BEYOND: Bourbon & Beyond’s lineup features more than 100 artists. Tickets are on sale now. (Courtesy DWP)

Now in its sixth year, event draws 40,000-50,000 fans daily

Danny Wimmer Presents has unveiled a massive lineup for the 2024 iteration of its multi-genre music, food and spirits event, Bourbon & Beyond, which takes place Sept. 19-22 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Gracing the stage at Highland Festival Grounds Kentucky Exposition Center will be Zach Bryan, Dave Matthews Band, Tyler Childers, Neil Young, Beck, Matchbox Twenty, My Morning Jacket, The War on Drugs, among others. 

DWP Global Head of Talent Del Williams described the 100-plus lineup as “epic,” adding he is particularly proud of the undercard, which includes Dinosaur Jr., Koe Wetzel, Mt. Joy, Fleet Foxes, JJ Grey & Mofro, Larkin Poe, Arlo Parks,  up and comers like Breland and Sierra Ferrell and under-the-radar talents like California folk duo Mapache.

The event, which draws between 40,000 to 50,000 fans per day and is now in its sixth year, has added 40 artists and two stages over last year’s event. The festival shares a site the following weekend with the four-day Louder Than Life rock and metal festival.

“The plan was to curate it so that it all blends together, incorporating the different genres that make Bourbon & Beyond special,” said Williams, noting Americana, classic rock, blues, soul and alt-country as core tenets.

He takes pride in the event’s multi-genre nature, unique among DWP’s rock-leaning festival properties and its mainstream-country Golden Sky event in Sacramento. “We want it to be the most distinctive festival out there so it has its niche, so to speak.”

The event is billed as a love letter to Louisville and a celebration of Kentucky bourbon and cuisine, showcasing culinary activities from Chris Santos, Ed Lee, Chris Blandford and Amanda Freitag, bourbon-related discussions and tastings.   

Tickets are on sale now, starting at $109 for single-day general admission passes and $309.99 for four-day general admission. As of Thursday night, Williams said 70,000 cumulative tickets had been sold, which he said was the most for a DWP event in that time frame.

24K Magic: Bruno Mars shown at last year’s Bourbon & Event, which he headlined. (Daniel Ramos)

The decision to add so much music was a direct response to fan feedback, Williams said. He noted the passionate fanbases of headliners Zach Bryan, Tyler Childers and Dave Matthews Band, while crediting Neil Young as the type of artist that demonstrates crossover appeal between genres and fanbases.

“He paved the way and was such an influential artist in establishing an independent spirit that those acts have been able to take advantage of,” Williams said. “That’s why he fits so well, not just because he’s a legend, but because of his legacy, trailblazing the way so we have these independent artists thriving. It’s because of artists like Neil Young.”

While a music festival is nothing without music, and headliners are a large factor in selling tickets, Williams says it’s important to produce a strong undercard and give a platform for developing artists to continue building fan bases, which helps make for a stronger overall music market.

“Even promoters and the (whole) entertainment business are so caught up in headliners, but there are a lot of acts out there that people love and are selling tickets and evoke that passion,” he said. “The drivers are important, don’t get me wrong, but we have to invest in the next generation to really evolve and continue to prosper in this business.”

Last year’s Bourbon & Beyond, topped by Bruno Mars, The Black Keys, The Killers and Brandi Carlile, saw 120,000 fans over its four days. The event is nominated for a Pollstar Award for Music Festival of the Year (Over 30,000 attendance).

Spirits enthusiasts and entrepreneurs take part in the “Building An Influential Bourbon” discussion onsite at the festival. (Ken Goodman)

The company has long been known for establishing rock and metal events across the U.S. including Aftershock in Sacramento and Welcome To Rockville in Florida, but continues to expand Bourbon & Beyond as well as the Golden Sky country festival in Sacramento, set to take place for its third year in October and expanding to a third day. 

Welcome To Rockville’s lineup is already out, topped by Foo Fighters, Motley Crue,  Limp Bizkit and Slipknot, while Golden Sky in December announced Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett and Luke Bryan. Meanwhile, Iron Maiden was announced to be headlining one of the days for Aftershock.

Williams says to not be surprised if 2024 sees record numbers for those festivals, which have continued to grow post-COVID.

It’ll be stacked,” he said. I think it’ll even be bigger than last year.”