Old Settler’s Music Festival is so excited about moving to its new permanent home in Tilmon, Texas, southeast of Lockhart, it is kicking off discounted “All-Aboard” super-early-bird camping and non-camping package sales in October — and rolling back prices to pre-2014 levels — while adding a special rate for teens. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, Oct. 25, for the 31st annual festival, which once again will bring the finest roots music acts from North America and beyond to Central Texas over four idyllic spring days. Newly purchased property gives the festival a 145-acre site all its own just 20 minutes from Lockhart and less than an hour from downtown Austin, with ample (and shuttle-free!) camping, parking and performing spaces.
And with the first wave of artist announcements, the lineup is already looking like one of the strongest yet. The Travelin’ McCourys and Jeff Austin Band will kick off the festival Thursday night with the Grateful Ball, “a deadicated celebration” of the Grateful Dead’s music, following a Wednesday open-mic night for early arrivals. The Jeff Austin Band also will perform a weekend set, joining a roster also featuring groove-jammers Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth and Donna the Buffalo; I’m With Her — the trio of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan; bluegrass traditionalists Balsam Range; “Celt-grass” players We Banjo 3; singer-songwriters Steve Poltz, Colter Wall and Wimberley’s own Ray Wylie Hubbard; Austin psych-folk band The Deer; roots-pop-bluegrass band Front Country; Tex-Mex Americana act Calexico; folk band Darlingside; Grupo Fantasma player José Galeano’s side project, Galeano; flatpicking wunderkind Billy Strings; Austin blues boys the Peterson Brothers; and 2017 Youth Competition winner Sophie Scott. Over 30 award-winning roots, bluegrass and Americana artists will inaugurate the festival’s three stages in 2018; more will be announced soon.
“Festivalgoers should continue to expect great lineups, an intimate, but more breathable atmosphere, and all the hallmarks of a well-run event,” says festival executive director Jean Spivey. She and the board are carefully designing the site for optimum festivalgoer enjoyment, with plenty of space for kid-friendly attractions, the artists’ market, performance workshops and the Youth Competition, along with new additions such as food trucks featuring a variety of eclectic edibles.
All-aboard prices offer festivalgoers significant savings, but only a limited number of these super-early-bird packages are available. So do what early birds do — capture your spot now.
Package options are: four-day with camping, three-day (Friday through Sunday) with camping, three-day without camping, and the all-inclusive platinum pass. (Children 12 and under may attend free when accompanied by a paid adult.) When all-aboard passes sell out, regular early-bird rates will become available for a limited time. Single-day passes will go on sale at a later date.
Old Settler’s has grown from a one-day bluegrass festival into a nationally renowned four-day event attracting 16,000 roots-music fans. As No Depression observed, “Old Settler’s is what a festival should be: simple, properly sized, stocked with excellent bands, and held in an environment where it is nearly impossible not to enjoy yourself.”
The nonprofit festival has donated thousands of dollars to other nonprofit groups and funded two music scholarships. This year, it also donated $5,000 to Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts in Caldwell County and Central Texas.