A view from the projection booth in 2011 inside the Red Barn during the WFPK Live Lunch series.
A view from the projection booth in 2011 inside the Red Barn during the WFPK Live Lunch series.

Local music has grown to become a staple for the city of Louisville.

In 2009, University of Louisville’s Student Activities Board voiced its interest in bringing arts entertainment to campus. Though members didn’t experience any push back from top administrators, achieving their goal was a challenge nonetheless because of lack of funding and resources.

Coincidentally, however, Billy Hardison, who worked for the Public Radio Partnership, wanted to grow WFPK Radio’s student audience at the time. Understanding the value of showcasing local talent and giving it a home on a college campus immediately paved the way for a relationship that blossomed into the WFPK Live Lunch series.

Friday’s event marks the 29th Live Lunch, which takes place at the Red Barn on the Belknap campus and begins at 11 a.m. Brent Cobb, a country singer-songwriter that has a Grammy-nominated album, is the featured artist, and the SAB is providing food, including burgers, veggie burgers, and hot dogs for all those in attendance.

With the help of WFPK, the event is marketed, set up, staffed and run by students of SAB and the organization’s concert committee.

“We want UofL students, whether they are from Louisville or California, to be aware of this and all of the incredible things the city has to offer,” said Gillian Casey, ULEAD Scholar and SAB’s director of programming. 

The first Live Lunch event was held at the Red Barn on Sept. 18, 2009. For the first few years, SAB hosted between three to four Live Lunches a year. In the current scheduling, there is one during the fall and one in the spring.

The connection reinforces both the city’s and University of Louisville’s affinity for the arts, which is growing at a rapid rate.

In 2015, Time Magazine recognized Louisville as one of America’s top 10 music scenes. In 2017, Paste Magazine identified Louisville as one of the best and fastest growing theatre scenes in the country.

Ira Green
Ira Green is a social media and digital marketing specialist for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing. Before joining the team in 2018, Green previously spent eight years as an assistant sports information director in the Cardinals’ athletics department. The Florida native graduated with a B.A. from UCF before earning an M.S. from West Virginia. An avid college basketball and Major League Baseball fan, Green advocates for the Oxford comma and the New York Yankees.