For the first time since 2019, Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life will happen on back-to-back weekends. Both Danny Wimmer Presents music festivals were called off in 2020 after the coronavirus shut down events everywhere, and, in 2021, the company decided to only bring back Louder Than Life. This year, between the two fests, there will be eight full days of star-studded lineups. From Sept. 15-18, Bourbon & Beyond will bring alt-rock, indie and roots acts like Jack White, Pearl Jam and Alanis Morissette to the Kentucky Exposition Center, followed by the hard rock and metal fest Louder Than Life, featuring Nine Inch Nails, KISS and Red Hot Chili Peppers the next weekend from Sept. 22-25.
While the big-name artists eat up a lot of the attention and praise at major music festivals, the early-day acts — and the element of discovery that comes along with them — can be what makes these weekends truly special. With that in mind, we created a list of artists who might be flying under the radar in terms of mass popularity, but are well worth your time and effort to pull up to a stage early. The acts are in chronological order.