Stomping out stigma: mental health awareness music festival back for 6th year

The Big Stomp (formerly known as PeteFest), the nation’s first music festival to focus on mental health, will return October 14 – 15, 2022. The expanded event will feature more than 30 acts across three stages including electronic jam band Lotus, indie alternative rock band Moon Taxi and electro-funk outfit The Floozies. The festival will again take place at Jones Field – a scenic, 90-acre nature preserve located in southeastern Jefferson County, adjacent to the Parkland’s Turkey Run park.

Now in its sixth year, The Big Stomp began as an annual outreach event for the Pete Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to destigmatizing mental health and expanding access to mental health crisis intervention. About far more than just music, The Big Stomp is an immersive community experience geared toward fostering a more open and thoughtful conversation around mental health. Merging entertainment and education, fans will not only enjoy two days of live music, local food and beverage, but also have the opportunity to learn about healthy habits, practices, and mindfulness.

The festival was established in 2017 to honor Louisville native, Pete Jones, who left this world with a final desire “to help mankind.” His life is a testament to the effects of depression and anxiety, and the world’s lack of acceptance. The Jones family founded The Big Stomp to rally the community to champion youth mental health so that people no longer must silently suffer the debilitating conditions that took Pete. A festival that breaks down barriers, allows for approachable acceptance and serves Pete’s wish to make this a better world for all.

With several partners within the community that support the overall goal of “stomping” mental health stigma away, Queer Kentucky included, the multi day experience includes educational opportunities, physically engaging activities, music, art, acrobatics, camping, and promotes local artistry.

To aid in the expansion, the foundation tapped a number of partners including Forecastle Festival founder JK McKnight’s Art of Impact agency to reimagine how the event’s mission could come to life in more meaningful ways, while strategically growing the festival’s profile to draw a larger audience and expand the event’s reach.

“We are changing the way mental health is communicated while fostering an environment of openness and fearlessness. For us, the important thing is touching as many people as possible. There is no one in Louisville who understands how to grow a mission-focused event quite like JK McKnight,” said Molly Jones, founder of the Pete Foundation. “We believe firmly in the mission of our organization and strategic growth will ensure we are able to positively impact even more lives.”

Past iterations of PeteFest have been largely driven by local and regional acts — this year the festival will invest in talent and expand the budget to feature national touring bands with larger audiences. This year’s festival will also see an expanded event footprint and stages, including upgrading the size of the main stage and the addition of a second stage.

In May 2020, Louisville officially adopted its own mental health flag to help bring awareness and #stompthestigma in honor of the festival and those who have and continue to be impacted by the effects of mental health and trauma. The city collected data from over 100 local mental health professionals, artists, teachers, students, etc. in order to create it. Since its creation, it has distributed to every state in the US (and seven additional countries). Every school in Jefferson County has requested the flag as well. 

Currently, it is flown at the capitol in Frankfort in recognition of Mental Health Month. The state has had a ton of support for spreading awareness as it was named the official flag for Mental Health for the Commonwealth of Kentucky by the State House of Representatives, through a vote of 99 to zero. The UofL athletic department has adopted the flag along with the tagline:  “Cards all in | No one flies alone” and the state is encouraging schools and various groups to develop their own tagline, or statement of purpose.

Mental health is a constantly growing and evolving issue within society today, and spreading awareness is the easiest way to begin normalizing these matters. By bringing awareness to these struggles, it’s easier for people who are suffering to finally reach out for help. The Big Stomp is just around the corner and any impacted person or allied individual is welcome to attend the event, and support the goal of normalizing the topic of mental health and treatment as well. Tickets for The Big Stomp are on sale now. Two-day weekend passes start at $69 and weekend youth passes (guests age 10-18) are $50. The event will also feature The Big Bundle, a premium experience for $200 including a hospitality area with a relaxed seating area, private bar, air conditioned restroom trailer, and complimentary signature cocktails, nail painting and hair braiding. Big Bundle ticketholders will have the option to add preferred parking. Full ticket details can be found online at

Friday, October 14-Gates: 4 p.m.; Music 5 p.m-Midnight

Saturday October 15-Gates: 10:30 a.m.; Music: 11:30 a.m.-Midnight

Camping available throughout the weekend.