Festival, presented by Fifth Third Bank. The event features two days of free music, free children’s activities, festival food, fireworks, and fun. The Festival kicks off on Sunday, July 3rd with WAMZ Country Night and continues on Monday, July 4th with an eclectic evening of infectious dance grooves co-sponsored by radio stations Magic 101.3 and WFPK 91.9.

In addition to celebrating our national holiday, the 2011 Waterfront Independence Festival also commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Waterfront Development Corporation (WDC), the organization that builds, programs and maintains Louisville Waterfront Park. When WDC was formed in 1986, plans for the 85 acre green space in downtown Louisville began to take shape. Today the abandoned industrial wasteland of scrap yards, sand and gravel companies, and oil refineries is a distant memory and the space has been transformed into a vibrant public park that reunites the community to the river’s edge. “This event is a great celebration of our freedom – and, best of all, it’s free to everyone, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors,” Mayor Fischer said.

David Karem thanked Tom Partridge for Fifth Third Bank’s continued support of the free community celebration, along with the many other sponsors that make the event possible. 2011 marks Fifth Third’s eighth consecutive year of support for the Festival. Tom Partridge said, “Fifth Third remains strongly committed to this community in which we live and work; and it’s gratifying to hear both employees and customers express their pride in our community involvement.”

The Waterfront Independence Festival truly offers something for everyone in a safe environment. Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare have reported that July 4th is one of the busiest times for hand injuries due to fireworks. Two-thirds of fireworks-related injuries are caused by backyard fireworks such as firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles, fountains and sparklers. Lt. Colonel Bill Bowman of the Louisville Metro Fire Department was present to encourage the safe viewing of fireworks shot by professionals.

Musical Lineup
2011 offers a great lineup of bands with two nights jam-packed with music and fun. Sunday night’s country headliner is The Band Perry, recently voted 2011 American Country Music Award’s Best New Artist. Their single “If I Die Young” recently reached double platinum and their new single “You Lie” is closing in on the Top 5 Country Charts. Kip Moore, who will open for The Band Perry, has been called an artist to watch and possibly 2011’s first breakout country artist of the year with the popular single,

“Mary was the Marrying Kind.” The United States Air Force Band, Systems Go, stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Ohio will be performing popular rock favorites at the beginning of the evening.

The Funky Meters’ trademark sounds of funk, blues and dance grooves with a New Orleans vibe will headline Monday, July 4th. The Funky Meters were formed during a late 1980’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival by the founders of the original band called The Meters, which disbanded in the late 70’s. De La Soul, the legendary hip hop trio out of Long Island, New York, will open for the Funky Meters. The trio has refined their innovative hip hop sound after twenty five years of performing together. De La Soul, formed in the late 80’s, is well known for many hits, including “Me Myself and I,” and “Three is the Magic Number,” and have appeared on hits such as “Feel Good Inc.” by the Gorillaz. July 4th will open with the explosive new band “Fitz and the Tantrums,” who formed in 2008. They have been described as “an unrestrained blast of soul-clapping, get-down-on-the-floor, moneymaker shakers … the troupe is poised to get down in dancehalls across the universe with the post-release of their debut full length Pickin’ Up the Pieces, which has since earned them a 3 ½ star album review in ROLLING STONE.”

Both evenings will begin with an a cappella performance of the National Anthem by the Louisville Youth Choir’s Taylor Dant.

Catfish Louie Kids Area
The Friends of the Waterfront Mascot, Catfish Louie will be on hand to coordinate lots of great children’s activities for kids of all ages. Louisville Science Center staff will be on hand at the Louisville Science Center’s Activities Tent to engage young scientists in activities that demonstrate Science is Fun!

Will Santa make his second appearance at the Festival to celebrate Christmas in July? Yes! Santa will take a summer vacation in Louisville to meet with local children for a “half-way to Christmas check-up.” Join Santa and his entourage at the Galt House Hotel’s KaLightoscope Christmas Activities Tent for something special from the North Pole! This year Santa has something for parents too – a Christmas in July Sale featuring 4 tickets to Kalightoscope Christmas for only $40.00, up to $20.00 in savings.

