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Hometime Rising: DWP Ultimate County Music and Bourbon Festival

The debut Hometown Rising Country Music & Bourbon Festival will hit Louisville this September as a kickoff to three weeks of music at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Its lineup — with legacy acts such as Tim McGraw and Dwight Yoakam slotted alongside newer performers like Frankie Ballard and Jake Owen — would be impressive for any festival, regardless of its age.

But for a first-time fest? The stack is almost unheard of.

With tickets going on sale Friday, we know all you country fans are dying to hear more. So we spoke with Danny Hayes of Danny Wimmer Presents, the events production company behind Hometown Rising, about what festivalgoers can expect.


“In terms of first-year festivals, there’s not many country festivals that are going to come out with this big and expensive of a lineup out of the box,” Hayes said

In addition to McGraw, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban and Little Big Town will headline Hometown Rising.

All four are big names that are sure to draw a crowd. But guests will want to show up early for up-and-coming acts such as Kassi Ashton and Lauren Jenkins — two of the 11 female-led acts performing at the festival.


“The bourbon piece is what, number one, differentiates” Hometown Rising from other country music festivals, Hayes said. “There’s no other country music and bourbon festival. That is obviously what makes Louisville unique to begin with.”

Since 2014, Danny Wimmer Presents has made a show of including bourbon and elevated food at its Louisville festivals, including Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life, and Hometown Rising will be no different.

The event will feature seven separate areas where guests can try bourbons from more than a dozen brands, including Angel’s Envy and Elijah Craig.

Expert Fred Minnick will again curate the bourbons available at the festival, and he’ll organize discussions and demonstrations at the Mash Stage.

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“We’re bringing a lot of Kentucky-wide chefs to the festival,” Hayes said. “We don’t know yet how we’re going to do it, but there will be some form of a callout to the greater Kentucky chefs.”

Already booked are Edward Lee of 610 MagnoliaMilkwood and Whiskey Dry, and Anthony Lamas of Seviche, who’ve been involved with Bourbon & Beyond.

Local restaurants and food trucks that will be on-site include Red Top Gourmet DogsLongshot LobstaBlackbeard EspressoBlack Rock GrilleRiver Road BBQJoella’s Hot ChickenHull and Highwater, Couvillion and Doc Crow’s.

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Danny Wimmer Presents will produce Hometown Rising, Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life on three back-to-back weekends in September.

The company invites guests to buy a “Trifesta” pass to all three festivals for $229 plus fees (cheaper than one ticket to the four-day Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee).

The pass will be transferable, Hayes said, meaning a guest could hand their ticket off to a friend or family member if they don’t want to attend all of the festivals.

The idea is to make the festivals affordable to anyone who wants to go, Hayes said.


► The festival will have an on-site campground, just like Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life have had in years past. The campground will have bathrooms, showers, concession stands and access to Strike & Spare’s VIP Bowling Lanes. A car camping pass will cost $125. An RV camping pass will cost $200.

► The Kentucky Exposition Center, 937 Phillips Lane, has 19,000 parking spaces where festivalgoers will be able to park.

► The festival will continue to be outdoors in an area that Danny Wimmer Presents has dubbed the Highland Festival Grounds.

Find more information on tickets to Hometown Rising and the Trifesta pass at hometownrising.com.