If you’re not familiar with Petefest yet, it’s time to get in the know. In it’s short tenure (2 years now), Petefest has grown to the point that it’s become a festival we don’t want to miss. This year is highlighted by many local and national acts including Quiet Hollers, The Pass, Carly Johnson, Jeff The Brotherhood, and Son Volt but everyone is talking about Curio Key Club bringing their friends along to perform “Stop Making Sense” in it’s entirety. If you’ve never seen “Stop Making Sense,” then do yourself a huge favor and click the words “Stop Making Sense” anywhere in this paragraph.
Petefest is more than just a festival full of great music, and we wanted to get the info on why Petefest exist and what it’s helping. So we reached out to the festivals co-producer Young Koepke to get all the sweet details for your party weekend.
Never Nervous: What is The Pete Foundation? How did PeteFest come to be a part of it?
Young Koepke: The Pete Foundation is a youth mental health advocacy non-profit organization in Louisville, KY. The foundation seeks to instill a culture in which dialogue surrounding depression and anxiety is met with understanding and acceptance by providing services and experiences for adolescents, and funding research to better understand the nature of silent suffering.
After losing our beloved son, brother, and friend Pete Jones in December 2016, The Pete Foundation was established and PeteFest Music Festival, a charity event of The Pete Foundation, came up quickly as we were seeing the best way to engage people where they can enjoy who they are and express freely. It was very clear that a music festival is an ideal setup.
NN: So we can camp at PeteFest? Where in Louisville is there room to camp and see a festival?
YK: Yes, you can camp at PeteFest! The venue is called Jones Fields, a 90-acre nature preserve located off Seatonville Road, just 30 minutes from downtown Louisville. It features a beautiful Kentucky landscape with gently rolling hills and an extensive camping area Jones Fields- 8401 Dawson Hill Rd, Louisville, KY 40299. The camping ground and festival field are separated into two fields, and walk between two fields are absolutely beautiful and easy!
NN: Writing songs has helped me through many tough times. Is the music at PeteFest intended to be therapeutic, an avenue for getting the word out, or both?
YK: Definitely. All of our artists believe in our mission and festival because they have their own personal experience and intimate ties to music being therapeutic and healing. For this very reason, they all have been the biggest advocate to get the word out for both our festival and mission to raise awareness for Youth Mental Health advocacy. Our PeteFest crew and fans also feel the same sentiments that music is something that everyone can relate to emotionally.
“All of our artists have been the biggest advocates to get the word out for both our festival and mission to raise awareness for Youth Mental Health advocacy.”
NN: Besides music, what else will be part of the PeteFest experience?
YK: Going back to camping, if you love nature and camping, we highly recommend camping out and spending time at the beautiful nature preserve. Louisville muralist Wilfred Sieg will be painting an entire trailer that will become our PeteFest/Pete Foundation mobile unit, and CirqueLouis will be present all three days to do amazing performances. Lastly, on Sunday morning, we will be hosting a free QPR Suicide Intervention Training at PeteFest as part of Louisville Health Advisory Board’s ‘Bold Moves Against Suicide Louisville’ initiative.
NN: What kind of work are you doing with environmental conservation?
YK: We are eco-friendly fest that encourages recycling and reusing as we ask our festival goers to look up/save the map/schedule on their phone and recycling by having dedicated bins. Also, we will be selling reusable drink cups.
NN: Are there any other organizations or causes you are supporting?
YK: We currently collaborate with many mental health community partners such as CirqueLouis and their Unicycle Project, NAMI Louisville, and Louisville Health Advisory Board. We continue to work towards collaborating with more non profits and organizations to strengthen our effort.