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Metro Newsroom


Study Shows Forecastle Festival Has $14 Million Impact on Louisville Economy

Thursday February 27, 2014

Forecastle Festival released today the results of an economic impact study completed during the 2013 Forecastle Festival. The study shows that the festival, its organizers and patrons pumped more than $14 million into the Louisville economy.

“Forecastle’s simple beginnings and steadfast growth have made this unique, grassroots event a true Louisville original,” said Festival Founder and Captain JK McKnight. “Showing that we contribute to not only the culture of our city, but also to its financial viability, means a lot to us. We’re thrilled to contribute to a city we love so much.”

The study concluded that the festival generated more than $7.9 million in direct expenditures, including direct spending by out-of-town attendees, local attendees staying in downtown hotels and expenses of festival organizers for materials and services provided by local vendors for the 2013 Forecastle Festival.

Highlights from the study include:

  • Forecastle Festival attendees spend more than $2.13 million on hotel rooms in the Louisville area and more than $1.46 million at area bars and restaurants.
  • On average, each out-of-town Forecastle Festival attendee spends $293 outside of the festival, not including tourist attractions and airfare.
  • Forecastle Festival attendees enjoy more than 9,500 visits to area tourist attractions, including but not limited to the Belle of Louisville, Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Muhammad Ali Center, 21c Museum Hotel and more.
  • In addition to providing revenue for businesses and income for area residents, Forecastle also generates significant state and local tax revenues. In 2013, the festival generated more than $185,000 in local sales tax revenue.
  • Organizers invested $460,000 on local employment and payroll and supported the equivalent of 93 jobs in the service sector in 2013.
  • The average out-of-town guest spent an average of $98 per day.

“With tens of thousands of highly-engaged fans who last year pumped $14 million into our local economy, Forecastle is clearly one of our city’s top festivals and events,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “It’s also one of those defining events that sets the tone for a progressive city, adds to the quality of place, and helps attract the young talent that we want to live and work here, which in turn helps us recruit new companies and jobs.”

While the festival has a reputation as a youth-oriented event, members of the largest demographic segment are well beyond their college years: 35 percent are between the ages of 25-34. An additional 25 percent are over the age of 45. Sixty percent of festival attendees have children.

Forecastle Festival attendees are educated; 70 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. While income levels vary widely, 50 percent of festival attendees earn in excess of $50,000 per year. More than 35 percent of attendees earn more than $100,000 annually.

Almost 70 percent of Forecastle attendees visit from areas outside the Louisville metropolitan area. In 2013, the festival attracted attendees from 49 states, 11 countries and 1,842 cities. International attendees hail from England, Norway, New Zealand and Japan among others.

"Louisville, much like Forecastle, is a bit of a hidden gem that not only has a rich history but is moving forward in a very progressive way," said Ashley Capps, president of AC Entertainment. "Louisville is a vibrant city that attracts a lot of music fans, and the community leaders, businesses and organizations really get behind projects like this. We're pleased that the festival has been such a success and has made a tangible contribution to the local economy."

The Forecastle Festival was held July 12-14, 2013 at Louisville’s scenic Waterfront Park. The annual three-day music, art and environmental activism festival was founded in 2002 by JK McKnight and, since 2011, is produced by AC Entertainment, the largest independent promoter in the American Southeast. The 2013 festival marked the 11th anniversary of the event, with a musical lineup that included national performers The Black Keys, Robert Plant, the Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes, the Flaming Lips and more than 50 others.

Local entrepreneurial voice and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Louisville, Jason D’Mello, completed the Forecastle Festival 2013 Economic Impact Study in collaboration with AC Entertainment, the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau and economic data provided by IMPLAN (www.implan.com).

The 2014 festival is set to take place from July 18 – 20, 2014 at Waterfront Park. Full lineup details will be released on March 4. Tickets for the event will be available beginning March 7 at noon.

About AC Entertainment:

AC Entertainment is recognized as one of the foremost independent promoters in the United States. Founded in 1991 by Ashley Capps, who is currently nominated for 2014 Pollstar’s Bill Graham Award for Promoter of the Year, the company books, markets and presents over 750 events per year. In addition to the Forecastle Festival, AC Entertainment is the force behind internationally renowned events including Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival®, the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit and Big Ears. For more information on AC Entertainment, visit: http://acentertainment.com.

For more information on Forecastle, visit: http://www.forecastlefest.com