Annual Louisville Free Concerts

The rest of the world is starting to catch on—particularly with the popularity of Forecastle Music Festival, but Louisville has known it all along...this city is a great place for live music.

In addition to the number of national acts that play ticketed concerts every year in Louisville, there are also a number of major bands playing Louisville free concerts, both at indoor and outdoor venues. Check out the following places that host free concerts in Louisville. There are oodles of places to see live music in Louisville. Once you start looking, you may be amazed at the amount of options you have.

  • 01 of 04

    Kentucky State Fair

    Concert at Kentucky State Fair.
    ••• Concert at Kentucky State Fair. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Kentucky State Fair Board
    Every year, the Kentucky State Fair hosts nearly a dozen free concerts in Cardinal Stadium at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. These concerts typically feature lesser-known acts or popular national acts that haven't released a new album in a while. Though you'll have to pay admission to get into the fair, it is completely free to watch the concerts. Seating is first-come first-serve, so you'll want to arrive early to get the best seats possible.
  • 02 of 04

    Part of the annual Kentucky Derby Festival, the Kroger Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront is an event that features many free concerts in Louisville's Waterfront Park. The Kroger Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront generally occurs during the week of the Kentucky Derby Festival prior to the Kentucky Derby. A Pegasus Pin is all you need to get into the Kroger Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront. And once you are there, you can see many national and local bands in concert as well as watch the Great Balloon Glimmer and other fun Derby Festival events. Including the Kentucky Derby Fest Chow Wagon, where you can dine brisket with Derby sauce, funnel cakes, ice cream, frozen margaritas, hamburgers and more.

  • 03 of 04

    Waterfront Wednesdays are a summer concert series presented by WFPK and hosted on Waterfront Park's Harbor Lawn. These free concerts are held on the last Wednesday of the month from April through September and feature both local and national bands. A cash bar and food stands are available during the event, and event-goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to relax on during the concert. This is one of the many free summer concert programs in Louisville.

  • 04 of 04

    The Cherokee Triangle Summer Concert Series is an annual series of concerts held on Sunday evenings from April to September in the Highlands' Cherokee Triangle neighborhood. These outdoor concerts feature local bands playing music of all genres, from salsa to rock to swing and blues. The concerts are free to everyone but usually support a charity that varies from year to year, so event-goers may be encouraged to bring a canned good or other donation to the event.

    Note: Jessica Elliott's article was edited by a current expert in November, 2016.