There are music festivals in Kentucky for everyone that cover all genres from rock to EDM and everything in between. Kentucky may not quickly come to mind when thinking about music festivals, but it’s a great place for them. This state’s nickname is The Bluegrass State, so it should be no surprise to anyone that many bluegrass-based, but that’s not all – there are a number of popular festivals that occur here.
We hope this list of music festivals in Kentucky helps you find the festival experience you are looking for. We are always adding to this list of festivals so be sure to check back from time to time. If there is a music festival we have missed, be sure to send us an email and we will get it added to the list.
ROMP Fest; Owensboro
ROMP is a bluegrass “roots and branches” festival hosted by the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It began way back in 2003 and it takes place in Daviess County’s Yellow Creek Park in June.
In addition to performances by many of the best bluegrass artists in the business, it includes workshops, yoga, farm-to-table food vendors, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own instruments to jam with others over the course of the weekend.
Forecastle Festival; Louisville
The Forecastle Festival has been happening in Louisville for seventeen years so far. It started out small but it has grown to include national acts including The Black Keys, Beck, Outkast, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, The Flaming Lips, and more. In addition to musical performances, there is an additional focus on art and activism. Attendees can camp or stay in one of many nearby hotels; The Galt House, a riverfront hotel, is the most popular.
Railbird Festival; Lexington
Lexington’s Railbird Festival bills itself as “a celebration of music, bourbon, and equine” and it takes place in August. It includes performances by artists from the folk, bluegrass, Americana, and rock genres but the focus is on Kentucky bourbon as much as it is on music.
Further, it raises money for non-profit organizations like Central Music Academy, Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, Fayette Alliance, and Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
Kentucky Bluegrass Music & Burgoo Festival; Louisville
This festival is the oldest bluegrass festival in 1974 and it helped to shape all the bluegrass festival culture that followed. It takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park campground during the first full weekend of June. A related camp for children happens on the following weekend as well.
PeteFest aims to raise awareness for mental health advocacy through music, discovery, and community. It’s relatively new; it began in 2017, but it gets bigger every year. In addition to musical performances, it includes workshops on mental health, suicide prevention, social change, and racial equity and is hosted by The Pete Foundation.
We have compiled this comprehensive list of music festivals in Kentucky, if there are any that we’ve missed that you would like us to add please contact us.