Kentucky Derby 2014 Music Events Near Churchill Downs

By Maryam Louise, Yahoo Contributor Network | April 24, 2014

Are you looking for something to do in Louisville when you are not partying at Churchill Downs for the 2014 Kentucky Derby? Whether you are a Louisville native or a tourist, it can be difficult to figure out where all of the hot spots for music on Derby weekend truly are. However, as a Louisville resident and musician, my Facebook events page is full of interesting talent. Listed below are bands that are playing within two miles of Churchill Downs. This means that they will be reasonably close to hotels in the Downtown Louisville area from Wednesday, April 30 to Sunday, May 4.

Free Derby Party with Louisville Arts Live: Wednesday, April 30 On the southeast border of Downtown Louisville, the trip to the Diamond Pub Concert Hall at 630 Barret Ave, Louisville, Kentucky 40204 is well worth it. Starting their Derby weekend celebrations a little bit early, this event by Studio502 and Louisville Arts Live is great for tourists that fly into town in the middle of the week. Starting at 7 PM and ending at 1 AM, you can expect over-21 entertainment that includes over 50 bands, performers, comedians and artists. In addition to selling art to attendants, this event will give you a chance to hear the best of the Bluegrass State.

The Skull Defekts, Ma Turner, and The Avner Community Band: Wednesday, April 30

Frequently a site for experimental and indie rock music, Dreamland is hosting a ticketed event in Downtown Louisville. Starting at 7 PM, a Swedish band from Thrill Jockey Records will be featured along with bands from Los Angeles and Lexington. Located directly behind Decca Restaurant at 810 E. Market Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40206, this show will likely end around 11 PM. The tickets are $10, and they are available online.

Steely Danish, Small Time Napoleon and Roadie: Wednesday, April 30

Located about one mile east of Churchill Downs off of Eastern Parkway, Zanzabar serves up a full menu, a large list of alcohol, live music, and has a full room of the vintage pinball machines. Starting at 8 PM at their 2100 S Preston St, Louisville, Kentucky 40217 location, several touring bands will perform. The show will likely end around midnight, but the bar is open, like other bars in Louisville, until 4 AM. Currently, no cover charge is listed path on their Facebook page, but shows at this location usually range from free to $10.

Thurby at Churchill Downs: Thursday, May 1

In years past, Churchill Downs has not placed a focus on the music entertainment aspect of Derby weekend. However, this year is remarkably different. Not only will they have a Derby party with an undisclosed band, they will also be hosting Wynonna Judd after Oaks Day on Friday. This Thursday event will begin at 12:45 PM and end at 6:30 PM. You will need to reserve tickets at, and there will be an opportunity to win a box with six tickets to both the Derby and Oaks.

Wynonna Judd, Wynonna and The Big Noise: Friday, May 2

One of the top performances in the city of Louisville on Derby weekend will take place at Churchill Downs. After the Oaks Race is run, Wynnona Judd will be a featured performer at the Fillies and Lilies Party . The event is separate from Oaks Day general admission, but is available as a packaged deal and the reasonably priced tickets are also available exclusively through Churchill Downs' Official travel/experience partner, QuintEvents' Derby Experiences. Confirmed celebrity guests include the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Nichole Galicia from "Django Unchained" and American Idol finalist, Elise Testone.

Southern Culture on the Skids and Wanda Jackson with The Ladybirds: Friday, May 2

One of the largest venues of its kind, Headliners Music Hall is located within 10 miles of Downtown Louisville. Starting at 8 PM, they will begin their 18 and over show. Tickets are $17 in advance or $20 at the door. Their location is near (but not next to) Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road at 1386 Lexington Rd., Louisville, Kentucky 40204. Tickets are available online and the link can be found on their Facebook page for this event.

L8 Nite Derby Dizco with Sassmouth, Trevor Lamont, Jason Shelton, OKDeejays: Friday, May 2

Beginning at 11 PM, you can attend a dance music event featuring popular DJs from Louisville, the Midwest, and Smart Bar Chicago. The tickets available at the door are $7, and the event will be hosted at Zanzabar at 2100 S Preston St, Louisville, Kentucky 40217. Special hours for bars during Derby weekend ensure that you will be able to party until the wee hours of the morning. Typically, bars closed at 4 AM in Louisville, but they stay open until 6 AM for Derby weekend.

Rude Weirdo and Opposable Thumbs: Friday, May 2

Starting at 10 PM, the Nachbar will host two of Louisville's most comedic indie rock bands. Located in the Germantown neighborhood at 969 Charles St, Louisville, Kentucky 40204, this location is less than to miles from Churchill Downs. Likely to last past midnight, the tickets to get into this event are $5 at the door. For tourists traveling with pets, it should be noted that the Nachbar has a fenced-in area that welcomes well-behaved dogs.

Hillbilly Outfield Derby Bash: May 2 to 3

For the past 14 years, The Hillbilly Coalition has hosted an all day events that raises money for the Kentucky Make-A-Wish Foundation®. While other music events are not specifically welcoming to children, this one invites families. Live music, Derby coverage, free food, and a silent auction are only a few features. You can buy your tickets online, and there is a possibility that there will be swimming. Check their website for further details and ticket pricing.

Elise Testone, "American Idol" Finalist: Friday, May 2 and Saturday, May 3

American Idol Season 11 finalist Elise Testone is also performing for Derby Experiences on race weekend. She will be featured at the Affirmed Lounge on Friday and at the Secretariat Lounge on Saturday. Both locations are exclusive premium in-track full hospitality venues available through Derby Experiences.

Burlypicks Kentucky Regional Competition: May 3, 2014

A regional competition, the heat will be on at the Art Sanctuary at 1433 South Shelby Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40217. Starting at 9 PM, Burlypicks' Burlesque and Variety Arts performance will begin. It is likely to be a late show, and it will include a $15 Cover. Some of the types of performances you can expect are, "dancers, musicians, magicians, aerialists, jugglers, clowns, comedians, ventriloquists, sideshow acts, and drag acts" as well as participants from the local Louisville burlesque act, Va Va Vixens.

Cult Leader, Neighbor, All Dead, and Ocifer, Sunday, May 4

Known for its focus on Goth, heavy metal and punk music, the Magnolia Bar (AKA Mag Bar) in the Old Louisville neighborhood will have a post-Derby party featuring music from a multitude of bands. This bar is gay friendly, has reasonably priced ranks, has reliable bus service that runs late, is next door to Pizza Donisi, is less than one mile from Churchill Downs and is within walking distance of Downtown Louisville hotels. The action starts at 8 PM, and the address is 1398 S. 2nd Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40208. The $6 show ends at midnight and drink specials will be available.

The Commonwealth of American Natives, Spider Gods, Hal Dolls: Sunday, May 4

One of the smallest venues in Louisville, Lisa's Oak St. Lounge will end Derby weekend with some of the loudest music in the city. Located about two miles from Churchill Downs in the Germantown neighborhood, the action will begin at 7 PM. While this is an over-21 venue, keep in mind that you will need to bring cash. There is no ATM, and they do not take credit cards. The show is located at 1004 East Oak St., Louisville, Kentucky 40204 next to Astro Black Records and Fat Rabbit. The tickets are $5 at the door.