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Bourbon & Beyond: what you need to know

Bourbon & Beyond begins tomorrow, Sept. 23, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 24, at Champions Park, 2050 River Rd. This new music, food and Bourbon festival is aiming high on all three legs of its schedule. Top-notch music acts lined up to perform include Stevie Nicks, Eddie Vedder and the Steve Miller Band.  Chefs from near and far (Tom Colicchio, Edward Lee, Chris Cosentino, Amanda Freitag, Cosmo Goss and Erling Wu-Bower, Kevin Ashworth, Anthony Lamas and Anthony Falco) will be cooking with Bourbon, offering brunches both days, smoking up some genuine Southern barbecue, steaming up a massive NOLA-style crawfish boil, and giving live cooking demos. Distilleries from around the state will show off their products, conduct tasting workshops and run discussions on topics such as “The Wonder Women of Whiskey,” led by local author and bourbon expert Susan Reigler. In short, lots of fun will be in store.

National and local chefs will conduct demonstrations and cooking workshops and provide chow to the masses. Local restaurants getting in on the action include Doc Crow’s, Gospel Bird, Seviche and The Manhattan Exchange.

Highlights of these food events include a Big Easy Crawfish Boil with Seviche chef Lamas; a Southern Soul BBQ with chefs Kevin Ashworth and Stacie Stewart of 610 Magnolia and Milkwood; and several live cooking demos.

Major distilleries participating include Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, Angel’s Envy, Barton 1792, Jim Beam, Bulleit, Boone County Distilling Co., Four Roses, Maker’s Mark, MB Roland Distillery, Michter’s, New Riff, Old Forester, Woodford Reserve, Kentucky Peerless, Rabbit Hole, Smooth Ambler and Limestone Branch Distillery.

Several of the master distillers and brand ambassadors will be on hand to host panel discussions and tastings. The festival will feature a Big Bourbon Bar, looking to be the city’s longest bar, where most of the drinks and tastings will be served. Pop-up speakeasies will be popping up as well, so keep your eyes peeled.

The music acts are rather more upscale that many such festival lineups. The nationally-known performers, in addition to Stevie Nicks, Eddie Vedder and the Steve Miller Band, include Band of Horses, Trombone Shorty, Gary Clark Jr., Buddy Guy and Kiefer Sutherland, among others.

For the whole schedule, background info on the Bourbon, distillers, chefs and musicians, and information about the auxiliary events and ticketing details, go to the Bourbon & Beyond website

The Courier-Journal’s Jeffrey Puckett also has his own picks of what might be most worthy of attention. Check your choices against his here.