Just in time for holiday gift-giving, single-day tickets for the 31st annual Old Settler’s Music Festival go on sale today (Friday, Dec. 15) starting at 10 a.m. A finite number are available at a discount; when they’re gone, prices rise, so festival fans should act fast. (A partial daily performance schedule appears below.) Old Settler’s organizers look forward to unveiling the festival’s new, permanent home in Tilmon, Texas, 12 miles southeast of Lockhart, and to welcoming both loyal festivalgoers and first-timers to an event that merges the best of festivals past with a carefully considered vision for the future.
Discounted early-bird three- and four-day camping and non-camping packages also are available. A special rate for teens also has been added, making it easier than ever for new generations to enjoy today’s finest roots music purveyors over four lovely spring days. For more information about package options and to purchase tickets, visit oldsettlersmusicfest.org.
This year’s lineup is again packed with top talent; the latest additions are hot-rockin’ rockabilly dude JD McPherson; fun-loving blues/R&B band the California Honeydrops, returning by popular demand; Americana rocker Will Hoge; progressive bluegrass band the Jon Stickley Trio; and gospel/soul/folk duo the War & Treaty. They join a roster that officially kicks off — following an open-mic night for Wednesday arrivals — with Thursday night’s Grateful Ball, “a deadicated celebration” of the Grateful Dead’s music presented by the Travelin’ McCourys and Jeff Austin Band. Austin’s band also plays a weekend set, joining more than 30 award-winning roots, bluegrass and Americana artists who will inaugurate the festival’s three stages in 2018; more will be announced soon.
The list already includes 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; Southwest-rooted 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.
They’ll christen a professionally designed site featuring enhanced staging; more space for campers, kids’ activities and a variety of food trucks; onsite parking that eliminates shuttling; and other amenities, while maintaining the top-quality sound and lighting fans expect — and most importantly, preserving the laid-back, intimate vibe for which Old Settler’s is known.
With strong municipal and community support, Old Settler’s has added roads and established plans for various site improvements, which will be incorporated over time as the festival adapts to its 145-acre home — just 20 minutes from Lockhart and less than an hour from downtown Austin.
“We are getting terrific support from people in Caldwell County at all levels — local and county government, businesses and residents,” notes festival executive director Jean Spivey. Old Settler’s plans to hold an open house in February to show off the site and introduce the festival’s new production staff and managers.
The relationship benefits the community, too; Old Settler’s recently donated $5,000 toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Caldwell County. The nonprofit festival also has awarded college music scholarships, and has helped to launch a few careers — including that of double Grammy winner Sarah Jarosz — through its annual Youth Talent Competition. Musicians up to age 18 are invited to compete for cash, a 2019 stage slot, professional mentoring and special recognition. To apply, go to oldsettlersmusicfest.org/music/youth-talent.
And speaking of community, Old Settler’s is reaching out to its new neighbors, offering volunteer opportunities in exchange for festival passes. To learn more about volunteering, go to oldsettlersmusicfest.org/volunteer-guidelines. To apply, click the registration link on that page.
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.”
2018 Old Settler’s Music Festival Partial Daily Lineup
(subject to change)
The Grateful Ball, featuring the Travelin’ McCourys & the Jeff Austin Band
Donna the Buffalo
The Travelin’ McCourys
We Banjo 3
Donna the Buffalo
The Jeff Austin Band
Sophie Scott, 2017 Youth Talent Competition winner
I’m With Her (Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz & Aoife O’Donovan)
The California Honeydrops
The War & Treaty
The Peterson Brothers
Jon Stickley Trio
Ray Wylie Hubbard
About Old Settler’s Music Festival
Old Settler’s Music Festival offers bluegrass, folk and Americana acts performing on three stages over four days, along with camping in the beautiful Texas springtime. Many festivalgoers return annually for amazing performances by award-winning artists such as Sam Bush, Richard Thompson, Bruce Hornsby, the Mavericks, Jason Isbell, St. Paul & the Broken Bones and Bela Fleck, and favorite locals such as Patty Griffin and Bob Schneider. For more information, visit oldsettlersmusicfest.org.