Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Old Settler's Music Festival 2013

 Old Settler's Music Festival
Bluegrass for the Masses

By Sean Claes
Each year, bluegrass takes over the Salt Lick Pavillion in Driftwood, Texas. If you’re a fan of Mumford and Sons… you really should come out and check out Old Settlers Music Festival. It features bands each year that are the roots of that style of music. Those who are seasoned vets of OSMF will probably not like me saying that, as it’s a nice relaxed festival that isn’t too crowded and you get hands-on time with musicians and music. It really is a family friendly, tie-dye wearing, hoot-and-a-hollar of a time.

Really. We celebrated my almost 9 year old’s first birthday there. Gave cake to the crowd as the band sang her happy birthday from the stage…along with the few hundred people who were there that afternoon.

So, what’s on the docket for this year? Well, allow INsite to guide you through the band list and point out some you should come out to see.

Old Settlers Music Festival

Old Settler’s Music Festival FREE Pre-Party 4/17

There is a pre-party going on Wednesday Night. It is free and open to the public and is kind of an added bonus for the earlybirds and campers. It’s only at the Camp Ben McCulloch Camp Grounds Stage (18301 FM 1826) which is across the street from the Salt Lick Pavillion.

If you make it out, be sure to hang around long enough to see Jabarvy. If you do, ask them to play “Raisin Hell” for me.

Here’s the schedule:
5:30 Tom Vickers
6:15 Appalachian Dinos
7:00 Bob Slaughter
8:00 Three Hands High
9:00 Rhythmic Statues
10:30 Jabarvy

From OSMF 2012

Old Settler’s Music Festival Officially Starts Thursday.

Thursday, the official OSMF kicks off at 4:30p with Austin’s Lone Star Swing ( playing their blend of western swing / jazz / classic country music. A perfect appetizer for the weekend ahead.  

Then late-night at the campgrounds, the overnighters are treated to Friday’s Headliner, Fred Eaglesmith. Sadly, I hear camping tickets are sold out as of now, but those who got in early get a treat. Nicely done campers… nicely done.

Friday, you’ll be treated to two OSMF standards who are NOT to be missed:
-       The Del McCoury Band (8:30p – Hill Country Stage) is your banjo-picking, single-microphone-using, wonderful-harmony-having classic bluegrass.
-       Terri Hendrix (5:25 – Hill Country Stage), from down the road in San Marcos, Texas, is one of my favorite people in music today. Every time I see her perform it is like a stress-cleansing experience. The banter and pure musical joy between her and Lloyd Maines (on guitar) is a sight to behold.
Co- headliners for Friday night are Michael Franti (10:30p – Hill Country Stage) and the fun and quirky Fred Eaglesmith (10:45p – Bluebonnet Stage). Others to check out are Dirtfoot (6:00p – Bluebonnet Stage) and Green Mountain Grass (4:00p – Hill Country Stage)
If you are an overnighter, you have got to love the fact that you can get up Saturday morning (at the crack of 10:00a) for yoga at the Campground. For the rest of us, Lost and Nameless OrchestraYouth Talent Competition (10:30a-1:15p – Bluebonnet Stage) and give the kiddos some encouragement.   (featuring Kimberly Zielnicki, the winner of last year’s youth completion) kicks things off (11:00a – Hill Country Stage). Do yourself a favor… check her out.
Bob Schneider - OSMF 2012

INsite’s picks for Saturday:
-       The amazing Jerry Douglas (4:00p – Hill Country Stage). He’s known in his own right, but if you’re not familiar with his name, has played with Alison Kraus and Union Station since the 90s… AND he’s the voice of “Man of Constant Sorrow” from “Oh Brother Where Art Thou.”
-       I always enjoy seeing Bob Schneider (9:00p – Hill Country Stage) perform. Every time he plays it seems to take a different vibe. He really plays off the crowd’s energy and most of the time it’s fantastic.
-       You’ve got two chances on Saturday to catch Peter Rowan (12:05p – Hill Country Stage and 9:30p – Bluebonnet Stage). The genre-jumping master is performing with is “Twang an’ Groove” outfit, which melds bluegrass, reggae and blues. Not many can pull that off, and none as well as Rowan.
Co- headliners for Saturday night are Leftover Salmon (10:45p – Hill Country Stage) The Gourds (10:30p – Bluebonnet Stage).

All of the events on Sunday for OSMF occur at the Campground Stage. One year, I made it for Sunday Service (10a) out there. It was a wonderful experience. Being so close to nature under a pavilion was a very spiritual thing.

If you’re so inclined, INsite recommends you stick around for Steve Poltz (1:25p) and MilkDrive (2:40p) before making that trek back to civilization.

OSMF has been around since 1987, and has grown so much bigger than those early days, but, it’s still a very “small festival” feel.

“We’re more craft beer than light beer. We’d rather kick back than crowd-surf. And every year is full of surprises.” (via

I’ve attended 6 or so of them, and I must say, that’s about the most accurate description of what Old Settlers Music Festival is… and always will be.

You can buy three-day passes ($154) or single day passes for Friday ($69), Saturday ($69) or Sunday ($29) at the gate.