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Poorcastle Music Festival brings local music to Louisville’s Breslin Park

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Courtesy Poorcastle
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Poorcastle Music Festival is back this weekend, the first one since before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Co-founder and director of operations Shaina Wagner told WFPL News it’s been surreal to be preparing for the event after so much time away.

“Having not done it for two years, you feel a little rusty,” she said. “But also coming back feeling excited, and just honestly, just really happy to be back.”

The three-day music festival, touted as the more affordable alternative to Forecastle, runs Friday through Sunday at Breslin Park, near Cave Hill Cemetery. 

Wagner said they have more local vendors and partners this year, and it was a record year for the number of submissions they received from Louisville-area musicians wanting some stage time. She said organizers listened to the more than 270 submissions, seeking out a variety of musical genres.

“And then we also do a mix of artists that have been playing for a while, as well as new up and coming artists,” she said. “So there's a lot of thought, and it's tedious… there's just so much good local music that it's just a really difficult process.”

The 2022 lineup includes Routine Caffeine, Shutaro Noguchi, Anemic Royalty, metal band Belushi Speed Ball, The N8vs and a special performance by School of Rock Louisville

It began as an on-air joke in 2013.

Wagner said she was sitting in on a colleague’s radio show at Crescent Hill Radio.  

“They were talking about the bands that were playing Forecastle and he just made a joke like, we couldn't afford it. And he's like, Poorcastle, I need something like Poorcastle.”

Wagner and her fellow radio hosts grabbed some drinks afterward. She said they got to talking about how Poorcastle wasn’t such a crazy idea – as radio hosts, they had a lot of contacts in the local music scene.

“So we kind of just cobbled together this little music festival,” she said of the first year. “And it was a surprise to us, but a lot of people showed up.” 

Ticket prices have since gone up from $5 to $10 - $25. Wagner said it’s been a challenge to balance growth and keep the festival cheap, and part of doing that is the organizers and musicians “volunteering” their time. 

“We've all donated their time so that the ticket price can remain affordable for the community.”

According to the Poorcastle website, a portion of the proceeds go to benefit local youth music education programs in Louisville.

Stephanie Wolf is LPM's Arts & Culture Reporter. Email Stephanie at swolf@lpm.org.