The Kerrville Folk Festival
Allen Damron, 1973 Playing Main Stage
The Kerrville Folk Festival, the Foundation’s flagship event, was founded by Rod Kennedy in 1972. It is the longest continuously running music festival in North America and is a Mecca in the songwriting community. The festival runs for 18 straight days and nights with activities for all ages focused on nurturing and developing artistic expression, especially the art of songwriting, in a loving, family friendly environment.
The Festival is held at the Quiet Valley Ranch in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, just 9 miles south of Kerrville. The ranch is a one hour drive from the San Antonio and a two-hour drive from Austin. The Festival is celebrated by a community who considers itself family, and we are always delighted to welcome new folks! When gathered, we become the second largest community in Kerr county. During the 18-day Festival, as many as 30,000 guests come from all over the world to experience the magic we simply call “Kerrville”. Even so, each evening’s performances is attended by 800 to 3,000 guests, making everyone’s experience feel intimate.
Over 1500 outstanding singer-songwriters have been presented on the Festival’s stages since the beginning. Artists such as Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Robert Earl Keen, and Lucinda Williams played the Festival early in their careers. Through the years, the Kerrville stage has welcomed many nationally known artists -- Peter Paul & Mary, Judy Collins, David Crosby, Janis Ian, Arlo Guthrie, and singer/songwriter/actor Ronny Cox.
While many folks come out just to see the evening main stage shows, many say the heart and soul of the Festival is in the Campground. This is where you can truly experience and appreciate the abundance of talent we are blessed to have in our midst each year. Impromptu jam sessions can pop up at any time around a campfire or anywhere there are people willing to listen; it is a 24-hour-a-day treat for musicians and music enthusiasts alike.
In addition to evenings of live music there are also day time activities such as children’s concerts, YAPI (Young Artists’ Performance Incubator), a universities campus songwriters competition, our annual Grassy Hill New Folk Competition, a songwriters school, instruction for harmonica and guitar, hill country bike rides, canoe trips on the Guadalupe River, guided nature walks, Saturday Shabbat services, and Sunday folk song services. There is something for everyone who enjoys music, camping, the outdoors, and making new friends.
At 5:00 p.m. during the first two Saturdays of the Festival we have seminars featuring great Texas wines and craft beers. The seminars include food samples paired with the vintners choice of wines and brewers choice of beers. (Seminar tickets are available for purchase in advance and on site.)
Whether you come out for a day, a weekend or for the entire Festival, you’ll find that the music, the ambiance, and the spiritual optimism combine to make this America’s most beloved and respected songwriters gathering.
The two words that seem to come up most when people describe the festivals is “magic” and “transformational.” We invite you to join us and create your own magically transformational experience, and learn why so many come back year after year.
See what TravelMag had to say about the fest!
A Little More About Us...
1985 Kerrville Poster
1981 Kerrville Poster