Photo provided by GOTL
Goose on the Lake
The 18th annual Goose on the Lake Music Festival takes place in Allegre on May 31 - June 1.
Late one night, Lloyd Settle leaned against his four-wheeler, parked crooked up the hillside. We were in the bottoms of his farm in Allegre, Kentucky. At first it was just blackness, but the longer I was under the stars, the more my eyes adjusted. The surrounding tree limbs twisted in the wind like arms. A blade of grass whipped across the tip of my boot. A cawing bird flew overhead. Settle also came into view: a man with a mop of graying curls under a leather cap and a reoccurring Cheshire grin. I’d met Settle before but that night, I became hooked on him—his crazy ideas, his vision and his annual event, hosted in these same woods.
“I’m a fossil,” Settle says. “I have a music festival that’s just like it was back in the ’70s.” His no-frills, all–chill Goose on the Lake Music Festival will celebrate its 18th year on May 31 – June 1.
Boasting a line-up that includes Shooter Jennings, Charlie Gearheart and Friends, and JD Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers, to name a few, the exclusively word-of-mouth-marketed, carefully-curated music weekend has grown from its simple origins as Settle’s 50th birthday party into an annual gathering of thousands.
“Capitalism is not very evident here,” Settle says with a laugh. “I’ve never made a decision about Goose on the Lake purely to make money. Now, I’ve made decisions to keep from losing money – but never to make money.”
Settle credits the success of the festival largely to maintaining a certain “vibe” he feels attendees respond to and ultimately return for. Every decision—from hiring security staff to booking artists to inviting vendors—is considered on a plane of thinking that some might call crazy, but is really a calculated mesh of Settle’s own instincts, logic, and emotion. “We don’t invite everybody,” he says. “Just the cool ones. If you’re not cool, don’t worry about it.”
Settle maintains Goose on the Lake is like no other show around. No sponsors, no fancy light shows, no gimmicks, no aggressive security guards and no drama. At a time when music festivals pop up overnight and, like a flash in the pan, are gone, this festival may be the best kept secret in Kentucky.
If you’re cool, please join us. And if you’re not, leave us alone with the trees, the grass, the music and the memories and, well, don’t ruin the vibe.
The full line-up, ticketing and camping information, and more details are available online at www.gooseonthelake.com. You also can follow Goose on the Lake on Facebook. Pre-sale tickets are available now at a discounted rate, but also can be purchased at the door.