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In 1987, the first Old Settler’s Music Festival was held at Old Settler’s Park, in the Austin suburb of Round Rock. Since then, it’s grown into a nationally-known celebration of Americana and roots music in all its forms-with past headliners including Patty Griffin, Bela Fleck, Doc Watson, Joan Osborne, Bruce Hornsby, Iron & Wine, Alison Krauss, the Avett Brothers, and Robert Earl Keen.

We’ve grown a lot since the early days. But we still maintain our down-home, Texas-friendly vibe. Located just outside of Austin, the festival takes place at Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch, just minutes from Austin . It’s a landscape of shady trees and sunny meadows at the height of bluebonnet season. The music continues nonstop for four straight days, with concerts, workshops, and impromptu jam sessions all day and throughout the night.

We’re more craft beer than light beer. We’d rather kick back than crowd-surf. And every year is full of surprises.

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SOME OF OUR FAVORITE MEMORIES INCLUDE:

Meeting the Musicians After Shows.
Performers sometimes wander through the campsites after their sets-to jam with the audience and say hello. One year, Bill Kreutzmann from the Grateful Dead stopped by to jam with campers. Another, Leftover Salmon members dressed up in costumes and brought their instruments to late-night picking sessions.

Sarah Jarosz.
Sarah grew up playing at our workshops and smaller stages, and won our very first Youth Talent Competition [LINK to Youth Talent page]. After a Grammy-nominated first CD, an appearance on “Austin City Limits,” and many other festival appearances under her belt, she returned for our 25th Anniversary-playing to an audience thrilled to welcome back one of their own.

John Hartford’s last performance.
After John Hartford performed onstage with Nickel Creek for the last time in 2001, a monster jubilee broke out backstage-with Jim Lauderdale, Smokin’ Grass, and Yonder Mountain String Band singing Ralph Stanley tunes well into the night, and the volunteers dancing and singing along.

Radio broadcasts at the festival.
National Public Radio’s Kevin Connor of KUTX began broadcasting from Old Settler’s in 2012, spending Saturday afternoon interviewing artists and attendees, recording performances, and playing music from the festival.  Last year, KDRP’s Bo Chase took his morning show on the road, broadcasting from our backstage.

A wedding at Old Settler’s.
Adam Crankshaw and Jessica Beckley met at the festival. They asked if they could hold their wedding with us-we said yes! They tied the knot on the Bluebonnet Stage, in front of 60 invited guests and 2,000 Old Settler’s attendees.

Here are a few other things you have to look forward to at Old Settler’s:

FOUR STAGES OF OUTSTANDING MUSIC

_thumb_oldsettlers_63122Every year, we feature more than 30 bands on four stages at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch. Thursday nights are special at Old Settler’s with a “Settle In” show on the Camp Ben stage from 4:30 to midnight. Friday afternoon features another bonus for campers — the Camp Ben Jam from noon to 3 pm at the Camp Ben Stage. Friday and Saturday, we move across the street to the Salt Lick Pavilion with three different stages operating from 4 pm to midnight on Friday and 10:30 am to midnight on Saturday. Sunday, back at Camp Ben, wake up to some “pickin & prayin” gospel, all around goodtime final show that begins at 10 am and closes around 5 pm. Campers can greet the morning with the yoga masters on Friday and Saturday mornings.

PERFORMANCE WORKSHOPS

_thumb_oldsettlers_3409Check out those intricate picking skills up close — and learn from the masters in an intimate, friendly setting.  Whether you are a picker or a fan — everyone enjoys these informal sessions.  Depending on what artists are booked at the festival, you could see Sam Bush give mandolin tips or Marty Stuart give you insight (through talk & play) about his legendary career.

CAMPING

_thumb_oldsettlers_62445Camping. Camp Ben McCulloch rivals some of the most beautiful festival camping sites in the world according to our festival attendees. Get your feet wet at Onion Creek, catch up with friends, make new ones — and definately bring your instruments for some late night jams around the campfires. Bringing the family? No worries — we offer a family camping area..

KID’S ACTIVITIES

_thumb_oldsettlers_6932We offer a family-friendly camping area and plenty of fun supervised activities. We also celebrate our youngest musicians in our annual Youth Talent Competition.

GREAT FOOD AND DRINK.

Each year, the festival partners with a different brewers to bring you the finest in craft beers. And we offer diverse menu options through our partnerships with some of the best restaurateurs, cooks, and caterers in our area-many featuring local, organic, and vegetarian fare.

AMAZING ARTS AND CRAFTS.

The musicians aren’t the only artists on display at Old Settler’s. Each year, we bring in local and national craftspeople and artisans selling unique handmade items.

ARTIST AND FESTIVAL MERCHANDISE.

You can also find the artists’ merchandise, with CD’s, t-shirts, and accessories-as well as Old Settler’s apparel, accessories, and more.

Some Other Things You May Not Know About Old Settler’s:

WE LOVE TO GIVE BACK.

Old Settler’s Music Festival is a nonprofit organization. Every year, we donate to a list of music-related charities. This year, we’ll be giving to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, the Center for Texas Music History, and Kids in a New Groove.

WE COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT OUR VOLUNTEERS.

The event is supported by over 500 volunteers each year. Click here for more information on our volunteer opportunities.

SAME GOES FOR OUR SPONSORS.

We’re also supported by many local and regional sponsors, including KUTX-FM, Lone Star Bank, KGSR 93.3, Level Best Foundation Repair, Shweiki Media, Collings Guitars, OnCall Remodeling, Sierra Nevada, Duchman Family Winery, and many more. For a complete list, visit our Sponsors page .