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Metro Newsroom

Waterfront Independence Festival July 3rd and 4th

Monday July 2, 2012

Fireworks over the river are a GO; free concerts by

Thompson Square, Jimmy Cliff and more

2012 Fifth Third Bank Waterfront Independence Festival, presented by Fifth Third Bank features two days of FREE music, FREE children’s activities, festival food, FIREWORKS, and fun. The Festival kicks off on Tuesday, July 3rd with WAMZ Country Night, headlined by 2012 CMT award winner Thompson Square, and continues on Monday, July 4th with Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff and an eclectic evening of infectious dance grooves co-sponsored by radio stations Magic 101.3 and WFPK 91.9. A fireworks show over the river will cap off both evenings around 10:00 p.m.

Sponsor Fifth Third is joined by a list of more than 20 other sponsors who work together to provide the best in national entertainment, children’s activities, and fireworks free for the community’s enjoyment. Come and enjoy fireworks over the Ohio River produced safely by professionals, as encouraged by Chief Greg Frederick of the Louisville Metro Fire Department.

The Waterfront Independence Festival truly offers something for everyone in a safe environment. Jewish Hospital and KentuckyOne Health 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.

Musical Lineup
The 2012 Festival offers a great lineup of bands with two nights jam-packed with music and fun. Friday night’s country lineup includes headliner Thompson Square, which recently received the award for CMT’s Duo Single of the Year for their hit single, “I Got You.” The single was Top 10 hit on both the Billboard and Mediabase Country charts. Local band “Ode 2 the Gnu” will open the evening with their covers of classic rock, blues and country, followed by The McClymonts, who have topped the Country music charts in Australia with the first four singles from their album, “Wrapped Up Good.”

Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff will headline on July 4th. Cliff has a legacy that stretches back nearly 50 years and includes such classics as “The Harder They Come, “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” and “Many Rivers to Cross.” Mojoflo will open the evening with their own mix of funk, soul, jazz, hip-hop and reggae, known as Neo-Funk. They will be followed by Midnight Star, the band that ruled the dance floor in the ‘80s with their hits “No Parking on the Dance Floor,” “Freak-a-Zoid,” and “Midas Touch.”

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!

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.


“Louisville pure tap® to GO” a collaboration by the Waterfront Development Corporation, Edge Outreach and Louisville Water Company, continues for the second year. 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 worked with Louisville Water and Edge Outreach to develop a solution in providing water to crowds. The result is a mobile water station that provides a continuous supply of free, chilled Louisville pure tap®. Festival attendees can purchase a BPA- free bottle at the event for $2 and refill it with Louisville pure tap® as many times as they want to for free! Louisville Water donates the bottles and all proceeds from the sale of the bottles go to Edge Outreach and its efforts to bring safe drinking water around the world.

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. “One in five children here in our community is at-risk of going to bed hungry tonight,” says Laura Melillo Barnum, Executive Director of YUM! Brands Foundation. “That’s an unacceptable statistic. Yum! Brands has been on the forefront of fighting hunger for over 20 years and this is just one more way we can help those in need.” 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.

The Belle of Louisville and Spirit of Jefferson are each offering a July 3rd and 4th cruise to observe the fireworks from the water. Reservations are limited, call the ticket office at 502-574-2992.

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

Christmas at the Galt House Hotel

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

Earth Fare

Edge Outreach

Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's Healthcare

Louisville Water Company

Nugent Sand Company


Simon Signs