March 1, 2011

Woodie Guthrie would approve

Held on the 50-acre Quiet Valley Ranch, just nine miles south of  the quaint Texas Hill Country town for which it gets its name, the Kerrville Folk Festival is the longest-running Folk fest in the country.

From a rather rough start in 1972, participation and attendance have grown to make it one of the largest events of its kind. Many new artists have picked a few licks at the late night, impromptu jam sessions, only to go on to become major artists in their own right.

For 18 straight days and nights each May and June, over 30,000 guests come from all over the world to experience the magic of what we simply call “Kerrville”. The Festival is known internationally as a Mecca for singer songwriters of varying musical style. It’s a place where those just developing their skills have the opportunity to play their music along- side master craftsmen.”

Musicians making a mark on Kerrville have included the likes of Steven Fromholz, Vince Gill, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Gary P. Nunn, Peter Paul & Mary, Jerry Jeff Walker and Rusty Wier This year, among many up and comers we’ll see veterans like Asleep at the Wheel, Christine Lavin, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Martyn Joseph, Trout Fishing in America and Judy Collins.

Since it's been around so long, Kerrville gets several top bill artists every year. Because the venue caters to the singer/songwriter crowd, the main attractions tend to be the late night jam sessions, known as “song circles,” and the judged contest called the "New Folk competition." Each of these has spawned new careers and new recording contracts, and both are fan favorites.

The coming festival starts May 26th and ends June 12th. The biggest names play on the weekends. Camping is available, or if you’re quick enough to get a reservation there are several hotels in the area. Food vendors and restaurants are plentiful. Showers are available on site, but you better not be shy as they are “family style.”