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Metro Newsroom

Waterfront Independence Festival Returns July 3, 4

Thursday May 30, 2013

Mayor Greg Fischer, Waterfront Development Corporation President David Karem and Fifth Third Bank CEO Tom Partridge announced plans today for the 2013 Fifth Third Bank Waterfront Independence Festival. The event features two days of FREE music, FREE children’s activities, festival food, fireworks, and fun. The Festival kicks off on Wednesday, July 3rd with WAMZ Country Night, headlined by country artist Justin Moore, who was voted “2009’s Best Male Country Artist” by Billboard Magazine, and continues on Thursday, July 4th with Funk all-stars Kool and the Gang and an eclectic evening of infectious dance grooves co-sponsored by radio stations Magic 101.3 and WFPK 91.9.

The Festival, a community tradition in its 15th consecutive year, takes place in Louisville’s award-winning Waterfront Park. Fifth Third has been instrumental as the presenting sponsor for the last 10 years. David Karem & Mayor Fischer thanked Fifth Third for its continuing support of the free community celebration.

“Fifth Third Bank is proud to return for the tenth consecutive year as presenting sponsor of the Waterfront Independence Festival,” responded Tom Partridge, Fifth Third Bank (Kentucky) President and CEO. “Serving our community is a priority for Fifth Third, and this is a great way for us to give back. The Bank’s investment helps to provide a free 4th of July celebration with quality entertainment, and we are happy that so many people will benefit.”

“This festival is a special opportunity to celebrate our nation’s freedom, to enjoy spectacular fireworks, listen to great music and spend quality time with family and friends – all in the spectacular setting of our world-class Waterfront Park.”

Fifth Third is joined by an extensive list of 20 community partners whose contributions are critical to providing this free quality festival to the community.

“A huge majority of our sponsors have supported this event year after year,” said David Karem. “Without their support, this safe, family friendly event would not be possible.”

Friends of the Waterfront, the non-profit 501c3 auxiliary arm of the Waterfront Development Corporation and an ongoing sponsor, has organized a volunteer effort to collect donations from the public at official stations inside the event.

The Louisville Division of Fire was present to encourage the safe viewing of fireworks shot by professionals. Kentucky One Health has 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 2013 Festival offers a great lineup of bands with two nights jam-packed with music and fun. Tuesday night’s country lineup includes headliner Justin Moore, who had his third #1 hit with “Til My Last Day,” and whose new single, “Point at You,” is quickly rising on the country charts. Local band “Ode 2 the Gnu” will open the evening with their covers of classic rock, blues and country, followed by The Farm, a rising Tennessee trio known for their vocal harmonies and fiddle.

Funk and R&B Legends and Grammy Award winners Kool & The Gang will headline July 4th. Their songs “Celebration,” “Cherish,” “Jungle Boogie,” “Summer Madness,” and “Open Sesame,” are beloved by generations. They have sold 70 million albums worldwide, with 31 gold and platinum albums, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, and nine Top Ten Pop hits. Brett Dennen and his band, a folk/pop singer songwriter featured on WFPK, will open the evening. Dennen’s music has been featured in several television shows, including “Roadtrip Nation” on PBS, “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “House.” He will be followed by JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, whose music has been described as “post-punk soul,” and who has been identified by MOJO Magazine as “one of the hottest US soul acts.”

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. Kentucky Science Center staff will be on hand at the Kentucky Science Center’s Activities Tent to engage young scientists in activities that demonstrate Science is Fun! In addition to fun activities with bubbles, water and magnets, the Kentucky Science Center will present several explosive science demos on the Catfish Louie Kids Stage.

Children will have a great time on the free inflatable games for kids, 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, Waterstep and Louisville Water Company, continues for the fourth 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 Waterstep 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 Waterstep 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 fifth 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 3rd 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 the official hotel of Waterfront Park and the Fifth Third Waterfront Independence Festival. Located just steps away from the festival, they offer overnight accommodations and they will be present to provide information about their two holiday attractions, “Sing’n’Joy” and “Christmas at the Galt House Hotel.”

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 for more information.

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

Bats Baseball Team

Christmas at the Galt House Hotel – the official Hotel of Waterfront Park and the Belle of Louisville

Magic 101.3


WFPK 91.9


Liberty Sponsors

Bearno’s By the Bridge

Coors Light

Friends of the Waterfront

Kentucky Science Center

Yum! Brands

Eagle Sponsors

Bicycling for Louisville

Louisville Water Company

Nugent Sand Company

Simon Signs