The first Starry Nights Music Festival went down in 2008 as a one-day music event, an idea hatched by a guy named Bryan Graves one night in the Bowling Green, Ky., bar/venue Tidball’s.
In two years’ time, Bowling Green garage rockers Cage the Elephant were on board and helped turn Starry Nights—which takes place at Ballance Farms just outside of Bowling Green—into a two-day camping festival celebrating regional and nationally touring artists. That year was 2010, and Starry Nights had a 30-band lineup that included Ghostland Observatory, The Ettes, Keller Williams, Frontier Ruckus and JEFF the Brotherhood.
This year, Starry Nights is getting starrier on Sept. 28 and 29 with Justin Townes Earle, The Whigs, Portugal. The Man and of course, Cage the Elephant on the bill, as well as some of Nashville’s most prime including The Kingston Springs, PUJOL, JEFF once again and Bad Cop.
The festival curators also brought in some heavy hitting producers for 2012.
“We teamed up with C3, who does Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and several other great festivals, to bring Starry Nights to a new level this year,” says Brad Shultz, rhythm guitarist for Cage the Elephant.
Besides having an experienced production team on its side, the festival is pushing forward with its activities. Shultz says Starry Nights-goers this year should expect to partake in the largest game of capture the flag Kentucky has ever seen, which bands can participate in as well.
That’s exactly the sort of sense of community that Starry Nights wants to promote. As Shultz says, “We’re excited for everyone to come together for one weekend and create their own community.”
The festival takes it a step further with the local band contest. Five Bowling Green bands deemed worthy by fans were voted into the lineup—Buffalo Rodeo, Technology vs. Horse, Canago, Mahtulu and The Sex Bombs.
There are but two stages, Little Dipper and Big Dipper, and no set overlaps with another, so you can see every single show if you so desire. Capture the flag, camping under the Kentucky sky and getting to see 23 bands in two days for 45 bucks? That’s getting your money’s worth.
The 50-dollar collectible badges, designed to look like a roadie’s or artist’s pass, are sold out. You can still purchase $45 2-day passes, which cover camping, at starrynightsfestival.com/tickets/.
Starry Nights Music Festival is located at 13101 Louisville Road, Oakland, KY 42159.