Kids will have a great time on the free kids inflatable games such as the Bounce and the Super Slide. Children can cool off in the very popular Fourth of July Water Mister,dance to the grooves of the Kids Rock Bands!, and have fun with games such as hot potato and others.

“H20 to Go” is a brand new initiative which is a result of collaboration by the Waterfront Development Corporation, Edge Outreach and the Louisville Water Company. In an effort to discourage the use of plastic water bottles and avoid adding to the blight of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Festival officials went to Edge Outreach seeking their expertise in providing water to crowds. The result is a brand new system of providing ice cold Louisville Water Company Water for free to Festival patrons. Now Festival attendees can purchase a dishwasher safe BPA free bottle at the event for $2 and refill it ice cold water as many times as they want to for free! The Bottles are donated by the Louisville Water Company and all proceeds from the sale of the bottles will go to Edge Outreach and their efforts to bring clean fresh drinking water to those in need worldwide.

Dare to Care food collection points – In coordination with Yum! Brands and their goal of ending hunger worldwide, non-perishable food items will be collected at all Festival entrances. Festival attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to assist those less fortunate and pay it forward during our community celebration.

Free Bicycle Valet Parking – Festival attendees are encouraged to bicycle to the event or carpool. For the fourth consecutive year, free bicycle valet parking will be available at the entrance to the event. Bicycles will be attended all evening, so just check in, get a wristband at the booth and return with your wristband to retrieve your bicycle. Volunteers will record your name, bicycle type (brand name) and color of your bicycle. It's a free service, sponsored by the Festival to make Louisville more bicycle friendly and the Festival more environmentally friendly!

Recycling – Once again, Festival patrons will be encouraged to recycle plastic bottles and cups in recycling containers. Glass is not allowed inside the festival area. Festival vendors are required to recycle cardboard packaging materials and vendors will recycle their cooking grease for biodiesel.

Each evening of entertainment will open at 5pm with continuous music, food and the Coors Light Beer Garden leading up to the fireworks at 10-10:15pm. Children’s activities will run from 5pm-9pm, and there is a Bats baseball game on July 4th at 7:05pm.

While all of Waterfront Park is accessible, a special viewing area for individuals in wheelchairs will be offered again this year. This is an area that will be reserved and fenced off, and each person in a wheelchair is welcome to bring one escort.

The complete schedule, directions, band information, and a list of frequently asked questions can be found on the Festival website,

The Galt House Hotel is once again offering Festival attendees a Special July Fourth Package: Buy one day over the July 4th holiday weekend, get a day free (July 1st – July 4th). Go to for more details.

What can I bring?
Blankets, lawn chairs, umbrellas, sun screen, hula hoops, dancing shoes! Water is allowed in small plastic bottles AS LONG AS THEY HAVE NOT BEEN OPENED - the seal must be unbroken. Small refillable plastic bottles, 32 oz or less, will also be permitted this year.

Prohibited items: Tents, glass, coolers, cans, packaged bottles, pets, skateboards, weapons, amplification devices, outside alcohol, signs or banners larger than 24”x24”, and bicycles inside the event space (secure bicycle parking is available near the event entrance).

Additional event information
Individuals interested in selling arts, crafts or related merchandise will find a vendor application and guidelines at All food vendor spots have been filled.


All activities are made possible by generous community support from the following sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor

Fifth Third Bank

Star Sponsors

Louisville Metro Government

Waterfront Development Corporation

Freedom Sponsors

AT&T Real Yellow Pages

Bats Baseball Team

Galt House Hotel’s KaLightoscope Christmas

Magic 101.3


WFPK 91.9


Liberty Sponsors

Bearno’s By the Bridge

Coors Light

Friends of the Waterfront

Louisville Science Center

Yum! Brands

Eagle Sponsors

Bicycling for Louisville

Daymar College

Edge Outreach

Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's Healthcare

Louisville Water Company

Nugent Sand Company


Simon Signs