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Hunter S. Thompson Celebrated at Louisville's Gonzofest

Gonzofest poster
Gonzofest poster

Louisville's Waterfront Park will play host this weekend to a festival honoring famous Kentucky writer Hunter S. Thompson.

The Louisville-born Thompson is the patron saint of Gonzofest Louisville, which takes place on the Big Four Lawn on Saturday.

Gonzofest began five years ago in the parking lot of the Monkey Wrench bar, and is taking a new shape this year as an all-day outdoor event. It features a lineup of seven local bands, spoken word and poetry readings, along with live art demonstrations and artwork.

The festival is raising funds for a proposed bronze statue of Thompson, to be created by Louisville artist Matthew Weir. Preliminary drawings of the statue will be unveiled at the festival.

Gonzofest's Lauren Hendricks said the statue's eventual placement has not yet been determined, but the organizers are looking for a location near Thompson's childhood home in the Highlands.

"We’d like for it to be in a park where people can come and enjoy the statue and take pictures with it, sit by it, and write there," she said. "So we’d like for it to be in an open public space so that everyone can enjoy it."

The festival is also raising money for the Gonzo Foundation, a nonprofit entity that promotes journalism and political activism through the works of Hunter S. Thompson.

Thompson died in 2005 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"Gonzo journalism" refers to his style of participatory reporting, and the word "gonzo" has become a general word for all things Thompson-related.

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