Article Contributed by Evolutionary M… | Published on Monday, February 13, 2023

With the vision of evolving the music festival experience, live music producers Contemporary Presentations and The Just Listen Company are proud to announce the inaugural EVOLUTION FESTIVAL in St. Louis. Inspired by the love for their hometown and the belief that festivals are a catalyst for building a stronger local community, co-executive producers Steve Schankman and Joe Litvag have collaborated to develop a modern festival concept that will celebrate the soul of the city in a forward-thinking way.

A diverse line-up of more than 15 national and regional performers has been assembled and will take the stage over two days on Aug. 26 and 27, 2023 in beautiful Forest Park.  With the tagline of ‘This is our town. This is our time. This is our EVOLUTION!,’ the inaugural EVOLUTION FESTIVAL will offer guests an elevated festival experience that will unfold in an unforgettable weekend with the best in live music, a spotlight on  bourbon  (one of the country’s fastest-growing spirits) and unique barbeque creations, curated by St. Louis’ own Sugar Fire Smoke House.

The inaugural EVOLUTION FESTIVAL music lineup will feature 2023 GRAMMY AWARD® winner Brandi Carlile, The Black Keys (a 2023 GRAMMY AWARD® nominee), The Black Crowes, Brittany Howard, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Ice Cube, Morgan Wade, Cautious Clay, Michigander, Modern English, Nikki Lane, The Sugarhill Gang, The Nude Party and many more (full music lineup listed below). The EVOLUTION FESTIVAL will also feature appearances by nationally known and acclaimed barbeque pit masters “Phil The Grill” Johnson, James “Boatright’s BBQ,” and renowned bourbon author and connoisseur Fred Minnick and more!

Throughout the EVOLUTION FESTIVAL weekend, and in addition to enjoying a diverse music lineup, fans will be able to sit back, relax, and experience next-level barbeque offerings from the aforementioned nationally known masters and also from many local and regional award-winning chefs and restaurateurs. The ever-growing list includes Sugar Fire Smoke House, Pappy’s Smoke House, Beast Craft BBQ, Gobble Stop Smoke House, Heavy Smoke BBQ, Treaux’s Cajun BBQ, and more. The bourbon will also be flowing in fresh and creative ways with specialty cocktails, tastings, and demonstrations featuring the best local, regional, and national bourbon brands including Ezra Brooks, Rebel, Daviess County, Blood Oath, Yellowstone, Withered Oak and many more.

“St. Louis is home. My partner Joe and I are both born and raised here, and we’ve both always worked hard to create unforgettable live entertainment experiences here for our hometown community,” said Co-Executive Producer Steve Schankman. “We both agreed that there is something missing here, an event that will welcome everyone from our great city to come together to celebrate our diversity, inclusion, and to offer a renewed focus on our musical culture and the arts. EVOLUTION FESTIVAL does just that, and this event will not only create long-lasting memories, but it will be a strong economic driver for the city, the region, and the state for years to come, as well.”

“When Steve and I put our heads together to come up with the vision for EVOLUTION FESTIVAL, we thought about what kind of festival we’d actually like to attend ourselves,” said Co-Executive Producer Joe Litvag. “An amazing food and beverage experience is just as important as the music is to us, and having a relaxed atmosphere with room to spread out, sit down, and socialize is a big part of what will make this event special.  And watching  incredible artists like Brandi Carlile, The Black Keys, The Black Crowes and Ice Cube doesn’t hurt either!  It’s going to be a special weekend!”

With great cooperation from Forest Park, the City of St. Louis, and Forest Park Forever, Contemporary and Just Listen will host the immersive, two-day EVOLUTION FESTIVAL in Forest Park at Langenberg Field and The Boathouse, conveniently located between The Muny and The Dwight Davis Tennis Center.  

A portion of all EVOLUTION FESTIVAL ticket proceeds will be donated to Forest Park Forever, a non-profit conservancy that works to restore, maintain, and sustain Forest Park as one of America’s great urban public parks. “Forest Park Forever works year-round to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park for a diverse community of visitors to enjoy. Supporting that mission, we’re excited to see the EVOLUTION FESTIVAL introduce a new Forest Park experience for local visitors while showcasing this great urban park to new visitors and musical artists from across the nation,” said Lesley S. Hoffarth, President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever.

In addition, the EVOLUTION FESTIVAL will also work closely with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through its Music Gives campaign to raise money and awareness for the fight against childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Tickets for the EVOLUTION FESTIVAL will go on sale this Friday, Feb. 17 at 10 a.m. CST at Limited numbers of pre-sale tickets will be available for Evolution Insiders and select partners to purchase beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. CST.  Weekend General Admission ticket prices start at $99.50 (plus ticket  fees).  The festival will also feature three levels of  Weekend VIP ticket experiences starting at $199.50 (plus ticket fees).  For information on how to become an Evolution Insider and for details on the different ticket levels and pricing, please visit   

This is our town. This is our time.  This is our EVOLUTION!

The full 2023 EVOLUTION FESTIVAL music lineup:

Brandi Carlile

The Black Keys

The Black Crowes

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

Brittany Howard

Ice Cube

Morgan Wade

Cautious Clay


Modern English

Nikki Lane

Sugar Hill Gang

The Nude Party



The Knuckles

Yard Eagle

Punk Lady Apple