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Bourbon & Beyond launches 4 days of music, food and bourbon galore | Company

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The doors are open and the music is playing at the Bourbon & Beyond festival in Louisville.

The four-day event at the Highland Festival Grounds at the Kentucky Exposition Center features dozens of artists, a huge selection of bourbons and a taste of local chefs.

The event hasn’t taken place since 2019 due to the pandemic, but it’s back and expanded to four days with more space.

Fans, like Amy McCartney, are happy to be back. McCartney said she was waiting for the festival to return.

“We went in 2017, 2018, 2019, and then we were really disappointed when it was canceled in 2021,” McCartney said. “They held Louder Than Life but not this one, and we were really disappointed with that. Thank goodness he’s back.”

Some fans have traveled hundreds of miles to get to Bourbon & Beyond, including Carly McKenna.

“Fifteen hour drive. Let’s go. We did it yesterday. I went full speed ahead. Got in last night at 4 a.m. straight from Florida,” McKenna said.

If you’re not one of the thousands of people planning to attend Bourbon & Beyond, the event could still impact you with additional traffic in the area. You might even hear or see performers when driving on Interstate 65.

The festival isn’t the only thing going on this weekend. September’s Churchill Downs meet opens Thursday with night races, and the University of Louisville football team hosts Florida State at Cardinal Stadium on Friday.

“It’s going to be lively here on Central Avenue this Friday and the following Saturday,” said Darren Rogers, spokesman for Churchill Downs. “This Friday we have the live race which starts until 12:45 p.m., goes until the exciting 7:30 a.m. game between U of L and Florida State. And the following week, U of L plays at noon, and we have the night race from 6 p.m. on the 24th.”

People heading to the events should be reminded of the planned construction on southbound Interstate 71. The freeway will close from Interstate 265 to Interstate 264 at 8 p.m. Friday. It won’t reopen for 10 days. Detours will be in place, but plan ahead.

The festival draws large crowds that will swarm the city and provide an economic boost to Louisville, according to Kentucky Venues spokesman Ian Cox.

“130,000 people are expected to bring about $9 million in economic impact,” Cox said. “It powers our restaurants, our bars, our hotels. It keeps jobs in Louisville and puts Kentucky on the map.”

The Louder Than Life festival later this month expects at least 160,000 fans.

Jack White and Alanis Morissette headline Thursday night. Over 80 bands will take the stage during the four-day event, including Pearl Jam, Chris Stapleton, Kings Of Leon, Brandi Carlile and Greta Van Fleet, The Doobie Brothers 50th Anniversary and more.

Bourbon & Beyond is not limited to music. Local, regional and national chefs will demonstrate on the culinary stage. Throughout the festival, crowds can enjoy bourbon tastings, workshops, and food offerings.

Among the chefs performing on the culinary scene at Kentucky Venues are hosts Ed Lee and Chris Santos, of Top Chef and Chopped, respectively. They will be joined by acclaimed chefs, including chef Ouita Michel from Kentucky, Amanda Freitag from The Food Network, Antonia Lofaso and Damaris Phillips, among others. Additionally, James Beard-nominated Anthony Lamas of the Seviche of Louisville will provide a fine dining experience for Beyond VIP and Rocks guests throughout the festival weekend.

General admission and VIP passes are still on sale at

If you plan to drive, use Expo Center gates two, four, and six. The first gate is reserved for carpool pick-up and drop-off.

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