When the City of Somerset launched its free festival series downtown in 2019, the idea was simple: To celebrate the community’s rich culture with people from across the region and state, telling Somerset’s story through food, music and art.
With music as its focus, Moonlight Festival quickly became a favorite in this series, highlighting rising stars in all genres on the Fountain Square stage. Moonlight returns for its fourth year on Saturday, Oct. 15, and will bring to downtown streets everything patrons have come to expect — food vendors, spirits, live art creation from local and regional artists, and an eclectic mix of outstanding music.
“Moonlight has become one of many incredible experiences in our community that signal fall is here,” See Somerset Tourism Director Leslie Ikerd said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be outside in crisp Kentucky October weather listening to music and enjoying the best food and art our region has to offer.”
Presented this year by Lake Cumberland Tourism, Moonlight’s lineup features one musician who has created a buzz locally since he won the Busker Music Contest earlier this year at Foodstock, the city’s spring food truck festival. Singer/songwriter Hunter Flynn received the most votes in the contest, earning the opportunity to play a set on the Moonlight stage.
Flynn would go on to win the Master Musicians Festival’s Take the Stage Competition in June — earning a spot on the main stage to play one song just before Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives headlined the first night of the July festival.
His performance was such a hit that when a band on the Somersessions stage at MMF was not able to make its performance slot, Flynn was invited to play an entire set — drawing hundreds to the secluded third stage on Festival Field in what was one of the most talked about acts that weekend.
“One of my favorite Moonlight traditions is inviting an artist to perform who left an impression with Master Musicians Festival fans over the summer,” Ikerd said. “In the past we’ve done this with The War and Treaty and Devon Gilfillian, but to be able to carry on this tradition with a local artist is special. If you missed his performance at Foodstock, then you’ll want to make sure to catch Hunter Flynn’s set at Moonlight.”
Flynn joins a lineup that includes Hannah Howard, Adam Stewart, Goldpark, Lathan Warlick and headliner Kidd G, providing a day full of country folk, Americana, indie rock, rap, old-school country and hip-hop.
Growing up in the small Georgia town of Hamilton, Kidd G first found fame online through TikTok and SoundCloud, where started posting songs he’d recorded with a friend. In spring 2020, he caught the attention of Rebel Music, which signed him on the strength of his genre-warping talents. While early tracks like his debut single “Sorry” lean toward traditional hip-hop, he later brought an element of old-school country into his songwriting.
“I love country because it feels so natural to me, and you can really tell stories in the songs,” said Kidd G, naming Hank Williams Jr. among the artists he was raised on. Now having surpassed 1.5 million monthly Spotify listeners, his tracks have seen radio play from KIXX Country Radio in Australia and reached new peaks on highly coveted country playlists.
It was a near-death experience that drove Lathan Warlick to a deeper Christian faith and a recognition of his lyrical mission – to write and to rap original music that shares the message and meaning of these milestones. The Tennessee rapper self-identifies as a “positive artist” who reflects on his upbringing in a rough neighborhood and his transformative perspective as a Christ-follower, husband, and father in his songwriting.
With social media as his primary platform, Warlick has released three EPs — Tellem That Im Comin (2016), 2nd Time Around (2017), and A Church in the Trap (2018). He joined the Wide Open Music label in 2020, which includes 2021 Moonlight Festival headliner Matt Stell.
“I am really excited about the mix of genres that we will have on the Fountain Square stage,” Ikerd said. “There is truly something for everyone and paired food and art, we are set for a fantastic fall day in downtown Somerset celebrating our community.”
Moonlight Festival will kick off at 11 a.m. at Fountain Square. Downtown streets will be lined with a robust slate of food and spirit vendors, with local artists creating throughout the enclosed space. The festival’s signature drink, SomerCider, will again be on the menu — a cocktail featuring bourbon and apple cider that was named the Kentucky League of Cities Signature City Drink in 2020.
A complete list of Moonlight vendors and artists, as well as the music schedule, will be released in the coming days. Follow @SeeSomersetKy on Facebook for updates.