Skip to Content

Exciting Rock, Bourbon, and BBQ at the Evolution Festival

Add the Evolution Festival to your itinerary if you find yourself in the St. Louis area this August. This two-day event is a brand-new celebration organized by locals, and it’s shaping up to be a fun time.

Evolution is offering not just a stellar lineup but a fabulous food and drink setup as well. It also promises to highlight two St. Louis favorites, barbecue, and bourbon, with dozens of local and nationally-renowned vendors.

And it’s all taking place in beautiful Forest Park, one of the biggest public green spaces in the country. Ready to learn more about this exciting new music festival?

Let’s jam!

Beef ribs being basted with bbq sauce on a grill with a basting brush similar to what you might see at the Evolution Festival
Tasty BBQ is just one of the reasons to attend the Evolution Festival

About the Evolution Festival

St. Louis, get ready. The Evolution Festival is coming!

This brand-new music festival happens on August 26 and 27 in Forest Park. The lineup includes well-known national acts like Brandi Carlile, The Black Keys, and Ben Harper. Evolution also has local support from St. Louis-area artists The Knuckles, Punk Lady Apple, and Yard Eagle.

Evolution bills itself as a rock fest focusing on two American favorites: barbecue and bourbon. Sugar Fire Smokehouse, a locally-based restaurant, will partner with several other local pit masters to provide both traditional and unconventional barbecue dishes for attendees. 

The event will also feature showcases and tastings by well-known bourbon distillers and brands. We can’t think of a better way to end the summer season than with beats, bourbon, and barbecue.

Where Is the Evolution Festival?

This year, the Evolution Festival takes place in Forest Park. This giant park spans 1,300 acres, making it the perfect spot for a big event. It’s one of the largest urban green spaces in the U.S., bigger even than Central Park.

You’ll find museums, nature reserves, and plenty of outdoor activities within this space. They also have two public golf courses, a skating rink, tennis courts, playgrounds, and other outdoor sports areas. Additionally, Forest Park houses a science center and a zoo.

The Evolution Festival isn’t the only event hosted at Forest Park. There’s also an annual Shakespeare celebration, as well as the GO! St. Louis Marathon and the Great Forest Park Balloon Race.

Sample the bourbon like a pro with The Bourbon Bible.

Who Are the Producers Behind the Evolution Festival?

Steve Schankman and Joe Litvag are the co-founders of the Evolution Festival. Both were born and raised in St. Louis, giving them unique insight into the city’s music and food scene.

Additionally, Schankman and Litvag have worked in the music scene for decades. Schankman started a music booking agency, Contemporary Productions, when he was just 20 years old. Litvag also runs his own business, The Just Listen Company, which facilitates live entertainment and music events. The co-founders have more than 70 years of combined experience in the music industry.

Schankman and Litvag came up with the idea for the Evolution Festival because they felt St. Louis needed a celebration with a new, fresh feel. They also wanted it to reflect the spirit of the city they both love.

Other Fun Things To Do Near the Evolution Festival

The Evolution Festival is shaping up to be a great experience. But Forest Park offers tons of exciting activities if you need a break from the music.

Here are a few of the best attractions you’ll find in the area.

Explore the Saint Louis Science Center

Ready to use your noodle? Visit the Saint Louis Science Center and explore more than 700 interactive exhibits, activities, and learning modules.

The Center has a permanent collection and rotating exhibits, so there’s always something new to see. You can view a live demonstration, visit the planetarium, or watch a movie at the in-house IMAX theater.

While some attractions require tickets, general admission to the Center is free.

You can also visit The Smallest National Park in the USA.

Visit the Jewel Box

The Jewel Box is one of Forest Park’s most beautiful attractions. And it lives up to its name. This gorgeous greenhouse really looks like a delicate jewelry box. Explore the permanent collection of flowers, trees, and plants, and check out the rotating seasonal displays.

The Jewel Box’s stunning art deco design is just as gorgeous as the greenery. Admission is just $1 per person. But you can visit the Jewel Box for free on Mondays and Tuesdays between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM.

Check Out the Saint Louis Zoo

Take a walk on the wild side and visit the Saint Louis Zoo! This massive wildlife park houses over 14,000 animals. You can see animals like monkeys, grizzly bears, and sea lions in habitats similar to wild ones.

Many of the animals at the Saint Louis Zoo are endangered or rare, and a visit gives you a unique chance to see some of these creatures.

The zoo is open year-round except on major holidays. And best of all, admission is always free.

A photo of a sea lion like you might see while visiting the St. Louis Zoo after the Evolution Festival
You might get to see Sea Lions at the St. Louis Zoo

Best Places to Stay Near the Evolution Festival

Music festivals are notoriously fun. But after all that partying, you’ll want a nice place to crash. Whether you plan to camp or book a hotel, you can find many cozy places to rest your head. Here are some of the best places to stay nearby.

Cahokia RV Parque

Only 15 minutes from Forest Park, Cahokia RV Parque is the perfect option for RV camping. The park offers full hookups, sewer and water access, WiFi, laundry rooms, playgrounds, and more. They also have restrooms and showers onsite, as well as a swimming pool.

Campsites at Cahokia RV Parque start at $60 per night.

Fleur-De-Lys Mansion

The Fleur-De-Lys Mansion is an upscale B&B only five miles from the festival. The hotel occupies a 19th-century building in one of the city’s oldest historic districts. You can choose from five oversized guest rooms and enjoy an elegant breakfast spread each morning.

The Fleur-De-Lys Mansion’s rates vary from room to room, starting at $180 per night.

Moonrise Hotel

If you’re looking for cool, quirky accommodations, check out the Moonrise Hotel. It’s only two miles from Forest Park and offers rooms with bold decor, luxury linens, and gourmet coffee and body care products.

You can get dinner at the Eclipse Restaurant on the first floor or stay up late for cocktails and snacks at the rooftop Twilight Room. Rates vary by room and start around $205 per night.

Uncovered: Is Costco Bourbon Worth It?

Is a Road Trip to the Evolution Festival Worth It?

This may be its first year, but the Evolution Festival is shaping up to be a hit. With world-class entertainment and unlimited barbecue and bourbon, what’s not to like? And when you need a break from the tunes, Forest Park has many other sites to keep you busy.

We couldn’t have dreamed up a better weekend. So mark your calendar. You aren’t going to want to miss this!

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: