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THAT’S A WRAP | Bourbon & Beyond 2023

Bruno Mars closes out the 2023 Bourbon & Beyond Festival that drew more than 120,000 people.
Duran Duran's John Taylor and Dom Brown. Photo: Steve Thrasher
Pat Monahan of Train. Photo: Nathan Tucker
Dan Smith of Bastille. Photo: Steve Thrasher
Brittany Howard. Photo: Steve Thrasher
Mavis Staples. Photo: Steve Thrasher
The Black Crowes perform Saturday night. Photo: Steve Thrasher
The Avett Brothers perform Saturday night. Photo: Steve Thrasher
Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Photo: Nathan Tucker
Partrick Carney of The Black Keys. Photo: Steve Thrasher

The 2023 edition of Bourbon & Beyond has now wrapped, adding another incredible year to the history of the fan favorite event, hailed as the World’s Largest Bourbon & Music Festival. More than 120,000 fans of all things music, food, and bourbon culture joined together September 14-17 at the Highland Festival Grounds at Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville for the four-day weekend full of nonstop entertainment.

This one-of-a-kind live experience includes some of the best and brightest music stars in Americana, roots, blues, country, and rock n roll, as well as a range of culinary programming from some of the country’s top chefs and a wide palette of bourbon tastings and workshops celebrating the rich culture of Louisville.

Bourbon & Beyond 2023’s memorable music performances included a day one finale from Brandi Carlile featuring special guest Billy Strings who helped on covers of Wings’ “Live and Let Die” and Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” Earlier in the day, Billy Strings also crashed the Bluegrass Situation Stage where he joined fiddle player Michael Cleveland for a few numbers. The weekend also included hit-packed headlining sets from The Killers and The Black Keys as well as Bruno Mars where Louisville native Jack Harlow was seen taking in the performance.

Other attention-grabbing sets included a rousing performance from recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Duran Duran as well as new wave/punk legends Blondie, Wayne Newton who played his first rock festival ever and Old Crow Medicine Show who paid tribute to the late Jimmy Bufffett with a cover of “Margaritaville.” Bourbon & Beyond also marked the first time that husband-and-wife couple The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney and singer-songwriter Michelle Branch played the same event together.

In addition to music, stars headed to the Monogram Culinary Stage and Kentucky Venues Bourbon Stage to participate in the one-of-a-kind programming throughout the weekend. That included Darnell “SuperChef” Ferguson (Louisville native, Food Network’s Superchef Grudge Match), Sara Bradley (Top Chef contestant), special guest Joe Kwon of Avett Brothers joining at the Monogram Culinary Stage, which was hosted by Chef Chris Santos (Chopped), Chef Edward Lee (The Mind of a Chef) and Chef Amanda Freitag (Top Chef,Chopped).

Over at the Kentucky Venues Bourbon Stage, bourbon expert Chris Blandford was joined by the world’s leading bourbon authority Fred Minnick, as well as Chef Amanda Freitag, actors Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley (behind Brother’s Bond Bourbon), actor Graham McTavish (OutlanderMen in Kilts), singer Wayne Newton, and country music artist Hailey Whitters. In addition, the Bourbon & Basketball panel featured former University of Louisville Championship basketball stars Robbie Valentine, Chris West, Wiley Brown, and Scooter McCray discussing why they love bourbon.

Forbes has said of Bourbon & Beyond, “Since 2017, Bourbon & Beyond has drilled down on Kentucky’s number one export and the presence of its famed Bourbon Trail to give fans a unique opportunity to sample rare whiskeys and Kentucky bourbons. Featuring some of America’s best chefs, the Louisville festival’s celebration of the culinary arts, spirits, live music and more makes it one of America’s most unique festival offerings.”

Bourbon & Beyond is produced by Los Angeles-based Danny Wimmer Presents, one of the largest independent producers of destination music festivals in America. 2023 events include Aftershock, Bourbon & Beyond, GoldenSky Country Music Festival, Inkcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival, Louder Than Life, Sonic Temple Art & Music Festival, and Welcome To Rockville.

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