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.
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 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.