lebowski fest

Lebowski Fest is back and celebrating its 15th year. The weekend-long festival dedicated to the Coen Brothers movie “The Big Lebowski” will be held July 8-9 at Executive Strike & Spare.

Although the festival is slightly pared back from recent years, it’s happening — and for that, Lebowski Fest fans should rejoice.

For a while, it looked like the festival’s fate was uncertain.

Last year, Will Russell, founder of Lebowski Fest, was arrested at the festival for marijuana possession, menacing behavior and resisting arrest. Russell — who has long been open about his bipolar disorder — had gone off his medication and broke a 20-year sobriety.

That arrest was the first in a series of legal troubles and disturbing behaviors that eventually led to him losing his short-lived theme park, Funtown Mountain, in Cave City, Ky., after he vandalized the property and defaulted on loans. Shortly thereafter, his two popular WHY Louisville stores also fell victim to Russell’s troubles.

Eventually Russell voluntarily sought in-patient treatment and has been laying low ever since. Until Russell was up to the task, Tyler Gill was handling sole operations of Lebowski Fest. But this past spring, Gill told IL that Russell was back working on the festival and that the two planned to eventually take it back on the road.

The Courier-Journal’s Jeffrey Lee Puckett wrote that Russell “declared bankruptcy in November but was allowed to keep Lebowski Fest through an exemption; Russell declined to discuss details, saying it was a complicated process that he still doesn’t fully grasp.”

Puckett also said Russell isn’t sure he will attend the festival this year.

Details of Lebowski Fest 2016

Black Bear Combo will play the Friday night event at Lebowski Fest, followed by a showing of the cult movie that inspired the festival. Saturday night is the annual bowling party and costume festival.

According to their website, Black Bear Combo is a “raucous mutt channeling the common energy between traditional music from eastern Europe and the Balkans, punk rock, and free jazz.”

Both nights the event begins at 8 p.m. Movie party tickets are $15 and bowling tickets are $25. More information and tickets are available here.